‘Worst-ever’ child sacrifice with 140 dead ‘was performed to get rid of bad weather’

The worst recorded child sacrifice in history, which saw 140 children having their chests cut open was done in response to bad weather, scientists believe.

Researchers from the National University of Trujillo, Peru, analysed the remains of 140 children and 200 llamas found at the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas site.

The researchers believe that the children and animals may have had their hearts cut out – and other evidence at the site suggests it may have been in response to weather events, possibly related to El Nino.

A thick layer of mud overlaying the site shows that this mass killing was preceded, and perhaps inspired, by a major rainstorm or flood, the researchers believe.

The remains were radiocarbon dated to around 1450 AD, during the height of the Chimú state.

The authors note that this sacrifice was clearly a large investment of resources for the Chimú culture – and hope, through further study, to understand why the children were killed.

Researcher John Verano said ,'This archaeological discovery was a surprise to all of us—we had not seen anything like this before, and there was no suggestion from ethnohistoric sources or historic accounts of child or camelid sacrifices being made on such a scale in northern coastal Peru.

'We were fortunate to be able to completely excavate the site and to have a multidisciplinary field and laboratory team to do the excavation and preliminary analysis of the material. This site opens a new chapter on the practice of child sacrifice in the ancient world.'

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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