In 1995, two scientists stumbled upon a grisly find near the summit of a Peruvian mountain. A young teenage girl had been sacrificed to the Inca Gods some five hundred years ago. Buried by Inca priests and well preserved by the harsh icy conditions, Juanita has helped scientists discover details of this remarkably advanced civilisation.
Juanita, christened the Inca Ice Maiden (or la niña de los hielos), was clubbed to death with a savage single blow to her head. In excellent health and dressed elegantly in an alpaca shawl and fine clothing, Juanita was buried with a treasure trove of bowls, tools and small gold figurines (also on display in the museum).
Juanita now lives in a climate-controlled unit in the Andean Sanctuary Museum and continues to be examined. Through DNA, scientists are trying to discover current relatives.
Along with the stunning city of Machu Picchu, the secrets of the Inca people continue to be unveiled though I can only feel that only a snippet of the whole story is really yet known.
Note: National Geographic details much of the discovery and autopsy here.