Discuss how archaeological techniques aid in our understanding of Naturally Preserved Human Remains:
Juanita the Ice Maiden Of Peru
Juanita is known as the Peruvian Ice Maiden and was discovered on the 8th of September 1995 on the Top of Mount Amparto near Arequipa, Peru. Her Body was discovered because of the recently melted ice caps on the top of Mount Amparto which drew curiosity from John Reinhard, an Anthropologist and his Peruvian Climber Partner Miguel Zarate. While climbing the summate they noticed some colourful feathers that where sticking out of the ground. They could tell that these where not modern but where the headdress to an ancient Inca Ceremonial Statuette. For this reason they concluded that there must be more artefacts from where that had come from. While searching the craters down the mountain they came across a small bundle which ended up being Juanita. Her body was found frozen to the side of a crater on the mountain. Her original burial site had collapsed and fallen down the mountain which is how she ended up in the crater where she was found. The only reason she was found was because of recent volcanic activity in the area which caused the glacier in which she was frozen in to melt and reveal the ancient Inca sacrificial site which ended up falling down the side of the mountain containing Jaunita, Lama Bones, pottery shards, corn kernels and a small spondylus shell figurine.
The Conditions that allowed her body to be so well preserved where the build up of ice and snow over 500 years just after she had been sacrificed. Hours after she died there was a thick snow storm which covered her, over time this built the snow built up and solidified into ice to become a glacier.
When Juanita was discovered she was luckily discovered by John Reinhard who an experienced archaeologist and knew how to excavate a body. John and Miguel carefully plied Juanita off the ice wall of the crater and put her in Johns backpack. With her discovery they then searched the area and found other artefacts from the Inca ceremony. Her discovery also led to John brining an 18 man team back up in October for a more thorough search. This expedition lead to the discovery over another girl presumed to be between 8 to 10 years old, who was not as well preserved as Juanita, more ritual platforms and the skeleton of a third person.
Juanita’s body was dated using the dating technique Radiocarbon C-14 which dated her body to about 530 +/-50 years old. Carbon 14 is the process of measuring the amount of Carbon 14 that remains in the body. This method is based on the fact that all living organisms absorb Carbon 14 from the atmosphere and that when you die you stop absorbing it. Therefore scientists can use this information to date remains effectively up to the last 30,000 years. This method is not entirely accurate because there can be different amounts of carbon 14 in the atmosphere at different times which is why scientists have to calibrate the radiocarbon dates to overcome the inaccuracy. To gain a more accurate date it is always a good idea to have the remains dated in more then one laboratory because each laboratory have slightly different techniques and equipment which will end up most likely giving a slightly different date.
Two People that are specifically related to Jaunita the Ice Maidens site are John Reinhard and Miguel Zarate. These two people where the original discoverers of Juanita.
Juanita’s body was very well preserved and this is showed by her very perfect teeth and the fact she was wrapped in a cloth when she was buried . Many of her features where well preserved from the dry Mountain winds and Ice to preserve her main features such as her straight black hair touching her shoulders, the skin on her face skin was dry and looks as though it had been pulled back and the skin on her shoulders, arms, body, legs and feet all retain a brownish colour that looks like she had died recently .
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