Mummy of girl sacrificed by Incans prompts gasps at museum





Museum-goers gasped at the well-preserved mummy of an Inca maiden that is on display for the first time, a serene gaze etched on her face hundreds of years ago when she was sacrificed and froze to death in the Andes.

Hundreds of people packed a museum in Salta, Argentina, to see "la Doncella" -- Spanish for "the Maiden" -- a 15-year-old girl whose remains were found in 1999 in an icy pit on Llullaillaco volcano, along with a 6-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy.

Scientists believe the so-called Children of Llullaillaco were sacrificed more than 500 years ago in a ceremony marking the annual corn harvest. Dressed in fine clothes and given corn alcohol to put them to sleep, the victims were then left to die at an elevation of 22,080 feet.

"Just this morning we have had more than 700 people come see the exhibit, and we had hundreds yesterday when it opened," High Mountain Archaeological Museum director Gabriel Miremont said on Thursday.

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