ICE MAIDEN/ ICEMAN WEB QUEST
Name: Madeline St. John
Directions: Use following sites in any combination to discover the following
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/iceman.shtml -Death of the Iceman
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/icemummies/iceman.html -NOVA Iceman’s Last Meal
http://www.mummytombs.com/main.otzi.htm - Otzi links
http://www.iceman.it/en/oetzi-the-iceman- South Tyrol Museum
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/features/97/andes/ - Ice MAIDEN virtual autopsy
http://www.mummytombs.com/mummylocator/featured/juanita.htm - Juanita links
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/peru/mummies/high2.html - NOVA Ice Maiden
1. Where was this mummy found? How old is it?
The Ice Maiden mummy was found atop Mount Ampato, in the Andes Mountains, in
Peru. The mummy is 500 years old.
2. What do we know about this mummy's age, gender, religion, cause of death? Explain
how scientists know this information?
She was a teenage girl, about 12 to14 years old. They know this from studying her bones.
Inca priests buried her and she was a human sacrifice. To kill her, someone hit the side of
her head with a club, shoving her brain to the side, causing a major hemorrhage, and lots
of bleeding. Scientists know this from examining CT scans of her skull.
3. Describe the artifacts found with the mummy. What did they reveal?
She was covered in a brightly colored tapestry, called an “asku.” The clothing she was
wearing also resembles the finest textiles from the Inca Capital, Cuzco, signifying that
she probably came from a wealthy family. Nearby, they found two other buried children,
a boy and a girl. They were well-dressed, and could have been buried together in a
symbolic marriage. They were found with nearly 40 pieces of pottery, decorated wooden
utensils, weaving tools, and a pair of delicately woven sandals. These artifacts are also
believed to be offerings to the gods. Later, a fourth body was discovered.
In other places on the mountain, there were many Incan camp sites, with wooden posts
used for blanket covered tents, stones for tent platforms, and dried grass used for
4. Describe physical characteristics or marks on the mummy. What do they reveal?
The ice maiden had strong bones, well-defined muscles, and good teeth, showing that she
was in very good health, a flawless gift to the gods. She didn’t have any signs of disease,
either. Her cracked skull shows how she died.
5. What other facts have archeologists concluded about this person's life or death?
She was found in a kneeling posture, so she may have been praying. Her head was
bowed, making it an easy target for a blow from above. She had also eaten a meal of
vegetables some 6 to 8 hours before her death.
6. What has the mummy revealed about its society?
This mummy reveals that the Incas had human sacrifices, dressing them in fine clothes
and burying them with many expensive items, after striking them with a club to kill them.
We know that there was an extensive entourage for this sacrifice, with many villagers,
priests, and llamas participating. It must have been an extremely special occasion. They
had DNA like that of other Native Americans, with some genetic patterns shared with
people from Taiwan or Korea, adding to the hypothesis that the first Native Americans
came from Asia.
7. What technology was used to study this mummy?
They used CT scans, because a traditional autopsy would have ruined the mummy.
8. Describe the roles of the experts who study this mummy. (Archaeologists,
radiologists, pathologists, botanists, anthropologists)
An explorer for National Geographic first found the ice maiden. With an archeologist, he
continued to look for other remains and artifacts and excavate them. Radiologists and
pathologists examined the ice maiden using CT scans.
9. What questions remain unanswered?
We do not know who killed her, or what was going through her mind when she died. Did
she have plans or dreams? Was she happy to do this? Did she go completely willingly?
We do not know what she was told, what she believed would happen when she died.
10. What effects, if any, does the discovery have on today's society?
We have more proof as to whether the first Native Americans came from Asia. We could
also possibly find the ice maiden’s living relatives from her DNA. We can learn more
about Incan society, and what practices their religion had, what was important to them,
based on the items that they buried with these bodies. Learning about ancient cultures can
help us reflect on how we live our lives today, how we are different and alike.