Archeologists in Peru may have found the largest single child victim in world history
Archeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 140 children and 200 young lamas from a seemingly ritual sacrifice 550 years ago, on a cliff along the north coast, National reported Geographic on Thursday
"I never expected that," says John Verano, a physicist with several decades of experience in the region. "And I do not think anyone else would have done that either."
The archaeological site, officially known as "Huanchaquito-Las Llamas", is less than half a mile from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chan Chan.
At the time of the alleged sacrifice, the area was under the little-known Chimú Empire. By the end of the century, the Chimú Empire had fallen under the rule of the more well-known Inca Empire.
The site was first discovered by excavators in 2011, when locals discovered eroded human remains in the area. At that time, the remains of only 42 children and 76 llamas were found.
Until 2016, the remains of 140 children and 200 young lamas were discovered on the site. Radiocarbon dating determined the date of the alleged victim between 1400 and 1450.
The condition of the remains suggests that the children had suffered cuts to the sternum and rib dislocations to remove their hearts.
The children, boys and girls, ranged from five to fourteen years, evidence shows. Based on the mud layers on the site, archaeologists believe the sacrificial ritual was a single event.
Site research is underway with financial support from the National Geographic Society.