Tombs of 76 Children Sacrificed and Hearts Torn Out in Ancient Peruvian Rituals Discovered | World

The graves of 76 children sacrificed around a thousand years ago in religious rituals were found by archaeologists excavating at a pre-Hispanic sanctuary on the northern coast of Peru.

“We found 76 graves with the remains of children sacrificed in the last excavations we carried out,” said archaeologist Luis Flores, one of the researchers at the Pampa La Cruz sanctuary.

The remains of the children, sacrificed when they were between 6 and 15 years old, were discovered between July and August on two small esplanades of this sanctuary located in the municipality of Huanchaco, near the city of Trujillo, 500 km north of Lima.

This same team of researchers, led by archaeologist Gabriel Prieto, had found between 2016 and 2019 the remains of another 240 children sacrificed by the Chimú people, who developed between the years 900 AD and 1450 AD.

“There are six sacrifice events that add up to more than 300 children in Pampa La Cruz in all these years of excavations,” said Flores.

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ripped out their hearts

The 76 graves were found near a neighborhood in Huanchaco. There were also traces of flames at the scene.

“We were surprised that as we excavated from 10 to 20 centimeters, more and more remains came out. We realized that they were children,” added Flores.

According to him, the children’s chest was opened, in a transversal way, for the removal of the heart, in rituals to the gods of the Chimú people.

“Sacrifices can be for events of lack of rain, droughts, [problemas] politics, or wars. There are several hypotheses that we are investigating,” said the archaeologist.

Among the remains, there are five girls “sitting” buried with their heads together, forming a kind of circle.

“Thanks to Pampa La Cruz, we know that human sacrifices, especially children, were a structural part of the Chimú religion to celebrate and glorify their state,” Prieto told the Peruvian state agency Andina.

“The sacrifice in this place was made to consecrate and open the fields of cultivation that the chimús enabled at that time”, added the director of the Archaeological Program of Huanchaco.

In addition to Peruvian archaeologists, students and academics from the universities of Florida and Tulane (Louisiana) participated in these excavations.

Excavation work ended this month but will resume in 2023, Flores said, meaning the number of human remains could increase.

Pampa La Cruz is two kilometers from the archaeological site of Huanchaquito. In April 2018, the remains of 140 children and 200 llamas, offered in rituals, were found at this location.

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