Researchers recently unveiled information about the grisly find they discovered in South America 10 months ago. The details they made public included information about the mummified remains of over 140 children they found at the site. What’s more, the researchers stated that they firmly believed the children were part of a bloody child sacrifice ritual.
The children, ranging in age between 5- and 14-years-old, were discovered at Huanchaquito-Las Llamas in Peru, an area that scientists believe ritual sacrifices were conducted at during the 15th-century. The scientists discussed the specifics of the chilling ritual in a new study on the site and provided details of the excavations in a statement, reports Fox News.
The researchers stated that the youth’s hearts were most likely ripped from their chest. Analysis of the mummified remains revealed the ages of the children, and the scientists used radiocarbon dating to determine that the children lived at approximately 1450 A.D., a period when Huanchaquito-Las Llamas comprised part of the culture of the Chimu.
The site contains “a large investment of resources for the Chimu culture,” the researchers said. They also went on to say that they hoped they could reveal more information about the sacrificed youngsters in the future.
The site that contained the horrifying find was discovered in an area measuring over 7,000 square feet. The Peruvian mass child sacrifice site is in close proximity to the UNESCO world heritage site of Chan Chan. Archaeologists also found the mummified remains of more than 200 llamas. However, the researchers noted those remains could possibly be alpacas instead.
The researchers said they believe that the children and animals were killed by the removal of their heart explaining that, “Cut marks transecting the sternums and displaced ribs suggest both the children and llamas may have had their chests cut open, possibly during ritual removal of the heart.” The horrifying find makes it “the largest known mass sacrifice site of children in the Americas.”
The scientists additionally stated that “A thick layer of mud overlaying the burial sediments indicates that this mass killing was preceded, and perhaps inspired, by a major rainstorm or flood.”
Archaeologists found the remains of 140 children in a 550-year-old mass grave in Peru — perhaps the largest child sacrifice in human history https://t.co/DZUWT29oTd
— Elden Wayne Whalen III (@wayne_effect) March 9, 2019
The bloodthirsty practice of ritual human sacrifice has been discovered at other sites in the Americas, including those left behind by the Aztecs. For instance, one site beneath the city streets in modern Mexico City contained a huge cache of skulls. The biggest majority of sacrificial victims in Aztec culture were adults, but children could meet the same fate in order to curry favor with certain Aztec gods. Especially when it came to the supreme god of rain, Tlaloc.
And, in the case of Tlaloc, the sacrifices were usually children.
The excavations that led to the findings were performed between 2011 and 2016, and details about it were published in PLOS ONE. The researchers were led by Andean Archaeologist Gabriel Prieto, an Assistant Professor at the National University of Trujillo. Details about the site when it was first discovered can be viewed on YouTube.