Juanita

Juanita was a little girl, not a teenager yet, when she traveled on foot, for days into the mountains, to the highest peak, to be sacrificed to the Inca  God, Apu Ampato. She was one of several children who were chosen to apease the angry god, who caused the volcano to erupt. Of course you give God the best you have:  innocent, virginal children, some ostensibly were of royalty.

Juanita was found by an  anthropologist, Dr. Johan Reinhard, in l995. The most astonishing thing to me was that her umbilical cord was with her. In Inca tradition, all mothers kept her child’s cord for as long as he or she lived, because it could prove useful if it contacted any diseases. Because of this, we have the  DNA of the sacrificed children. I remember the political commotion caused by the religious right  during the Bush administration about using umbilical cords for stem cell research. Whew. We have a lot to learn.

Jaunita was scanned at john’s Hopkins.They found out she had been killed by a blow to the temple above her right eye. The DNA showed she had eaten, fasted, and been sedated  prior to her death.

Juanita, who spends much of her time in the lab being studied, is taking a break from all that probing , and is resting, fully clothed in the same robes she had on 5 centuries ago in the small museum in Arequipa.  Visitors marvel at her small body,  pulled up into a fetal position, looking quite serene.

I expected grisly. It was anything but. Nat. Geo made a video of Juanita. It’s worth looking up.