The must-see attraction for visitors to Museo Santuarios Andinos (Museum of Andean Sanctuaries) in Arequipa, Peru is without a doubt the Mummy Juanita, one of the world’s best-preserved corpses.

Her full head of dark hair is still intact and the skin on her hands and arms, discoloration aside, shows almost no decay. The mummy’s discoverer, Johan Reinhard, even made note of just how perfectly the mummy’s skin had been preserved, “down to visible hairs.”

As peaceful as she looks — a far cry from some of the more ghastly mummies that researchers have discovered — Juanita’s life was a short one that ended with her being sacrificed to the Inca gods.

Scientists estimate that Juanita was between 12 and 15 years old when she died as part of capacocha, a sacrificial rite among the Inca that involved the deaths of children.

Translated as “royal obligation,” capacocha was the Inca’s attempt at ensuring that the best and healthiest among them were sacrificed to appease the gods, often as a way to stop a natural disaster or ensure a healthy harvest. Considering that Juanita’s body was discovered atop Ampato, a volcano in the Andes, her sacrifice very likely played into the Inca’s mountain worship.

Read more: http://all-that-is-interesting.com/mummy-juanita-lady-of-ampato

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