Judging from the condition of the body, it is believed that she was drugged and left to die in the mountains. It would not have taken much time for her to die due to the high exposure. The Incan high priests took their victims to high mountaintops for sacrifice. As the journey was extremely long and arduous, especially so for the younger victims, coca leaves were fed to them to aid them in their breathing so as to allow them to reach the burial site alive. Upon reaching the burial site, the children were given an intoxicating drink to minimize pain, fear, and resistance, then killed them either by strangulation, a blow to their head or by leaving them to lose consciousness in the extreme cold and die of exposure.
Why Only Children?
Children were selected for sacrifice because they were considered to be the purest of beings. They were chosen for their beauty and possibly nobility. According to Inca beliefs such children were to serve as guardians to their villages from the heights of the mountains joining their ancestors and honoured in death. The children wore shoes or slippers and dressed in colourful clothing elaborately decorated with medal, bone and cords. More than 100 precious ornaments were found to be buried with these children in the burial site. They were loosely wrapped in shawls and were seated cross legged as they would have fallen asleep after being drugged.
Early colonial Spanish missionaries wrote about this practice but only recently have archaeologists such as Johan Reinhard begun to find the bodies of these victims on Andean mountaintops, naturally mummified due to the freezing temperatures and dry windy mountain air.
There are also some more information about Inca mummies on wikipedia.
In 1995, the body of an almost entirely frozen young Inca girl, later named Mummy Juanita, was discovered on Mount Ampato. Two more ice-preserved mummies, one girl and one boy, were discovered nearby a short while later. All showed signs of death by a blow to the head.
In 1999, near Llullaillaco’s 6739 meter summit, an Argentine-Peruvian expedition found the perfectly preserved bodies of three Inca children, sacrificed approximately 500 years earlier, including a 15-year-old girl, nicknamed “La doncella” (The maiden), a seven-year-old boy, and a six-year-old girl, nicknamed “La niña del rayo” (The lightning girl). The latter’s nickname reflects the fact that sometime in the 500 year period the mummy spent on the summit, it was struck by lightning, partially burning the preserved body and some of the ceremonial artifacts left with the mummies.
Sources: Wikipedia, UNB FACTS
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