Children of Llullaillaco

The children of Llullaillaco are three children having lived in the present Argentina, sacrificed and whose bodies were conserved intact by the cold until their discovery in 1999, on Llullaillaco volcano, to more of altitude.

This is a boy and two girls, from 6 to 14 years old. They lived before the arrival of Europeans. They each wore a ceremonial dress and a trousseau: “delicate statuettes with human figures dressed in traditional textiles and feathers, combs, woven pouches filled with corn, coca leaves, cups and wooden spoons”.

The children were sacrificed as part of the rite of Capacocha. Children were chosen from those of the good society of the time and without faults, to be sacrificed and to obtain favors from the gods. A 2013 study, conducted by Andrew Wilson, forensic and archeology expert from the University of Bradford (UK), was performed on the hair of these three mummies. The researchers were able to learn that the three children had ingested psychotropic substances during the year preceding their death, from the date of their selection as a sacrifice. According to the analyzes, the consumption of coca leaves and alcohol has visibly increased six months before their death and especially the last weeks.

The three complete bodies are kept at the Salta High Mountain Archeology Museum under a glass bell, under a controlled atmosphere: temperature of -20 ℃, pressure, humidity. Currently, non-destructive tests are conducted on mummies, such as lung radios.

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