Archaeology: Death In The Andes

A burial site at 22,000 feet is giving scientists the best look yet at grisly Incan sacrificial rites

By modern standards, the hostile summit of Mount Llullaillaco, in the Argentine Andes, is no place for kids. The ancient Inca saw things differently though, and so it was that one day, some 500 years ago, three children ascended the frigid and treacherous upper slopes of the 22,000-ft. peak. The three had spent time at the 17,000-ft. level, taking part in rituals that can only be guessed at. Now, accompanied by a retinue of adults, they moved steadily upward. They would not return. Once at the summit, the children--two girls and a boy, between eight and 15 years old--would be ritually...

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