LIMA, Peru – Northern archaeologists say they have found evidence of what could be the world's single largest case of child sacrifice.
The Pre-Columbian Tomb of Las Llamas Contains the Skeletons of 140 Children Between the ages of 5 and 14, when they were ritually sacrificed during a ceremony 550 years ago, experts who conducted the excavations reported to the Associated Press on Friday.
The site, which is located near the present city of Trujillo, contained the remains of 200 young lamas who were apparently sacrificed the same day.
The tomb was apparently built by the ancient Chimu Empire. The children are believed to have been sacrificed as floods from the El Nino weather pattern devastated the Peruvian coast.
"They may have offered the gods the most important thing as a society, and most importantly, children are because they are the future," said Gabriel Prieto, an archeology professor at the Peruvian National University of Trujillo, who along with John Verano of Tulane University conducted the excavation.
"Llamas were also very important because these people had no other animals load, they were a fundamental part of the economy," said Prieto, adding that the children were buried overlooking the sea, while the lamas were the Andes in the east.
Excavation at the burial ground began in 201