Largest mass sacrifice of children uncovered in Peru

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Archeologists had identified 42 children and more than 70 llamas by 2016, but they've now identified more.

"People sacrifice that which is of most and greatest value to them", Gabriel Prieto of the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo said. "And I don't think anyone else would have, either". During a dig that year, archaeologists found the remains of 42 children, a number that has since increased.

It is estimated that the children's age ranged from about five to 14 years.

From the footprints, it appears that the children and llamas were led in a single line and sacrificed one after the other.

Their sternums were cut and their ribs dislocated so their chests could be broke open and pulled apart, likely to facilitate the removal of the heart.

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

"It is ritual killing and it's very systematic", Verano told Nat Geo. Archaeologists noted that most of the children had been buried facing west toward the ocean and llamas were looking toward the east at the Andes.

Carbon dating of textiles discovered at the site suggest the incident happened around 1400-1450 AD.

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It's thought the ritual was a single event, which if confirmed would be the largest single mass child murder event known of in the world. Their culture arose about 900 AD, and the region they claimed for their own while a desert area, had rivers that carved fertile valley plains which were flat and well-suited for irrigation. It is believed that the layer was carved out during the preparation of the burial pits and the subsequent sacrifice event.

This could be the biggest-ever mass sacrifice of children in world history, according to the evidence.

Archaeologists in Northern Peru said that the found a trace of the mass child sacrifice of the ancient civilization that existed about 550 years ago.

Haagen Klaus, a professor of anthropology at George Mason University, who was not a member of the Las Llamas project, explained that when adult human sacrifices did not bear any results, societies blinded by superstitions and mythical beliefs at the time must have resorted to child sacrifice.

Read the full National Geographic story here. They had all apparently died of violent head wounds, and it is surmised they may have participated in the sacrifices. The rains kept coming. There are even skid marks in the sediment indicating places where the sacrificial victims were reluctant to participate.

"But it's actually a much more complicated attempt at negotiation with those supernatural forces and their manipulation by the living".

In 2011, the first discovery of human sacrifice victims at the site, known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas, uncovered the remains of 40 victims and 74 llamas during the excavation of a 3,500-year-old temple.

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