Initially this might look to you like any normal girl being treated by a doctor,the girl in the photo is not any normal living girl but the mummy of a 15 year old child who has been dead for about 500 years.
She was found in 1999 near Llullaillaco’s 6739 meter summit. An Argentine-Peruvian expedition found the perfectly preserved body and she was nicknamed “La doncella” which means “The maiden”. According to the Inca she was chosen to go and live with the gods. But in reality she was a sacrifice to the Inca Gods and had been brutally killed in the name of religion.
Scientists say that her organs are intact and its as if she had died just a few weeks ago. From testing the samples of her hair they could determine the type of diet she was on before her death. This lead to the discovery that the Incan fattened their children before killing them. Months or even years before the sacrifice pilgrimage these children were given diets which were those of the elite, consisting of maize and animal proteins.
Judging from the condition of the body, it is believed that she was drugged and left to die in the mountains. It would not have taken much time for her to die due to the high exposure. The Incan high priests took their victims to high mountaintops for sacrifice. As the journey was extremely long and arduous, especially so for the younger victims, coca leaves were fed to them to aid them in their breathing so as to allow them to reach the burial site alive. Upon reaching the burial site, the children were given an intoxicating drink to minimize pain, fear, and resistance, then killed them either by strangulation, a blow to their head or by leaving them to lose consciousness in the extreme cold and die of exposure.
Many Inca children were offered as sacrifice during or after important events, such as the death of the Sapa Inca(who was the emperor) or during a famine. These sacrifices were known as capacocha.
Discovery In September 1995, during an ascent of Mt. Ampato (20,700 ft), Reinhard and Zárate found a bundle inside the crater that had fallen from an Inca site on the summit. To their astonishment, the bundle turned out to contain the frozen body of a young girl. They also found many items that had been left as offerings to the Inca gods strewn about the mountain slope down which the body had fallen. These included statues and food items. A couple of days later, the body and the items were transported to Arequipa, where the body was initially kept in a special refrigerator at Catholic University.
Two more ice mummies, a young girl and a boy, were discovered in an archaeological expedition led by Dr. Reinhard and Prof. Jose Antonio Chavez in October 1995, and they recovered another female mummy on Ampato in December 1997. Owing to melting caused by volcanic ash from the nearby erupting volcano of Sabancaya, most of the Inca burial site had collapsed down into a gully that led into the crater. Reinhard published a detailed account of the discovery in his 2006 book entitled, The Ice Maiden: Inca Mummies, Mountain Gods, and Sacred Sites in the Andes.
As Reinhard and Zárate struggled to lift the heavy bundle containing Juanita’s body on Ampato’s summit, they realized that her body mass had probably been increased by freezing of the flesh. When initially weighed in Arequipa, the bundle containing “Juanita” weighed over 90 pounds (40.82 kilos). Their realization turned out to be correct; Juanita is almost entirely frozen, making her a substantial scientific find. Like only a few other high-altitude Inca mummies, Juanita was found frozen and thus her remains and garments were not desiccated like that of mummies found in other parts of the world. She was naturally mummified, instead of being artificially mummified, such is the case with Egyptian mummies.
Her skin, organs, tissues, blood, hair, stomach contents and garments are extremely well-preserved, offering scientists a rare glimpse into Inca culture during the reign of the Sapa Inca Pachacuti.
Analysis of her stomach contents revealed that she ate a meal of vegetables 6–8 hours before her death.
Studies have shown that Juanita had suffered a lung infection before sacrifice.
Clothing and adornments
Juanita was wrapped in a brightly colored burial tapestry (or “aksu”). Her head was adorned with a cap made from the feathers of a red macaw, and she wore a colorful woolen alpaca shawl fastened with a silver clasp. She was fully clothed in garments resembling the finest textiles from the Inca capital city of Cuzco. This, in addition to evidence of excellent health, suggests that she may have come from a noble Cuzco family. These were almost perfectly preserved, providing valuable insight into sacred Inca textiles and how the Inca nobility dressed.
Tools and equipment
Found with her in the burial tapestry was a collection of grave goods: bowls, pins, and figurines made of gold, silver, and shell.
Cause of death
Mummy Juanita was a human sacrifice in the Inca capa cocha. Radiologist Elliot Fishman concluded that she was killed by blunt trauma to the head. He observed that her cracked right eye socket and the two-inch fracture in her skull are injuries “typical of someone who has been hit by a baseball bat.” The blow caused a massive hemorrhage, filling her skull with blood and pushing her brain to one side.
When most people think of mummies they think of people wrapped in bandages. This girl however was found at the top of a 22,000 ft. mountain top in Argentina and is nearly intact despite having never been preserved (at least not intentionally). The girl was amongst 3 children sacrificed in a religious ritual known as “capacocha”.
In this ritual children who were considered of the best quality (physically beautiful) were taken to the summit of Llullaillaco and sacrificed. The children were given maize beer, eventually fell asleep, and once they did were placed in underground sections and froze to death. These children according to legend then were able to look over and protect their villages from the heavens.
The Mummy Is Nearly 100% Intact!
The craziest part of this story is that the bodies of these children are nearly 100% intact. When they were found their was still blood in their major organs (which were all intact), no bones were broken, and the skin and faces of most of them were in good condition as well. The cold temperatures (around 0 degrees Fahrenheit) and thin air on the mountain top were able to naturally preserve these 500 year old bodies.
Children were selected for sacrifice because they were considered to be the purest of beings. They were chosen for their beauty and possibly nobility. According to Inca beliefs such children were to serve as guardians to their villages from the heights of the mountains joining their ancestors and honoured in death. The children wore shoes or slippers and dressed in colourful clothing elaborately decorated with medal, bone and cords. More than 100 precious ornaments were found to be buried with these children in the burial site. They were loosely wrapped in shawls and were seated cross legged as they would have fallen asleep after being drugged.
Early colonial Spanish missionaries wrote about this practice but only recently have archaeologists such as Johan Reinhard begun to find the bodies of these victims on Andean mountaintops, naturally mummified due to the freezing temperatures and dry windy mountain air.