Archaeologists find remains of 227 sacrificed children in Peru

An August 27, 2019 picture from Programa Arquelogico Huanchacho shows the remains of some 227 children, who were allegedly offered in a sacrifice ritual by the pre-Columbian Chimu culture. [AFP]
Archaeologists in Peru say the 227 bodies they have unearthed from a site used by the pre-Columbian Chimu culture is the biggest-ever discovery of sacrificed children.

Archaeologists have been digging since last year at the huge sacrificial site in Huanchaco, a beachside tourist town north of the capital Lima.

"This is the biggest site where the remains of sacrificed children have been found," chief archaeologist Feren Castillo told AFP on Tuesday.

Castillo said the children, who were aged between four and 14, were sacrificed in a ritual to honor the Chimu culture's gods.

"They were sacrificed to appease the El Nino phenomenon," and show signs of being killed during wet weather, he said.

He added that there may still be more to be found.

"It's uncontrollable, this thing with the children. Wherever you dig, there's another one," Castillo said.

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The children's remains were found in a position facing the sea. Some still had skin and hair.

Huanchaco was a site where many child sacrifices took place during the time of the Chimu culture, whose apogee was between 1200 and 1400.

An August 27, 2019 photo from Programa Arquelogico Huanchacho shows the remains of two of the 227 children uncovered by archaeologists in the Pampa La Cruz neighborhood of Huanchaco, a coastal district of Trujillo, Peru. [AFP]
Archaeologists first found children's bodies at the dig site in the town's Pampa la Cruz neighborhood in June 2018, unearthing 56 skeletons.

Pampa la Cruz is a short distance from Huanchaquito, where the remains of 140 sacrificed children and 200 llamas were found in April 2018.

The Chimu civilization extended along the Peruvian coast to Ecuador but disappeared in 1475 after it was conquered by the Inca empire.

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Chimu cultureArchaeologistsPeru