In 1999, the body of a 15 year old Inca girl was discovered frozen and entombed on Llullaillaco, an Argentinian volcano. The body of the girl, who was subsequently known as “The Maiden” was perfectly preserved by the ice, even though she had died 500 years ago!
This is the story of how she came to be there: Apparently, The Maiden was chosen by the Inca people to be sacrificed, as an offering to the Gods. So, she was taken up the 22,110 ft volcano, where she was fed coca leaves and given an intoxicating drink. At the burial site, the Inca priest either killed the girl, or left her to freeze to death.
After she was found, and because her body was in such a preserved state, scientists were able to carry out a number of tests. For example, they were able to reveal that she had a high fat diet at the time of her death through examining strands of her hair. However, more importantly, they discovered that she was suffering from a bacterial infection similar to tuberculosis. They did this by swabbing her lips and comparing her sample with current patients. Scientists hope that the bacteria discovered will help fight new or reemerging illnesses.
So although her death might seem futile, at least by our modern standards, some good will come from The Maiden’s tragic demise.