Thursday, March 15, 2012

National Geographic Videos

In the previous post, we included a link to the National Geographic Special on Inca Mummies (Inca Mummies: Secrets of the Lost World). Around fifteen minutes into the program, there is discussion of some of the finds of the mummies of Capacocha child sacrifices. The importance of the mountains themselves in the ideology of the Inca and the results of techniques such as DNA testing are some of the topics covered in this portion of the show. However, the special also largely features a few additional sites, such as a settlement likely inhabited after the coming of the Spanish conquistadors and especially the cemetery site that was excavated from under the town of Tupac Amaru,

Although these topics of the program may not seem to have direct relevance to the cultural practices we are investigating, there are important aspects to note. One of the focuses of the special is the interaction of the past and the present through the presence of these mummies. Tupac Amaru is a site in which excavators had only ten weeks to work before the need for sewers and plumbing in the town would cause anything remaining to be destroyed. This conflict of archaeology and the needs of the population is an interesting question throughout the program which has not yet strongly impacted the excavation of Capacocha mummies, found in areas unlikely to be inhabited, but could in the future in some capacity. There is also the possibility that such conflicts may impact any possible future discoveries of royal mummies. The program also addresses the impact of the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors on the Inca Empire. As this arrival not only drastically impacted the Incan people and their activities, such as mortuary practices, but also likely was a direct cause of the lack of surviving royal mummies (see Mummies of the world), this background has interesting applications to this study.

The second video (Mummified Child Sacrifice), also from National Geographic, addresses more directly Capacocha. It shows scientists taking samples of hair from the mummy named La Doncella to try and learn more about what her life was like prior to her death. This video is interesting in the way that it shows techniques used by scientists in such situations and also in the information actually gained from the process.

To make accessing these videos easier, they are both now linked at the top of the page.

Inca Mummies: Secrets of the Lost World. (2009). National Geographic. Retrieved February 29, 
Mummified Child Sacrifice. (2009). National Geographic. Retrieved February 29, 2012 from 
Mummies of the world. (2000). Retrieved February 7, 2012, from

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