Horizon (1964) s32e08 Episode Script

Ice Mummies Part 3

Hidden in a freezer in Chile, is a boy who died 500 years ago.
His body is so well preserved, it provides a unique glimpse into the psyche of one of the most colorful empires the world has ever seen.
The Incas.
Rising out of the high plateau of Southern Peru is the giant volcanic peak of Sara Sara.
To the ancient Incas, mountains were gods to be worshipped and honored and few were more holy than Sara Sara.
Today there are legends that its summits still holds Inca gifts to the gods.
One, who has spent half of life time investigating mountain legends is anthropologist Johann Reinhard.
13 years ago, he stumbled across evidence that there might be something to these peaks.
In 1983 I went on a trip to Sara Sara just to check and see because O knew the mountain is very important for me.
And when I got to the summit, I found some artificial platforms, walls, that they've built 2 meters high.
He never got the chance to explore those mysterious platforms and ever since he's been trying to return.
But Sara Sara is 18500 feet high and for many years, lay in one of the most violent areas of Peru.
It always was on the back of our minds we got a very strictly warrant by the governor against going in there so we need an armed escort and even that wouldn't do any good because they would kill us all for the guns.
The Peruvian countryside is more peaceful now and Reinhard has mounted an expedition with a team of archeologists from the Catholic University in Arequipa to return to the summit.
The Incas believed there were spirits in the landscape and of all the spirits, the mountains were the most powerful.
They even controlled the weather.
The mountains have got to control weather, so they could send rains, or hold rains at will They would call the clouds from the ocean and they cause the rains to form And it does have a kind of logical basis, because you see, the rivers is coming down the mountain and therefore people think mountains have lakes inside them and the water is gushing forward, and this very stream here is coming down from Sara Sara, for example and they would just think it is coming from the interior of Sara Sara.
Most of what we know of Incas and their beliefs comes from the extraordinary written record kept by the Spanish chronicles.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived 1532 they found a thriving civilization, stretching from Ecuador to Chile It was larger than the Roman Empire, it had been built in less than 100 years.
The chroniclers described how religion was used to achieve this.
Inca scholar, Bill Conklin believes these chroniclers revealed the Incas had a unique attitude towards conquest.
The Inca were a cleverly imperial people.
They were on the one hand a military empire, but they accomplished a lot of their conquering by persuasion.
They were enormously clever at confronting tribes that were alien initially, offering to worship their deities, incorporate them into the Inca kingdom, let them join the brotherhood so to speak.
South America had seen many small empires come and go but the religious traditions of the Andes remained intact and that was what the Incas exploited.
Their sense of warfare is very, very different than ours.
It's more like conquering people's temples, than conquering their armies.
The Incas made sure they've stamped their imperial mark on the landscape especially the sacred mountains.
The people of the Andes previous to the Incas did worship mountains, but in a different way.
They seemed to have worshipped mountains from a distance, but the Incas are the ones who got the idea of climbing this ladder to heaven and going up to the top of the mountain and actually engaging in their ritual practices at that spot which must have been their concept of heaven.
In a cave, on the lower slopes of Sara Sara the first discovery of Reinhard's expedition is evidence that the mountain had been worshiped long before the Incas.
It had probably always been sacred.
The Wari culture predate the Inca by 500 years but it is unlikely such a people would have ventured any further up their sacred mountain.
The local guides, however, do know of ruins 1000 feet high.
There's an Inca site that's out of the way.
It's what we're talking about doing is sending the burros up ahead with some gear and some of us splitting off and heading on over to take a look at the Inca site.
Reinhard has found fleeting references in the chronicles of the Inca sending 2000 people to Sara Sara to service the mountain god.
If true, this would make it one of the most important mountains in the Inca Empire.
Maybe the ruins would confirm this.
We're at 15200 feet, about 220 feet and we're at a hill top which has been a whole series of structures built.
They look to be clearly Inca, some with walls up to about a meter and a half, about 5 feet high.
The number of the structures and the layout indicates that this was a staging point on the way up to the summit of Sara Sara.
