The layer of dried mud retrieved from the site suggest that 550 years ago, there was severe rain and flooding on the generally arid coastline, which would have disrupted marine fisheries in the area, while coastal flooding could have overwhelmed the extensive infrastructure of agricultural canals of the Chimú empire - which was located in the area at the time of the sacrifice.
The sacrifice site, formally known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas beats the sacrificial site of at Templo Mayor in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán - now Mexico City - which until now, contained evidence of the largest mass child sacrifice event.
Current research in Peru, officially called Huanchaquito-Las Llamas, conducted by an global team funded by the National geographic society.
The site of the discovery - Huanchaquito-Las Llamas - first grabbed headlines in 2011 when remains of 42 children and 76 llamas were found during the excavation of a 3,500-year-old temple.
The final tally announced this week of 140 children show that the victims were aged between five and 14 - though most were between eight and 12 years old, National Geographic reports.
"Skeletal remains of both children and animals show evidence of cuts to the sternum as well as rib dislocations", most likely to remove their hearts, the report revealed.
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"I, for one, never expected it", Verano told the magazine about the magnitude of the discovery. During a dig that year, archaeologists found the remains of 42 children, a number that has since increased.
Haagen Klaus from George Mason University, who was not part of the excacation, hypothesized the Chimu may have turned to sacrificing children to stave off the repeated disruptions brought about by El-Nino. Items found in the burials, such as ropes, are radiocarbon dated to between 1400 and 1450, toward the end of the Chimu Empire's rule, before they were conquered by the Incas.
"We now know there was child sacrifice on a massive scale in ancient Peru, in a manner not seen before in South America", said Verano. They had all apparently died of violent head wounds, and it is surmised they may have participated in the sacrifices.
The researchers are now trying to figure out why these children were sacrificed.
The llamas were all less than 18 months and they were buried facing east, toward the Andes, they said.
"It makes you wonder how many other sites like this there may be out there in the area for future research", Prieto told National Geographic.