Dr. Johan Reinhard an archaeologist discovered Juanita, the ice mummy on the top of the Mount Ampato, in the Arequipa region of the Peruvian Andes in September, 1995.She was just 12 to 14 years old when she had been killed by a single powerful blow to the head some five centuries earlier. Archaeologists believe that she was sacrificed in an Inca ritual, known as 'capacocha', to appease the mountain gods. Many items as offerings to the gods were also found with her body. Two more ice mummies, a young girl and a boy, were discovered in an archaeological expedition led led by Dr. Reinhard the following year.
The scientists think that she was a well fed and healthy girl and she had the most perfect teeth and her clothing was very noble. May be she was one of the Inca's virgins, who was chosen only for the purpose of sacrifice.
She had been lying under the snow of mount Ampato for 500 years unless a nearby volcano caused mount Ampato's snowcap to melt and her body was revealed.
Inca mummies mainly are of two types, the mummies of the Rulers which are mummified by artificial methods which is still unknown to the world and the mummies of the sacrificed ones, mummified by the freezing temperature and the dry, windy mountain air, so they were natural mummies.
Juanita was the first best-preserved mummy of all Inca mummies found in the Andes. It caused a sensation in the scientific world due to it's well preserved condition. Her body had been transported to United States in 1996 and Japan in 1999.
The ice maiden has gone through many complex and delicate preserving processes, but she couldn't escape the fate of deteriorating, because of her foreign tours. A concern was raised by Hidal Vidal of the National Museum of Archaeology. Anthropology, and History in Lima, shortly before Juanita was scheduled to go to Japan that her skin is had begun to turn color from her natural beige shade to a darker brown.
The santuarios Andinos Museum in Arequipa, Peru displays the mummy "Ice Maiden Juanita". Juanita's cloths, footwear and ornaments are also on display at the museum. The museum is located in the city center, just off the Plaza de Armas at La Merced 1001.The museum maintains a website in Spanish, with links to information about Juanita and a gallery of photos about Juanita, her possessions when she died, and the location of her death.