Archaeologists Make Grisly Child Sacrifice Discovery In Peru

Published March 26, 2018

Archaeologists in Peru have discovered the brutal remains of children who had their ribs broken and hearts pulled out 1,500 years ago.

Child Sacrifice Remains Peru

Newsweek Archaeologists uncovering remains of human sacrifice in Peru.

The ancient Chimú people are known for their pottery, textiles, irrigation, and metalwork. And apparently, human sacrifices too.

Construction workers in Huanchaco, a beach town in Northern Peru, were laying down drinking water pipes when they came across a large number of skeletal remains.

The workers called in archeologists, who began excavating the 1,500-year-old site. The excavation yielded the discovery of 47 individuals and 77 tombs belonging to a mixture of three different cultures from pre-Inca times, Chimú, Salinar, and Viru.

Sacrifice Bones

Live ScienceAn archaeologist excavates a 1,500-year-old site in northern Peru.

But the most striking aspect of the finding was the considerable number of children who appeared to have been killed as human sacrifice offerings. At least 12 children were found with fractures in their ribs and cut marks on their chest bones.

This grisly discovery indicated that the injuries were likely inflicted as an attempt by members of the ancient Chimú culture to break the ribs so that the children’s hearts could be ripped out.

Child Skeleton

La RepublicaAn archaeologist excavates a 1,500-year-old site in northern Peru.

In addition to the 12 children, “We have also found a neonate, a newborn, who has also been sacrificed,” said Víctor Campaña León, director of the Las Lomas Archaeological Rescue Project.

The hope of encouraging the gods to bring rain to the arid region is a possible explanation for the sacrifices.

Human sacrifices in ancient times weren’t a rare occurrence. The remains of sacrifice victims have been discovered previously in pre-Columbian societies, as well as with the Inca, Maya, and Aztec cultures, and also in ancient Rome, Japan, and China.

The project began on Oct. 23, 2017, and is expected to continue until June 23, 2018. So far, 3,200 square meters of the 6,444 square meter site have already been excavated.

Also found at the site were the remains of 40 camelids and over 100 objects associated with the Chimu, Salinar, and Viru cultures such as ceramics and fishing tools.

The Mayor, José Ruiz Vega, has stated that the remains that have been found thus far will be stored in a rented house in Las Lomas. He has also discussed the possibility of a museum being built to exhibit the findings.


If you found that interesting, you may want to read about the Mayan child sacrifices that were found buried with supernatural stones. Then you can read about the history of Peru’s lost city, Machu Picchu.

Kara Goldfarb
Kara Goldfarb is a writer living in New York City.
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