She looks like she is asleep but the truth is she had not been alive for hundreds of years. The conditions of her death are shocking.
Frozen for years
She was around the age of 13 when she died and was found in 1999 with two other mummified children, extremely frozen in the mountains. It’s said, that the Maiden froze to death and wasn’t an accident.
The Maiden was the attraction of an Incan child sacrifice, orcapacocha. She was snatched from a poor family and trained as a gift for the Incan gods for over a year before her untimely death.
According to Andrew Wilson from the University of Bradford, she was possibly involved in a series of rituals and ceremonies, with the consumption of coca and alcohol, for her sacrifice, which kept consumption at a steady level.
Booze and Drugs
Drugs and alcohol were obtainable only for the wealthiest of Incans and carried great ritual importance to Incan culture. The two children found alongside the Maiden were also provided with coca, a leaf which was munched as motivation and to relieve altitude illness and alcohol but to a much secondary extent.
The Maiden froze to death but the Llullaillaco boy, who was found with her, faced a violent end. It’s assumed that he battled before his death because he was found with ropes and with blood on his clothes. Probably he was suffocated before the others died.
She was called so, because her body was scorched after being struck by lightning. She faced the same fate as the Maiden, but was not honored in the same way. The Maiden was found with a beautiful headdress and hairstyle, which the Lightning girl lacked.
The Child Attendants
It’s said that the Lightning girl and the Llullaillaco boy were the Maiden’s servants. They were only four or five years old when they were killed. Their bodies have been displayed alongside the Maiden’s since their discovery.
The three children were found at the top of Llullaillaco Volcano. The cold air and high altitude preserved their bodies properly, and the blood was available for samples in their veins. Scientists were able to determine that the Maiden was enduring a lung infection at the time of her death.
View From the Summit
The view from the volcano’s peak was one of the final things these child sacrifices may have witnessed. These sacrifices were given high honour. It was believed that after their deaths, they would surpass their human life and go to live with the Gods, which they would be able to communicate with Incan shamans in the human world.