Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Earliest Evidence of Child Sacrifice in Peru

The earliest evidence of Ancient Andean child sacrifice has been found at the Lambayeque site of Cerro Cerillos. The scale and complexity of the sacrifice at the site is a new discovery.

Child sacrifice took place between 900-1100 CE and it may have been an ethnic ritual by a group called the Muchik in the area to solidify their identity in an area dominated by the Sican culture. 81 skeletons were studied. 70% of the victims were anemic Muchik children aged 2-15.

They had an inferior diet of maize and squash. Each victim had been stabbed repeatedly in the neck or chest with a metal knife, chest cavity pried open, perhaps to extract the heart and to remove the lungs for divination. Hallucinogenic seeds were found near the skeletons.

The bodies decomposed for a month in shrouds and then were buried during a ritual feast. Llama bones were found nearby that indicated the legs and heads of the llamas were laid aside for the dead children.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

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