The erupting volcano of Sabancaya spewed out clouds of ash over a mile into the sky, blanketing even its higher neighbour Ampato. After three years, the weight of melting snow finally caused a section of Ampato's 20,700-foot high summit ridge to collapse. As it swept into the crater below, the mix of ice and rock carried with it a cloth-wrapped bundle. Smashing against a boulder, the outer cloth of the bundle was torn open and objects were strewn over the icy landscape. But the most important part of the bundle remained intact - the 500-year-old frozen body of an Inca girl. Since Johan Reinhard found the mummy in 1995 and news of its discovery has reached more than a billion people worldwide. It has been the subject of TV documentaries in several languages, front-page newspaper stories and major feature coverage in magazines. Most importantly the Ice Maiden, as the child came to be known, was one of the best-preserved mummies ever found and the only body of an Inca female. The child was preserved as a proverbial time capsule, a human frozen in time, whose study has yielded results ranging from the best-preserved DNA of its age to the first complete clothing of an Inca noble woman.
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