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Another clue that points to a civilization in chaos was buried along with the bodies.
Unusual mud layers and preserved footprints near the graves suggest the sacrifice followed heavy rainfall.
The children — as well as the remains of more than 200 young llamas — were found in a mass grave located on a cliff just a thousand feet from the Pacific Ocean in the small, present-day fishing community of La Libertad near Trujillo.
Two women and a man was were also found near the site.
The researchers think the adults participated in the ritual sacrifice before being bludgeoned to death, as their bodies showed evidence of forceful injuries.
But until now, archaeologists didn’t think that the Chimú empire killed large numbers of children.
Child sacrifices of this magnitude are unprecedented not only in this region, but in the world, the researchers say.
The remains of nearly 140 children dating to the year 1450 have been unearthed along the northern coast of Peru.