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Peru: Skeletons of 227 Victims Unearthed at World’s Largest Child Sacrifice Site (Video)



Archaeologists excavating what is believed to be the world’s largest child sacrifice site have unearthed the skeletons of 227 young victims in the coastal desert of northern Peru.

Crews have been digging since last year at the slaughter site in Huanchaco, a beachside resort town near Trujillo, Peru’s third-largest city.

Experts believe the children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, were sacrificed by the Chimú culture to appease the gods as rains and flooding caused by the El Niño weather pattern battered the Peruvian coast.

“This is the largest site where remains of sacrificed children have been found,” chief archaeologist Feren Castillo told AFP on Tuesday. “There is no other like it anywhere else in the world.”

He said the children had been euthanized to appease the El Niño phenomenon and showed signs of having been killed during the rain.

Castillo, an archaeologist at the National University of Trujillo, said there may still be more to find. “It is uncontrollable, this thing about the children. Wherever you dig, there is another one,” he added.

The remains of the children were found in a position facing the sea. Some still had skin and hair and had been found wearing silver earrings.

Huanchaco was a site where many child sacrifices were made during the time of the Chimú culture, whose heyday was between 1200 and 1400.

Archaeologists first found the bodies of children at the excavation site in the city’s Pampa la Cruz neighborhood in June 2018, unearthing 56 skeletons.

Pampa la Cruz is a short distance from Huanchaquito, where the remains of 140 sacrificed children and 200 llamas were found in April 2018.

Excavation work at Huanchaquito began in 2011, but the findings were first published last year by National Geographic, which helped fund the research.

The researchers found footprints there that had survived rain and erosion. Small footprints indicate that the children were brought to their deaths from Chan Chan, a huge ancient adobe city a mile from the burial site.

The skeletons of the children contained injuries to the sternums, which were probably made with a ceremonial knife. The dislocated rib cages suggest that whoever was performing the sacrifices may have been trying to remove the hearts of the children.

The Chimú civilization spread along the Peruvian coast to Ecuador, but disappeared in 1475 after being conquered by the Inca empire, which in turn fell into the hands of the Spanish conquistadors.

The region is still suffering from the devastating effects of El Niño.

In March 2017, 67 people died and thousands more were forced to evacuate due to heavy rains that damaged 115,000 homes and destroyed more than 100 bridges in Peru.

In 1998, a “super” El Niño hit Peru, killing more than 300 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

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