Archaeologists in Peru have unearthed the ancient remains of 56 children believed to have been sacrificed by the Chimu civilization.
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Trujillo is affected by the El Nino climate phenomenon, and archaeologists believe the sacrifices were meant to ward off bad weather.
"In their beliefs, they thought that the more sacrifices they made, the gods would halt the inclement weather," archaeologist Gabriel Pietro explained.
Cuts on bones of the remains suggest that the hearts were extracted.
"It’s a very well planned sacrifice, they make the cut, extract the heart and later they transport them, they intricately shroud them with smooth fabric, and they position them facing the sea, one behind the other, they’re not one on top of another, they very well ordered," said archaeologist Feren Castillo.
Local reports date the remains to between 1200 and 1400 AD. Human sacrifice was commonplace in many pre-Hispanic civilizations.
The Chimu culture goes back to about 900 C.E. To this day the Chimu are renowned for their beautiful pottery and metal work with gold, copper, and bronze. In the 15th century, the Incan civilization led a campaign to defeat the Chimu, virtually wiping it out.