so, i went traveling for a week and a half, and spent part of that time in salta, in the northwest of argentina. it’s 1,600 km away from buenos aires… so, a pretty damn long bus ride.
while i was there, i stopped in at the museo arqueología de alta montaña (roughly translated: archaeological museum of high altitude), where there are 4 inca mummies! they are children who were found on high peaks in argentina (3 near the chile border, on a volcanic slope called “llullaillaco”, at 6,700 meters above sea level in 1999), and originally there was a lot of controversy about whether or not they should be moved, as they were human sacrifices to the inca gods… but now they are cryogenically preserved in this museum. they’re in incredible shape, due to the freezing temperature in which they’ve been kept for hundreds of years (i think they were interred in the 1400’s).
although ‘la doncella’ (the maiden) is the most famous of the 4, they only display 2 at a time, so the ones i saw were ‘la reina del cerro’, which was robbed from a mountain site in 1920 but recently returned, and ‘el niño’ (above), one of the llullaillaco mummies. he was about 6 years old when sacrificed and is wearing a white feather headdress to indicate his elite status.
it was surreal to see him- he looks as if he were just slumped over sleeping. ‘la reina del cerro’ was somewhat deteriorated due to years of being bought/sold/moved. the others that were not on display sounded cool, too. ‘la niña del rayo’ is named so because at some point in between her burial and the present day, she was struck by lightning, leaving a large burnt portion of her face and clothing. insane!
the best part of all this? on the bus ride home, the featured movie was “the mummy: 3”. which was terrible, by the way.