This is the largest known mass child sacrifice, the second being 42 children in an Aztec temple in modern-day Mexico City.
The children, ranging in ages from 4-14, were organized according to age, which suggests the involvement of priests. Their heads were arranged with their heads facing the sea and the heads of the llamas facing the mountains.
It is assumed the sacrifice occurred in response to heavy rainfall in the normally arid climate brought on by El Niño. The may have believed the sacrifice would appease angry gods.
Knife marks were found on the ribs and sternum of the children and llamas, suggesting their hearts had been removed, a practice known to occur among Mesoamerican cultures. Archaeologists are unable to tell if the hearts were removed before or after death.