National Geographic : 1998 Jul
ITHWAKE O LOTES EXAVTR RESCU ARTIACT frozen mummy bundle with pottery stuck to it like barnacles receives the attention of co-director Chavez, who photographed our latest discovery on Ampato. A drought in 1997 had left its summit free of snow (top), affording us a rare chance to search the area. We started with the slope down which the ice maiden had tumbled. In addition to wooden spoons and llama bones, we found textile pieces from her outer wrap. Sadly, looters had preceded us, and we have no idea what they may have taken. Evidence of plunder only strengthens our resolve to excavate as many high altitude sites as possible in advance of thieves. We spent much of our time investigating a plateau at 19,200 feet, where we were lucky to find this new mummy bundle, as it was unmarked by a platform or stone ring. Examination later revealed a skeleton scorched by lightning, like two burials National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence in 1997, JOHAN REINHARD has written three articles on his Andean research, as well as Discovering the Inca Ice Maiden, a children's book published by the Society. we found on Ampato in 1995. Beneath an empty burial platform elsewhere on the plateau we detected a thick layer of volcanic ash, giving credence to the theory that the Inca offered summit sacrifices in response to major volcanic eruptions. Other forces of nature snow and lightning-soon forced us to end our field season. As for our efforts to save and understand Peru's Inca heritage, we have just begun.