May 27, 2018

Mass child sacrifice found in Peru

30 April 2018, 11:07 | Sheila Mcguire

Largest Known Child Mass Sacrifice Of 140 Children Linked To El Niño

Remains of 140 children who died in the 16th century, point to largest child sacrifice in history

They found that more than 140 children were ritually killed in a single event some 550 years ago during the ancient Chimu civilization, according to a National Geographic report on the discovery.

The victims appear to have been part of a ritual sacrifice that took place almost 550 years ago when the Chimú Empire ruled the area, archaeologists said.

Archaeologists in Peru have uncovered what could be the site of the largest known instance of child sacrifice in the Americas, and perhaps even the world.

The site is formally called Huanchaquito-Las Llamas and falls within a residential neighborhood. The delay between the initial discovery and actual examination of the site was held up until the global, interdisciplinary team, led by Gabriel Prieto of the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo and John Verano of Tulane University, were able to get sufficient funding for. a proper excavation. The llamas were less than 18 months and were buried facing the Andes mountains on the east.

In addition, numerous children were daubed with a bright red pigment made from cinnabar - most likely a part of the sacrificial ritual.

Analysis of the remains has also left researchers thinking that the cuts "were made by one or more trained hands".

In total, they found that more than 140 children - both boys and girls - and 200 young llamas had been sacrificed, thought to have occurred between 1400 and 1450.

First discovered in 2011, excavations on Huanchaquito-Las Llamas concluded in 2016. "This clearly was a different type of ritual-just children in the sand", said Verano.

The remains of a male and two female adults were also found nearby with blunt-force trauma to the head, suggesting they had been involved in the ceremony before being "dispatched".

Researchers suggest that the mass sacrifice of children may have been an attempt to appease the gods at a time the arid coastline was being battered by "severe rain and flooding".

Based on evidence from layers of dried mud, the report states it's believed that all the human and animal sacrifices took place at the same time.

Joseph Watts, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, said, while mass adult sacrifices can be explained that they were a crucial part of development of complex societies - and how elite social classes began the stratification and control of populations - "it's definitely harder to explain child sacrifice".

"Las Llamas is already such a unique site in the world, and it makes you wonder how many other sites like this there may be out there in the area for future research", Mr Prieto said.

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