La Doncella
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) La Doncella
Age 15
Sex Female
Status Unknown
Height Unknown
Current Location
Location Andes Mountains, Argentina
Catalog #


La Doncella or Llullaillaco Maiden was a 15 year old Incan girl, and she died more than 500 years ago in the Andes Mountains in Argentina. She and two other children were left in the blistering cold as offerings to the Gods. This is a sacred religious sacrifice, known as capacocha. It was considered an honour to be chosen for such a sacrifice. However the Inca believe that the children did not die, but join their ancestors to watch over them like angels from above.


Due to the extremely cold weather, she and the other two children died in their sleep. She was uncovered in 1999 by the Chilean border. She was extremely well preserved when found, due to the cold weather decomposition of the body was never allowed to occur. And no effort went into preserving the bodies as well as they were. The dry and cold air did everything by itself. She is considered to be one of the best preserved mummies ever found. Her internal organs were still intact, and there was still blood in her system, and her facial features were for the most part unscathed.


It was discovered that before her death, La Doncella suffered from an illness similar to tuberculosis or a chronic lung infection. At the time this diagnoses would surely have been a death sentence due the lack of proper and advanced medical care that we have access to today. However this lung infection was not the cause of her death, what caused her death was hypothermia.


Tests show that they were well nourished and had no broken bones or other injuries, although La Doncella had sinusitis and a lung infection.  

Before being chosen as sacrificial victims, the children spent much of their lives eating a typical peasant diet composed primarily of vegetables, such as potatoes.  Their diet then changed significantly in the 12 months coming up to their deaths as they started to receive maize, a luxury food, and dried llama meat.  A further change in their lifestyle about 3-4 months before they died, suggests that is when they began their pilgrimage to the volcano.  

References Edit

Grady, D. (2007, September 11). In Argentina a museum unveils a long-frozen maiden. New York Times.Retrieved from

National Geographic. (2007, September 11). Frozen inca mummy goes on display. National Geographic. Retrieved from

Trosper, J. (2013, October 12). 10 mummies with mysterious stories to tell. Retrieved from

External LinksEdit

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