Archaeology Magazine

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The “Llullaillaco Maiden” Was Sedated at Time of Death

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

13-05117largeYORKSHIRE, ENGLAND—An analysis of the Llullaillaco Maiden’s long, braided hair suggests that the 13-year-old girl’s diet changed from mostly potatoes to more animal protein and maize in the last year of her life, and that her intake of coca and alcohol began to increase at about the same time. The two drugs were also found in the hair of the two small children whose mummies were found near the Maiden on Argentina’s Llullaillaco Volcano. Their hair, however, is much shorter and so cannot provide as much information. The three had been left to die of exposure in small shrines on the mountain more than 500 years ago in an Incan sacrificial ritual known as capacocha. Andrew Wilson of the University of Bradford thinks that the Maiden may have been sedated in the weeks leading up to her sacrifice and at the time of her death. Radiological scans also reveal coca leaves in her mouth.