This is the story about a 15 year old Incan girl who was found frozen for over 500 hundred years. The little girl who appears to be like she is sleeping was found 6739 meters above at the Llullaillaco summit.  An Argentine-Peruvian expedition found her well preserved body and fondly nicknamed her as the “La doncella” meaning “the maiden”. According to the Incan tradition, she was chosen to go and live with the gods.

Child sacrifice
Capacocha or child sacrifice is a sad practice by the Incan tribes to appease their gods. The girl is believed to be from a poor farming family and was groomed as a gift for the Incan gods. The girl who froze to death was found along with 2 other children. Andrew Wilson from University of Bradford told National Geographic that there was a series of rituals involved in which she was fed with “coca” and alcohol. Coca is a leaf which was used as a stimulant to relieve from altitude sickness. Only the wealthiest among the Incan could afford alcohol and drugs those days and these are the people responsible to hold such rituals.

These children were brought by the Incan priests for sacrifice and coca leaves are fed along the way to aid their breathing in the long and difficult journey to the mountaintops. They must be brought to the sacrificial burial site alive. Upon reaching, they are given an intoxicating drink to minimize the associated problems such as fear, agony or any other forms of resistance. They are then killed either by a blow to their head, by strangulation or left alone to die in the exposure of freezing temperature.

Scientists startling discovery
Scientists claim that her organs are intact as if she was dead barely a few weeks ago. Further, by testing the hair, they could determine her diet prior to death. It appears that the Inca tribe fattened the children before killing them. The Incan fed these children with maize and animal proteins, which forms a diet of the elite months or years prior to the sacrifice. Her body condition suggests that she was drugged and left to die in the mountains. As it was a high altitude, it would not have taken her long to die.

Child No. 2: Llullaillaco Boy
Besides the 15 year old girl, another boy above who met a more violent death was found. The Llullaillaco boy was found in condition where the body was tied with ropes and his clothes had blood stains indicating the struggle and suffocation prior to meeting his death.

Child No. 3: The Lightning Girl
As the name suggests, the third child was a girl above whose body was charred due to lightning strike. There was a difference noted in this girl though because the Maiden was revered with a beautiful headdress and hairstyle which seemed lacking in this girl here. It is believed that the second and third child barely 4 or 5 years old, represented as attendants to the Maiden.

The spot where these children were found
All three of them were found near the top of a volcano and the high altitude managed to preserve their bodies so well that there were still blood available to be taken as samples from their veins. The scientists who analyzed her body claim that the “maiden” was suffering from lung infection at the time of her death.

Many Incan children had suffered the same faith especially during famine or the death of their emperor. As children are considered to be the purest of beings they fall prey to this heinous tradition. The Incans believed that after their death, they will live amongst their gods and also be able to visit and communicate with the humans, especially the Incan Shamans. The children paid a price for the beliefs of the Incan community, and they knowingly or unknowingly paid the price with their life. They were denied the right to live so as to preserve the comforts of the adults.

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