In this lab environment, she looks like she’s simply fallen asleep in the wrong place and time. In fact, she looks about five hundred years out of place—because she is. The Llullaillaco Maiden might not look it, but she’s dead, and the circumstances of her death are as bizarre as they are terrible.
Frozen for Centuries
The Maiden, who was somewhere around the age of 13 when she died, was found in 1999 with two other mummified Incan children, frozen high in the mountains. It’s believed that the Maiden froze to death—but it was no accident.
The Maiden was the centerpiece of an Incan child sacrifice, orcapacocha. She was taken from a poor farming family and groomed as a gift for the Incan gods for over a year before her eventual death.