On the North coast of Peru archaeologists have discovered the remains of more than 140 children, which apparently is the largest example of mass child sacrifice in America - if not the world, according to an exclusive report by National Geographic.
The cliff is located just outside the northwestern coastal city of Trujillo, Peru's third largest city which today has 800,000 inhabitants.
Quilter is heading a team of scientists who will analyze DNA samples from the children's remains to see if they were related and figure out which areas of the Chimu empire the sacrificed youth came from.
Other South American civilizations, like the Incas and the Aztec, practiced ritual human sacrifice, but archaeologists have never found children's bodies in such a high concentration before.
Scientific investigations by the global, interdisciplinary team, led by National Geographic Explorers Gabriel Prieto of the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo and John Verano of Tulane University, are ongoing.
By the time the excavations had finished five years later, they had uncovered more than 140 sets of child remains and 200 juvenile llamas, as well as rope and textiles dating to between 1400 and 1450.
This child's face was painted with a red cinnabar-based pigment and the archaeologists believe that their chest was cut open to remove the heart as part of a sacrificial ceremony.
Prieto said that besides the bones, researchers also found footprints that have survived rain and erosion. At the excavation site, the children were found to be facing west, toward the ocean, while the young llamas were facing east, toward the Andes Mountains.
The positioning the place the kids and child llamas have been discovered has been below excavation since 2011, when the positioning first made headlines after the invention of 42 kids and 76 llamas throughout an emergency dig.
"There's this idea that ritual killing is contractual, that it's performed to get something from supernatural deities", Klaus said.
The remains of three adults - a man and two women - were also found near the mass grave of the children, with evidence of blunt force trauma on their skulls. "Maybe there was a need for a new type of sacrificial victim".
It's thought the ritual was a single event, which if confirmed would be the largest single mass child murder event known of in the world.
"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. But the archaeological record suggests they succumbed to an Incan invasion only a few decades after the sacrifices occurred.