A volcano in southern Peru rocked the frozen remains of three children. Mummified bodies have kept information about what happened before death for more than 500 years. Archaeologists have now obtained details of how the Incas prepared the victims for death.

Ampato Volcano’s Mummies

Peruvian archaeologist José Antonio Chávez and American researcher Johan Reinhard discovered children’s remains during their expeditions to the Ampato volcano in the Andes in 1995. Since then, scientists have been trying to reconstruct their stories. However, they were not successful due to a lack of clues.

Mummy of the Inca child. Source: Wikimedia Commons

After a thorough bioarchaeological study, the scientists elaborated on more details. They believe the mummies are two boys and one girl aged six to seven. Mummified bodies contained narcotics, including ayahuasca, coca, and alcohol.

The Remains Contain Drugs

The Incas administered alcohol and drugs to the victims. The widely used coca stimulated the body, gave energy to the mountain journey, and reduced the feeling of hunger. The researchers also found traces of ayahuasca in the mummies, a psychedelic drink of Banisteriopsis caapi to calm the children on their way to death.

Ampato Vocano, Peru. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have found similar remains throughout the territory, which once belonged to the Inca Empire. They see them as proof that this ancient civilization practiced ritual killing to gain the gods’ favor. For example, the Incas wanted to ask for a good harvest, rain, fertility, or to calm an active volcano.

“Victims were brought to the mountains either during a long period of extreme drought or during volcanic eruptions. In such periods, the soil could be thawed enough for the Incas to build places and bury the victims the way they did,” archaeologist Johan Reinhard told National Geographic magazine.

Scientists still have something to discover. Some secrets have not yet been resolved. But, thanks to evolving technologies, science is moving forward. Maybe in a few years, researchers will bring new exciting findings. We will inform you about them.

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352409X22000785