The remains of 29 people buried for sacrifice more than 1,000 years ago were discovered in a pre-Inca temple in northern Peru.
Researchers found four tombs with the remains of children and teenagers at the Huaca Santa Rosa de Pucalá excavation site in Peru’s Lambayeque region.
They were sacrificed and buried during the construction of the first of the three sites, including a Wari-culture temple, according to the team.
Besides human remains, the team discovered ostriches and guinea pigs showing signs of sacrificial practices.
Archaeologist Edgar Bracamonte Levano said it was an important discovery.
They were the first to record such human offerings associated with the Wari culture, a civilization that flourished in the Andes and coastal region of modern-day Peru from 500 to 1000 AD.
Three of the areas discovered in the area so far have been excavated, according to the team behind the findings.
Besides human remains, they also found sacrificial marks such as alpacas and eight sacrificed guinea pigs.
They said the human and animal remains were part of a possible ritual that was performed at the time construction began on the Wari-style religious sites.
The fields were ‘D’ shaped, and one contained a tomb with votive offerings related to a group that lived in the area between 850 and 900 AD.
The tomb contained a jug with Mochica iconography, a bottle in the famous Early Sicán or Proto-Lambayeque style, a pallet decorated pottery, and a half-moon knife.
The study also revealed a temple from the Formation Period of this community, unlike previous finds, that was contemporary to the end of the Chavin culture.
Bracamonte said: ‘It is a temple built with walls made of clay as molds and containing clay knobs as prototypes of adobe inside the walls.
‘Excellent floors were found in the upper part of the temple, ceilings of vegetal remains, and evidence of burning objects.
The temple was built between 400 and 200 BC by a group of people with local characteristics associated with the mountains”.
‘There were different communities on the coast with interactions towards the mountains, which differs markedly from the Formation Period groups found at Collud and Ventarron in the lower part of the valley.’
These new discoveries contributed to the existence of Wari-era ceremonial sites and forced a rewrite of the history of Lambayeque.