Dozens of children found at 15th century sacrificial site had hearts removed

Share this storyShare on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

New photos have been released from the largest child sacrifice grave ever discovered.

More than 140 youngsters were buried alongside three adults and 200 animals – either llamas or alpacas – from the 15th century ritual in Peru.

Scientists released images of the excavation, which began in 2011, of dead girls and boys aged five to 14 seemingly huddled together in burial pits.

They were killed by having their chests cut open, many with their hearts removed.

Evidence suggests the sacrifice was to do with a "climactic event" that could have hit the "economic, political and ideological stability of one of the most powerful states in the New World".

The human remains started to be dug up six years ago, after residents near the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas site noticed bones eroding out of the roadside.

An emergency excavation was ordered and archaeologists discovered the bodies over multiple digs of the 700 square metre site.