Heading the archeologists in the expedition is doctor Jose Antonio Chavez, dean of archeology at the Catholic University in Arequipa.
What we see here up in the background is the western northern summit.
There's one we can't see just in the back where the ruins are located, but clearly to us, anyway, it looks like the Incas would have gone up perhaps that scree slope, or perhaps up this ridge, then up that scree slope to get to the summit and it's one of the few routes of access that you can get on this mountain because it's quite steep all the way round.
Reinhard is hoping the chronicles were right about Sara Sara but historians have learned to be careful in interpreting this record.
In the vast deserts of Southern Peru the remains of several coastal civilizations lie preserved in the sand.
Sonia Guillen has made her name as one of the country's foremost anthropologists by interpreting the physical evidence exposed in these graves.
She is more weary of what the chronicles say about the history of her people.
ou have to take chronicles with, with a grain of salt.
You, you, there're chroniclers and chroniclers, they're the ones that were closer to-- to the events.
Those are the ones that heard about it, they, they were not close to them.
They also had their own intentions.
Some of the chroniclers, for example, were sent to destroy the religious activity of the Indians.
They made sure that they looked like pagan people.
That led to the belief that the priests were exaggerating in their presentation of rituals.
One ceremony above all seems exaggerated by the chroniclers.
Capa cocha.
It was described as a mysterious ritual in which the Incas sacrificed their own children to the gods.
The capa cocha ritual was always presented as very bloody and, and very unchristian.
So much so, that some scholars doubted that the ceremony actually took place.
Although the evidence for capa cocha has been there in the Spanish chroniclers for years, nobody paid much attention to it until the discovery of frozen bodies which suddenly makes the whole subject real.
In the mid-fifties a frozen boy was found high in the mountains of Chile.
He became a national curiosity, and was given to the natural history museum, in Santiago.
Here, he has remained ever since.
Very occasionally, he is removed from the freezer for a checkup as the conservationists struggle to keep him in the same condition as he was found.
He was found beautifully dressed in Inca textiles all of which were perfectly preserved.
With him was a range of artifacts including small pouches containing his baby teeth and nail clippings.
There was a gold llama and a distinctive silver doll All these were classic Inca offerings to the gods and so was the boy.
He was, indisputably, a capa-cocha sacrifice.
A gentle death.
This contradicted the violent Spanish account.
The discovery of frozen evidence, led to renewed interest in capa cocha and allowed anthropologists to reinterpret what the human sacrifice meant to the Incas.
What the Incas did is very different from a lot of societies where you did human sacrifice.
They-- weren't doing it wholesale, for example, like the Aztecs were, or eating some of the victims.
They were quite the contrary, was a whole different concept.
You had the parents of the children actually get involved in many cases.
We know that.
And it was an honor to have your child be selected.
These children were deified and confirmed the power of the Incas.
Children were considered to be pure.
Your pre-puberty child still hadn't gotten the sins of the adults so that they viewed it as one of the best emissaries to the deities.
The children were brought to Cuzco, their capital, and they were paraded or marched to these mountaintops across the country, in some cases hundred of miles.
They walked apparently in straight lines up and down the mountain tops in a very formal-- ritual procession with songs and ceremonies involved all the way, until the final moment up at the top of the mountain when the child was sacrificed and the burial then occurred.
Burial so high ensured every element of the ceremony was frozen in time.
Even evidence of his long journey.
The wealth of information in these capa cocha burials means many archeologists have tried to find other children.
Few have succeeded.
But last year, on Mount Ampato, in Peru Reinhard found the first ever frozen girl, nicknamed Juanita.
She received international publicity, when she was put on display, in Washington.
This was the first time the world outside South America had seen anything like this, and thousands crammed in to see her.
Juanita's discovery helped Reinhard find the backing for this expedition allowing his return to Sara Sara.
The team has now been climbing for 3 days They have reached 18000 feet, and the air is getting thin.
Every step is an effort.
Eventually they approach the summit the Holy of Holiest in the Inca world.
