Peruvian archaeologists find ancient child sacrifices

The first evidence of ritual sacrifice associated with the culture of the Vari Indians was found in the foothills of the Peruvian Andes, in the Lambayeque region. In total, archaeologists have found 29 human bodies buried about a thousand years ago in a sacred place (vaca, or huaca) near the village of Santa Rosa de Pucala, in northwestern Peru. Writes about this edition of Live Science.

The Vari culture includes four skeletons belonging to two young children, one teenager and one adult. According to Edgar Bracamonte Levano, excavation leader and archaeologist-researcher at the Peruvian Museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipan, these four skeletons represent the first known human sacrifice of the Vari civilization in the region. In addition to human remains, the excavations also unearthed the skeletons of eight guinea pigs, several llamas and alpacas (domestic animals related to llamas), all of which were also sacrificed. The burial also contained pots, vessels and a knife with a crescent-shaped blade.

The fact that these burials belong to the Vari is evidenced by three characteristic D-shaped fences, typical of religious structures in this culture. According to Bracamonte Levano, human sacrifice could have become “part of a possible ritual performed prior to the construction of these Vari-style religious structures.” There was, however, also a fifth deceased who underwent a second burial. Initially, he was buried elsewhere, then he was reburied inside a D-shaped fence.

The remaining 25 skeletons belonged to people who were not sacrificed and belonged to another pre-Columbian culture – urine, or urine. This civilization flourished in what is now Lambayeque from about AD 100 to 700, and was later driven out of the area by the Vari. Unlike wari art, which gravitates towards abstract shapes and patterns, moche art is renowned for its more literal, naturalistic style. According to Bracamonte Levano, this makes the artifacts of the two cultures easily distinguishable.

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