Largest mass sacrifice of children uncovered in Peru

Archaeologists have discovered what might be the world's largest single incident of mass child sacrifice in a tiny beach town on Peru's northern coast, reports said.

The children were between five and 14 years old and were buried facing the Pacific on the west, the researchers said. The child llamas have been buried dealing with east, towards the excessive peaks of the Andes.

The remains of both the children and animals showed cuts to the sternum and dislocated ribs, suggesting that the victim's chests were cut open and pulled apart to make it easier to remove the heart, according to National Geographic.

The grave, located near the modern city of Trujillo, also contained the remains of two hundred young lamas, apparently, sacrificed on the same day.

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Archaeologists in Peru may have found the site of the largest single mass child sacrifice in world history.

Some of the victims showed evidence of skull deformations, a custom that was practice in some of the highland areas during that time. The team is headed by Gabriel Prieto (Gabriel Prieto) from the National University of Trujillo and John Verano (Verano of Tulane) University Tulane.

The name of the archaeological site, "Huanchaquito-Las Llamas", is already well-known from a previous discovery of child and llama remains in 2011, notes Fox News.

High sea temperatures caused by the El Nino effect would have disrupted marine fisheries in the area, while coastal flooding could have overwhelmed the Chimu's extensive infrastructure of agricultural canals, the publication said.

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"When people hear about what happened and the scale of it, the first thing they always ask is: why", Gabriel Prieto, the other lead researcher, told National Geographic. The rains kept coming. The researchers think the adults may have performed the ritual killings then were executed shortly after.

Discovered in 2011, the excavation sight on the northern coast of Peru has produced evidence of the largest known mass sacrifice in history.

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. 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", he added.

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

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