The remains of the 15-year-old girl known as the “Llullaillaco Maiden” revealed that her changed markedly in the 12 months up to her death, shedding new light on the rituals of the ancient Andean civilization. The research, by a British-led team, suggests that she was fed a ceremonial diet before being marched to a shrine 82ft (25 metres) from the top of the 22,110ft (6,739 metres) volcano Llullaillaco, where she was suffocated or left to die from exposure. Before being chosen as sacrificial victim, she had followed a typical peasant diet. This raises the possibility that she was chosen from among the Incas’ conquered subjects and killed not only to pacify the mountain gods, but also to instill terror and respect for an imperial power. “It looks to us as though children were led up to the summit shrine in the culmination of a year-long rite, drugged and then left to succumb to exposure,” said Timothy Taylor of the University of Bradford, one of the lead researchers. She is said to be the best preserved Inca mummy of all time.