It is 13 years since he was last here, but Reinhard thinks only as an archeologist.
Well it's looking very snowy.
The concern now is just how deep the snow is because we're going to have to obviously clear it.
We're hopeful that this part is still intact because you can see the edge here, so that this hasn't been hopefully excavated.
We'll find out when we clear the snow.
I'm going down-- further here.
This, from 1983 this section of the wall has collapsed and the concern could be that this would be, have been due to some looting or digging in here.
It could also just be natural, you know I mean it's been quite awhile, it's 13 years, and the depth of the walls is pretty clear when you start looking down here.
It's about, it's almost 2 meters there and as you go around this is all part of the wall here that we're seeing.
Comes out around here, it's about 2 meters right down here.
It's over 6 feet, so they went to a lot of work to make this broad area, put in fill.
Imagine the amount of loads they must have taken from around here to, to fill this all in.
The summit of Sara Sara is a huge complex of platforms.
Reinhard is standing on the lower of the two main terraces, only visible as stone rings above the snow.
Beyond them, to the North, a collection of boulders marks a small northern platform.
And to the East, a series of 4 terraces run down between rocky outcrops.
Reinhard believes this South-West end holds the most promise.
Where we're standing right now is on one of the south-eastern corners and one of the deepest corners and that's generally the deepest places is where you usually find something, so we could be right now standing on top of potentially a human sacrifice, but certainly some kind of offerings I would think would be in this section right here.
Was this the last sight seen by a child 500 years ago ? The Incas intended these sacrifices to remain for eternity.
But less than 100 years later catholic monks were retracing the children's footsteps, with a very different aim.
The Spanish came here to indoctrinate the natives, so they, they had this very solace purpose of changing their pagan ways.
Part of that implied destroying their gods and destroying their shrines, making sure all those beliefs would disappear.
Catholic monks didn't just record Inca traditions they also set about hunting down their sacred places and destroying their idols.
Capa cocha children were especially sought after.
In a way you could say that they succeeded because everybody here became, in the Andes, became Christian.
They accepted the-- the coming religion, but, but they also didn't succeed because the Andean traditions were so strong that eventually they-- they merged with some of the Christian beliefs.
There, there's this level in which some of the local gods just got different names so I don't think the Vatican would recognize what's being practiced here as what they would expect the Catholic religion to be.
Before digging Reinhard's team makes a traditional offering to the mountain of llama fetuses The llama fetus represents like the entire llama and, but it's the essence of the llama.
In Andean beliefs, you can have things that are very small, but since they have been ritually invoked, they-- they have all the essence of the entire thing and when you offer it you're offering the entire animal.
Fetuses are believed to be a favorite food of the mountain deities so they're very pleased when they get these.
Through time, you begin to see the mountains in a different way, you begin to see them just like the villagers do.
They say they're alive and for you they come alive in a certain way because you're beginning to see how they view them.
Back on the summit, all thoughts of the living mountain are put aside as the excavation starts.
After the snow's cleared, the team set up grid references so the position of any future find can be logged.
Digging starts in 3 positions on the site.
At the Southern end, where the walls are the highest and on the top center platform.
Chavez leads a group on the Northern platform.
Every spare container is now commandeered to melt and boil snow.
Where water really comes important in a sense not so much here-- just can't make that much of a dent in this kind of frost.
When it comes in really important is when you find some artifact or among the-- and then you can work around it carefully, or even sometimes they're frozen rock hard into the ice, a mixture of rock and ice, and you can melt, you know melt it around it and free it without damaging the textiles.
Hacking through the frozen gravel, placed here by the Inca, 500 year ago is grim work.
All they have are the picks and shovels brought with them.
And in this thin air, it takes a special kind of determination.
It's inevitable during the course of dealing with hard terrain like this that some time you're going to actually hit an object and fortunately that's happened very rarely and usually what you get is a bit of textile or a bit of material, straw or something like that which gives an indication of something there and then work almost stops and you start working very carefully and then you free it up.
But imagine let's say just there was a statue right there.
