‘Wherever you dig, there’s another one,’ top scientist says
The remains of 227 children, sacrificed in an “uncontrollable” wave of killings designed to appease ancient gods, have been discovered in Peru.
It is believed to be the biggest single such discovery anywhere in the world – but took place in a region where scores more sacrificed children have been found in recent years.
Scientists have been excavating the site in Huanchaco, a coastal town near Trujillo, since last year.
They were killed by the Chimu people, whose culture dominated the northern coast of Peru between the 13th and 15th centuries before the arrival of the Inca.
Archaeologists believe the Chimu sacrificed their children to appease their gods during a long period of extremely disruptive wet weather.
Feren Castillo, the dig’s chief archaeologist, told the AFP news agency: “They were sacrificed to appease the El Nino phenomenon.
“It’s uncontrollable, this thing with the children. Wherever you dig, there’s another one.”
The victims were aged between four and 14, it is thought.
The gruesome discover was made near two other mass sacrifice sites, Pampa la Cruz and Huanchaquito, AFP reported.
Nearly 200 more bodies have been found in those locations alongside scores of sacrificial llama or alpaca skeletons.
Residents of the region began finding bones in 2011, according to a report in Paleontolog yearlier this year.
In Huanchaquito, the scale of the killing may signify the desperation of the Chimu to win the favour of the gods in the face of weather that was harming the empire’s ability to sustain itself.