More than 140 children were ritually slaughtered in Peru more than 500 years ago, reported National Geographic.
Described as “the largest single incidence of mass child sacrifice in the Americas — and likely world history —” the remains suggest that many of the boys and girls had had their chests opened and their hearts removed.
Radiocarbon dating pinpointed the date of the supposed sacrifice between 1400 and 1450. Archeologists were shocked and unsettled by the finds.
“I, for one, never expected it,” John Verano, a physical anthropologist with decades of experience in the region, told National Geographic. “And I don’t think anyone else would have, either.”
The site of the mass grave, where remains of 200 young llamas were also found, used to be known as “Huanchaquito-Las Llamas.” It is located less than half a mile from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chan Chan.
The area has been studied since 2011, when remains of 42 children and 76 llamas were unearthed. Since then, the body counts have risen.