Before dr.
Chavez even begins digging on the Northern platform he makes a discovery.
A silver Inca shawl pin lying on the surface Eventually, he finds 5, and none are buried.
Although this is proof the site was used by the Incas it is not good news for the archeologists.
The Inca buried all their offerings if the shawl pins are on the surface someone must've dug them up.
This is a problem faces at every archeological site in Peru Looters.
An ancient cemetery near where Sonia Guillen works is a typical example.
In this area we have very good preservation of organic material and this is what the looters expose.
Unfortunately this has been-- greatly destroyed by the activity of looters looking for pottery, textiles and, and hopefully they, they did expect to find some gold.
Because of some superstitions, when they find the mummy they will take the head away violently and throw it away and separate it from the body.
Looters, looters are grave robbers and they're thieves you know, they're destroying destroying evidence that should be important for them, for themselves, This is a resource that like any type of resource is, it will end you know, the more they destroy the more we will have less to study, less to protect, less to show in museums, less to keep for for generations to come, so they are our worst enemy for any type of, not just the scientific work that needs to be done, but the protection of our heritage.
The looters, or huaqeros, as they are known, will go to any lengths for capa cocha burials he only advantage that the burials have is that they are at such remote locations and so inaccessible but of course the fame and world-wide publicity associated with this undoubtedly inspires the huaqueros and the diggers to climb to the mountain tops and dig for their portion of the-- gold and the rewards that they can find there.
There's hardly any mountain top that has not been looted, including this one.
Unfortunately there has been use of dynamite that have exploded bodies.
Once I even pulled out to my amazement an ear from a wall at 20,000 feet, so it was exploded by people who wanted to get at the artifacts.
As the days pass, no more artifacts are found and dr.
Chavez decides to give up digging on the Northern platform.
Progress is painfully slow but Reinhard's optimism seems justified when the diggers hit a layer of grass.
What we've hit at about 50 centimeters is some nice-- batch of what they call Ichu.
It's a wild grass and some pieces of wood.
That's a good indication that we're on the right track.
You wouldn't find this kind of thing-- unless there was some kind of offering that they were making.
This grass and wood must've been brought up here, since it doesn't grow naturally at this height.
But there's no sign of anything more significant.
The weather then takes a turn for the worse and the threat of lightning temporarily clears the summit.
Later, when the diggers return some textiles are found near the main platform.
Because of the flat head I can tell it's a male You see the textiles starting to come around ? What Walter has found is a tiny silver statue, wrapped in textiles.
A classic Inca capa cocha offering.
As they clear away the earth from the male they find a second silver statue A female.
The same design as the one found with the frozen boy in Santiago.
There's probably a lot more offerings in the nooks and crannies around here.
The mountain was extremely sacred for the Incas and the people in this entire region.
Over the years you're bound to get a number of offerings.
And sure enough, as Walter digs deeper a gold figure emerges from the soil.
Next, a sea shell figure as valuable to the Incas, as gold.
Seashell miniatures, as well as gold and silver statuettes were very popular offerings to the capa cocha children during and after the sacrifice.
Although the shawl pins were found to the North Walter's statues came out of the small crevice to the East of the main platforms.
The number of finds is beginning to perplex Reinhard.
What's ironic is this is a teeny little platform.
Those were huge platforms we have on the other side we haven't found anything yet, but that's probably because it's steeper.
You have a small platform like this Then, something is discovered at the Southern end of the site.
A small column of silver glints amongst the ice.
What they just uncovered here is a silver llama figurine, just see a bit of it here.
Beautifully preserved and what's really exciting to us is that just below this, some of this straw-- and robe and we had thought there might be a burial here and here we see this hole, in other words we're seeing ice which means there's a hole there and with this llama figurine in front of it.
It's quite possible that we will find a human sacrifice here when we continue digging.
For the first time in at least 500 years this tiny llama sees the light of day.
This find was in the Southwest corner, where Reinhard first felt there might a frozen mummy.
The silver llama was unearthed just outside the wall.
