Incan Child Sacrifice
The Ice Maiden

The last moments of the Ice Maiden's life


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The frozen mummy, nicknamed affectionately "Juanita", was examined in the summer of 1996 using a highly sophisticated technology--computer tomography scanning. A standard form of autopsy would have damaged if not completely destroyed her ancient and extremely fragile remnants. Through unerring precision, the scientists that performed the operation discovered many intriguing facts about the Ice Maiden's last few moments in life.


Her DNA was thoroughly observed. The links it provided to the past showed that the Ice Maiden's living relatives are from the country of Panama. It also supported a theory about the first Americans moving in from Asia. The estimated movement of human expansion from about 100,000 to 10,000 years ago is shown on the diagram above.



It is quite possible that the Ice Maiden died in prayer. Examinations showed that her spine was curved, her knees were bent, and her arms were crossed over her chest in a possible praying position. Moreover, the tragic girl's head was bowed--making it a perfect target for a blow from above.

The sacrifices made by the Incas had to be worthy of the lord they were presented to. Precious gifts were preferred-the more valuable the gift was, the more loyalty was displayed to the gods.When humans were sacrificed, they were to be flawless. All CT scanning showed the Ice Maiden to be in perfect health. Her well developed bones, solid muscle mass, healthy teeth all point to the fact that she was chosen for sacrifice because of her perfection: she was a faultless gift to the gods.


Although much about the Ice Maiden is yet unknown, the autopsy helped provide a thesis as to her death. A broken eye socket and a two-inch fracture indicated that the girl died a violent death. The internal view of her skull showed a tilted brain and large amounts of blood that lead scientists to believe she died of internal bleeding after after a blow to the head.


The Ice Maiden's internal organs were not clear in the CT scan results. Because she froze slowly, these organs were given time to begin decomposition. However, the contents of her stomach were discovered. Six to eight hours before she was killed, the girl had been given a meal of vegetables. This again goes back to the Inca practices. When someone was sacrificed, they were first feasted. It was not desired that the sacrificed go into the world of the gods "hungry or crying".



The mummy's interior and exterior views;
A view of her DNA