- The remains of seven children killed as religious sacrifices are offering clues to the grim ceremony.
- The children, ranging in age from 3 to 12 years, were found beneath a 500-600-year-old building in Peru.
- Analysis suggests that the sacrificed children were taken from distant parts of the Inca realm.
The remains of seven children apparently killed in a ritual and buried beneath a 500- to 600-year-old building in Peru's Cuzco Valley have given scientists new glimpses of the sketchily understood Inca practice of sacrificing select children in elaborate ceremonies.
The children were buried at the same time, apparently after having been killed in a sacrificial rite that honored Inca deities and promoted political unity across the far-flung empire, say anthropologist Valerie Andrushko of Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and her colleagues.
Chemical analyses of the bones indicate that at least two of the children came from distant parts of the Inca realm, Andrushko's group reports in a paper published online Sept. 15 in the Journal of Archaeological Science.