As the day draws to an end hopes are high that tomorrow would reveal the object of these offerings.
The tiny body of a child.
In recent years, forensic scientists have been able to study the frozen children in detail and now, the peaceful image of capa cocha has been shattered.
When Juanita went to Washington many commented on her calm, almost saint-like air.
But while there, she was CAT-scanned by an advanced 3D imaging system at Johns Hopkins University.
This revealed a darker secret behind her expression.
This image is an image of her skull looking directly at us and the first thing you can see is her orbits.
The eye socket, the left orbit is nice and round, it's perfectly normal.
The right orbit is kind of compressed and you can look at the lateral wall and there's actually a fracture.
If we then rotate this image and you can see this line line in her frontal bone which is evidence of a skull fracture.
It's a fairly significant fracture and if you look at both of these together it's a type of evidence that someone who is struck by a hard blow on the side of the head, maybe by a rock or by a stick or by a club, and basically bled internally and that's how she died.
Juanita's evidence is supported by unpublished data from the only other frozen capa cocha child ever found.
Locked in a laboratory freezer, outside Mendoza, in Argentina is the body of the Acongaua boy.
He was found on the tallest mountain in Southern America in 1985.
The top of his head was damaged by exposure but the rest is perfectly preserved.
An autopsy was carried out and it revealed cruel details about his last moments.
The clothes that he was found it were covered in vomit and diarheea which stained the whole child red, from the achiote dye he was forced to drink.
Most of the forensic evidence from these children suggest capa cocha ended in violence.
Reinhard expedition on Sara Sara is coming to an end.
Walter's small rock crevice continues to produce offerings.
Seven in all, including a beautiful gold male statue.
The ice hold, however, is a disappointment.
Hours of hacking and pouring hot water reveal nothing but more grass.
Is Reinhard wrong about the capa cocha child on Sara Sara ? Them on Eastern side, dr.
Chavez stumbles across a stone structure.
As he scrapes away at the gravel dr.
Chavez finds himself staring into the face of a child mummy.
We've smelled it before.
That's why I thought there was a mummy here even before they found it.
And that means usually it's already decomposed to a degree so we're getting there are going to be textiles which looks like there's still some textiles left, although damaged and a skeleton, but the nice thing is we'll get the whole complex and we'll get in and situated and we get all different artifacts.
You can already see a statue here.
There's going to be others when they found the silver statue right here, so there's going to be more stuff that's going to be found in association with it, and that's the kind of things that really make this exciting.
The team has proved beyond doubt that Sara Sara was the site to the ancient capa cocha rituals and, one more complete mummy would be saved from the looters.
The mummy was found on the terraces to the East of the main platform.
Because they faced the morning sun, the ground is not frozen so the body will be degraded.
As the mud is removed, it's clear the whole bundle is wrapped in sack-like textiles.
Although caked in mud, there's a glimmer of color underneath.
Fine stripes distinctive on 500 year Inca cloth.
Laying just beneath the textiles, is a clue to the sex of the child.
Where he's working right now shows a tupu, a shawl pin, which means that this is a female mummy.
Another girl who lost her life to the mountain gods.
She was the chosen one, offered up by her community, and fated by the emperor himself.
Laden with offerings, she made the long journey to the sacred mountain of Sara Sara.
Them she climbed, higher than she ever climbed in her life, to the summit.
This was her heaven, and this was where she was killed.
Now she is on a journey again Carefully, the archeologists remove her body from the tomb still semi-frozen, and caked in mud.
She would be taken back down the mountain and onto a freezer in Arequipa University.
Before she goes, she is named Sarita Little Sara, after her mountain home, for 500 years.
Shortly after Sarita's discovery, the expedition has to finish.
Reinhard's team has been on the summit for 11 days but he still believes there's much to do.
There's been some looting, but there's also a tremendous amount that hasn't been touched and it's very, very exciting really, with a lot of different, smaller sites, and we still have quite a bit of work ahead of us to-- get to the bottom of it.
We'll give some thought to how to make this a more efficient operation when we come back next year.