Image: Pedro Groover
On March 16, 1999, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Johan Reinhard and his team could finally rest for a spell. They had spent three days in heavy snowfall and ferocious winds atop the more than 20,000-foot-high summit of South America’s Mount Llullaillaco, searching for this very site. But they could not have been prepared for what they would eventually uncover: five feet beneath the rocks lay what Reinhard has since called “the best-preserved Inca mummies ever found.”
Image: Johan Reinhard
There were, in fact, three mummies found at this Andes mountain range location. One of them is thought to have been a teenaged girl at the time of her death, and hers was the oldest of the three recovered bodies.