I have always been fascinated by history and even took a paleo-anthropology course at my university, so the following story is right up my alley.

inca-girl

In my readings and researches, I have learned of a young (15 years old) Incan female who has come to be known as “The Maiden”. Her mummified body was found 16 years ago on a volcano in Argentina, having died about five centuries ago.

As you may or may not already know about the Incas, they practiced human sacrifice. The Maiden was chosen to be sacrificed to the gods. The practice was to take the victim (often young children) to the top of the nearby mountain, feed the child coca leaves (from which cocaine is derived), and then get the child inebriated with an intoxicating drink at the final location. When the intended victim was subdued and unable to resist, the Incan priests would kill her or him, or leave that person to freeze to death in the cold climate.

Scientists apparently have not learned (or, at least, not revealed) how The Maiden died (whether she was killed or whether she froze to death). However, they did discover lumps of coca in her mouth so she was definitely intended to be sacrificed. They found also that she had something resembling modern-day tuberculosis. The bacteria that she had in her system could possibly be used to create a vaccine or cure to fight similar illnesses.

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