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HomescienceScientists unveil recreation of sacrificed Inca maiden in Peru

Scientists unveil recreation of sacrificed Inca maiden in Peru

Arequipa: The reconstructed head and torsoofa young girl likelysacrificedto appease Incan gods wasunveiledinPeruon Tuesday, with three-dimensional scansofher mummy helping produce the lifelikerecreationmore than 500 years after her death.

Scientistsfrom bothPeruand Poland used digital scansofher mostly well-preserved mummy, which was foundin1995 inside anInca-era funerary bundle near the summitofthe Ampato volcano outside Arequipa,inPeru’s south.

Ruling over a massive swathofwestern South America along the Pacific coast and Andean highlands, theIncasaw their rich and powerful empire fall to Spanish invadersin1532.

But some time before then, the girl wassacrificedby a blow to the head, possiblyina ritual ceremony that sought divine relief from natural disasters, according to thescientists.

Dubbed the LadyofAmpato, or simply Juanita, she was believed to be either 14 or 15 years old.

The reconstruction now on display at the Catholic UniversityofSanta MariainArequipa shows her mouth slightly open and dark, piercing eyes gazing into the distance. It includes colorful attire, head covering and adornments, similarly based on the scansofthe mummy.

“It’s been doneina magnificent way,” said archaeologist Johan Reinhard, who was partofthe team that found the mummy, adding that the reconstruction was especially striking since her face had been exposed to the elements and as a result was not well preserved.

“Seeing her face like when she was alive, it’s a different experience because it seems so real,” he said.

(Published 25 October 2023, 04:20 IST)

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