The well preserved body caused a sensation in the scientific world due to its well-preserved frozen body, who was killed as an offering to the Inca gods sometime between 1450 and 1480 when she was approximately 11–15 years old.
Three Incan children who were sacrificed 500 years ago were regularly given drugs and alcohol in their final months to make them more compliant in the ritual that ultimately killed them, new research suggests.
Cusco 1480 (Spanish for “Mummy Juanita”), also known as the Inca Ice Maiden and Lady of Ampato, is the well-preserved frozen body of an Inca girl who was killed as an offering to the Inca gods sometime between 1450 and 1480 when she was approximately 11–15 years old.
They 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.
Archaeologists analyzed hair samples from the frozen mummies of the three children, who were discovered in 1999, entombed within a shrine near the 22,100-foot (6,739 meters) summit of the Argentinian volcano Llullaillaco. The samples revealed that all three children consistently consumed coca leaves (from which cocaine is derived) and alcoholic beverages, but the oldest child, the famed “Maiden,” ingested markedly more of the substances. Coca was a highly controlled substance during the height of the Inca Empire, when the children were sacrificed.
The evidence, combined with other archaeological and radiological data, suggests that the Maiden was treated very differently from the other two children, Llullaillaco Boy and Lightning Girl (so named by researchers because the mummy appears to have been struck by lightning). After being selected for the deadly rite, the Maiden likely underwent a type of status change, becoming an important figure to the empire; the other two children may have served as her attendants.
Due 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.
According to the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), the closest kin they could find in the database in 1996 were the Ngobe peopleof Panama, but the later research has shown her to share genetic patterns found in people from the Andes. Scientists at TIGR examined two mitochondrial DNA D loop sequences and found that Hypervariable region 1 (HV1) was consistent with Haplogroup A, one of the four Native American gene groups. Hypervariable region 2 (HV2) included a unique sequence not found in any of the current mitochondrial DNA databases. Her haplotype is 16111T, 16223T, 16290T, 16319A. In accordance with the genetic world map and genetic patterns, her HV2 DNA sequence was also related with the ancient races original from Taiwan and Korea, which supports the theory that Paleo-Indians had Pacific links.
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.
Featured image source
This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and Its All About I. All hyperlinks within the article must remain intact.