The Plant Remains of the "Ice-maiden", the Inca Mummy from Mt. Ampato, Peru

The Plant Remains of the "Ice-maiden", the Inca Mummy from Mt. Ampato, Peru

In 1995 the frozen body of an Inca girl, known as the "Ice-Maiden" or "Frozen Lady" in analogy to the Neolithic Tyrolean Iceman, was discovered by the anthropologist Johan Reinhard on Mt. Ampato, a stratovulcano in southern Peru. In between 1440 and 1450 AD the girl at the age of 12 - 14 years was offered on the Ampato summit at about 6300 m altitude and was buried on the summit platform. Due to melting the platform collapsed and the mummy had fallen inside the crater ca. 65 m below the summit together with female figurines, food and pottery. This combination of material offerings and human sacrifices in the Inca ritual is termed a "capacocha complex". Here we study the analysis of the plant remains recovered with the body.
All of the plant remains found are edible and most of them belong to crops. Predominant are carbohydrates delivering plants, e.g. Zea mays, Chenopodium quinoa, Solanum tuberosum, Ipomea batatas, but also legumes like Phaseolus lanatus and P. vulgaris are detected. Single fruits of Psidium guajava and Pouteria lucuma  are also represented in the find assemblage. Furthermore a bundle of leaves from the Coca tree (Erythroxylum coca) indicates its consumption. 

Personnel involved
Klaus Oeggl
Werner Kofler

Cooperation
Johan Reinhard, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society

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