15 year old girl frozen for 500 years

15 year old girl frozen for 500 years

SALTA, ARGENTINA – Three children, ages 6, 7 and 15, left their towns one day and set off toward the peak of a volcano. Accompanied by Inca priests, they walked for months or even years until they at last reached the Llullaillaco Volcano in northwestern Argentina. There, the priests got them drunk and buried them alive as an offering to the gods.

The Incas selected the two girls and one boy for their beauty and perfection. The girls wore tunics, fitted at the waist, and long braids in their hair. The boy donned a large headdress made of white feathers. The priests buried them with various objects that symbolized life in the communities: miniature gold statues, vessels, sandals and small bags of dried food.

- Marta Flores, anthropologist

This all occurred some 500 years ago, during the time of the Inca Empire. After uncovering the children’s bodies at 6,700 meters above sea level in 1999, the expedition group carefully reconstructed the details of the long walk and the objective of the sacrifice.

15 year old girl frozen for 500 years

Archaeologist Christian Vitry says he was one of the 14 men and women who participated in the expedition, led by Johan Reinhard, a U.S. explorer for National Geographic Society and the principle investigator for The Mountain Institute. After studying Inca culture for years, Reinhard had strong suspicions that they would find human remains atop the volcano.

Vitry says that he and his fellow expedition members had to withstand difficult climactic conditions to reach their destination, with temperatures plummeting down to 40 degrees Celsius below zero and strong gusts of wind.

“When we established the final camp, at a height of 6,600 meters, a storm broke,” he says. “It lasted four days, and the tents were covered in snow.”

But at the peak, they were able to uncover the first body, a 7-year-old boy in a gray tunic, according to local media reports covering the expedition’s discovery. He was frozen in the fetal position with a brown and red blanket covering his torso. The researchers named him, “El Niño,” or, “The Boy.”

15 year old girl frozen for 500 years


  1. Chelsea Legg says

    I love reading about discoveries like this… Just let's us peek into our past.. Very interesting, indeed.

  2. Deborah Burt says

    A lot of good controlling their fear did – they were still killed by the very people put on earth to protect and guide them.

  3. Blaine Smith says

    That's a good question and I think that they felt peace at their befalling. The mummy of the girl is peaceful, like she went to sleep. It doesn't look like she struggled. Perhaps they knew that this was the moment they lived their lives for and accepted death gracefully. The outlook on everyone that lived that damn long ago was not good, shit. But what if they did have a shining moment that meant everything to them and to whom they served and believed. You know, I can't understand this culture. We have so many that have no life to give, those that have Alzheimer's or are in non quality of life where it would be best if they ended life for their benefit and their loved one's benefit. Maintaining someone's sorry quality of life ruins a family emotionally and sometimes financially. Listen, if I can save my loved ones enjoyment of life, just so they don't have to take care of my ass, then let it be. It would be my gift to them and me too.

  4. says

    Such a ignorant idea, sacrifice people for gods(!) Hey you! You primitive, unlearned! We found a better way to kill people in last 500 years. You don't have to walk to volcano, we deliver it to your home with bombs and missiles! We don't do it for gods or psycho priest but super smart leaders, greedy companies, oil, power, land and for fan! And sometimes we call it democracy, sometimes counter terrorism or sometimes jihad. Yep! You got lots of things to learn from your sophisticated grandkids!

  5. Annalisa Marie says

    Yes, there is much more research being done than is discussed in this article. The girl was given coca (from which we derive cocaine) and grain alcohol. Her hair is so tightly braided, it is very well-preserved. They can extract a lot of information from it in the same way that hair is used today to investigate past drug use. The researchers know that in the months prior to the sacrifice, she was given richer foods, alcohol, and narcotics. They don't know whether this was an attempt to treat her well prior to sacrifice, or just to make her complacent and accepting of her fate.

  6. says

    I don't think they felt fear. They have a very different value system compared to ours. Maybe they believed that they would have a blissful life in a heaven-like-place rewarded by their gods for their sacrification, just like Moslems that do jihad.

  7. says

    Looking at her sitting inside the glass protector isolates her once again from other human beings. At least while they're working on her, she's not entirely alone. It's hard to see her sitting there like that as if this horrid thing happened to her just yesterday. I have no curiosity–just compassion for her. I guess all those anthropologists and archaeologists pretty much have failed to enrich the American Indian's life by figuring out what their ancestors ate.

