Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Peruvian Burial Ground

Friday, January 20, 2012 - 11:30 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Ancient Peruvian Sacrifice Click here to get a bigger view of this amazing image. Mariana Bazo/ReutersAn offering of children and llamas Last August in Huanchaquito, a town on the arid northern coast of Peru, the winter winds uncovered six human skulls. A villager alerted Yale University archaeologist Oscar Gabriel Prieto Burmester to the find, and soon thereafter Burmester and his team had unearthed the ancient remains of 43 children and 76 llamas, and not a single adult-a sacrificial site. Preserved by the area's dry climate, the 900-year-old mummies date to the age of the pre-Columbian Chimú culture. The bodies, which lay facing the coast, rested in a single sediment layer, suggesting that they were killed as a group as an offering to an ocean deity, Burmester says, perhaps as an attempt to control the weather. A thick layer of sediment surrounding the mummies indicates that it rained violently right before or during...

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