In Peru, the largest was found the remains of sacrificial children

The investigations were carried out by an global team led by National Geographic's Peruvian explorer Gabriel Prieto, of the National University of Trujillo, and John Verano, a physical anthropologist from Tulane University in New Orleans. "And I do not think anyone else would have, either".

A shocking discovery was made near the Pacific ocean, among residential complexes in La Libertad outside of Trujillo, the third largest city of Peru. Initially, they found remains of 42 children and 76 llamas at a 3,500-year-old temple.

Verano recalled the call he received from his colleague Gabriel Prieto of the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo during the summer of 2011.

In an email, Quilter told the AP the site provides "concrete evidence" that large scale sacrifices of children occurred in ancient Peru. Archeologists remain active at the dig site.

The details of the slaughter are disturbing.

The 140 sacrificed children were five to 14 years old at the time of the ritualistic human sacrifice that cut their lives short. Many ribs were also damaged - which may indicate the heart was removed.

By examining layers of sediment and footprints around the site, the archaeologists concluded that the sacrifices were likely carried out over the course of a single day.

"The sacrificial llamas seem to have met the identical destiny", the report states. "Maybe there was a need for a new type of sacrificial victim". The baby llamas were buried facing east, toward the high peaks of the Andes.

Peru's northern coast, where the children and baby llamas were found has been under excavation since 2011.

According to National Geographic, the children were "buried facing west, out to the sea".

As Haagen Klaus, an anthropologist at George Mason University, told National Geographic, when faced with imminent destruction, "people sacrifice that which is of most and greatest value to them". The site is formerly known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas.

So why were 140 children sacrificed at Las Llamas? One theory: bad weather.

It is noted that the burial could be created by the ancient Chimu Empire at a time when in the area of the Peruvian coastline began to experience severe flooding. The floods may have disrupted the region's agriculture, which could have led to mass starvation. They had all apparently died of violent head wounds, and it is surmised they may have participated in the sacrifices.

The mass child grave lies less than half a mile from the Chan Chan Archaeological Zone, located on the remains of the Chimu Kingdom capital, Chan Chan, and which now is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Prieto also suggested that "this just may be the tip of the iceberg".


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