  8. David Smith says

    a shame there were removed. They were there for a reason and I am sure it was not for future generations to bring them down the hill for research and spectators.

  9. Mahmoud Mohamed says

    So sad :/ , That girls wanted to escape from volcano and death , they died by the lowest frozen temperature over 500 years from freezing.

  10. says

    Nothing is new under the sun her braids look just like the ones we wear today. @ Adrian if fear was not a factor why did they have to get them drunk before buried them? @ Nakira I agree with you they walked probably until they felt safe with PRIST of all people and in up dead, so horrible and sad Black Life disreguarded:(

  11. says

    I like how these comments are all like… "must have been scary" or "how horrible"… when they make that trip to the volcano they knew what they were doing… people forget that most if not all sacrifices were not done against their will.. these kids knew what they were getting into and it most likely was very honorable to them.

  12. Preston Dang says

    I watched that documentary where they were taking her out of the ice chamber or whatever. Not only did she know what she was doing, but there was cocaine derivative leaves that she was chewing in her mouth on the way to sacrifice, so she was pretty fucked up and enjoying herself on the way to her destination.

  13. says

    Preston Dang How can you not know what you are getting into when a bunch of crazy, specially dressed people comes to your house, picks you, and two other kids out then says, "We are going to be walking hundreds and hundreds of miles to a volcano." I'm sure they were very excited and was all like "YESSS I'M THE CHOSEN ONE!" … lol >_< … So the kids were all like "WOOHOO!! Parrtaay! Let's get sacrificed at the magic volcano!" Their parents were probably celebrating, maybe crying too, and even walked with them all the way there. ((Assuming that, sarcastically, because I'm pretty sure they all similarly grew up with those different spiritual/religious ideas, customs, and traditions.))

  14. Charles E Cameron says

    Wow these comments are depressing. who knew Banoosh had so many obnoxious trolls.

    Anyways, interesting article, definitely a strange ritual, although if memory serves me I believe the children were considered reincarnations of deity's, and the center of celebrations until their demise.

  15. says

    its always sad when someone dies. cant we honor her though by knowing her. can we not honor her very amazing and hard life by knowing who she was and what she might have been like. isnt it better to pay homage to her rare condition her age. her old story. even if it is thousand of years later she is famous the whole world is hearing about her. she is remembered and people mourn her passing. also she passes on a very large piece of the story about her times because of how she is preserved. isnt that worth something? not her life no but since no one can go back and change her end this is what we have.

  16. says

    They should try and 'cure' her body with slow introduction of heat, then try and use a defibrillator (^_^ ), I'd love to truly hear what the world was like back then.

  17. says

    Have read that freezing to death can be like peacefully going to sleep…I hope she was in such an altered state of mind that she didn't feel fear or pain….and why don't they show los ninos?

  18. says

    "Life was difficult 500 years ago. There was a lot of despair – crops failed, disease spread, people suffered instantaneous and catastrophic changes in their fortunes. And the cause of it all was actually well understood 500 years ago. It was witchcraft…
    And happily the church produced some very energetic men who had the gumption to deal with this problem." -Sam Harris

    Why aren't we sacrificing children today to protect ourselves from Mt. St. Helens, Ebola, jihad, etc? Thankfully enough of us no longer listen to priests…

    Dear Post-Faith Era: We know you are right around the corner. Please hurry. They are still killing us.

  19. says

    I think some people just comment on others posts just to show how idiotic they can be towards others and I won't even bother replying to that nonsense. OAN my comment had nothing to do with belief systems. I am speaking of children being buried and waiting to die either through suffocation, starvation, or dehydration.

    Fear has been there from the beginning of time in every living creature. No belief system is required and no belief system keeps you from it. According to anthropologists fear of nature is the reason that people grouped together in communities in the first place. The fact that they needed to get the kids drunk shows that there was an attempt to calm/numb them through their fear. If no fear was present the adults probably would have volunteered themselves instead of the children.

  20. says

    That awkward moment when your issue with the hypothetical of a 500 year old mummy waking up and saying "Hey, what the he'll are you doing? " Is the suggestion that it'd be. .. in. .. English. …

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