In Salta we visited an archeology museum dedicated to the Incan culture. Specifically, their claim to fame is the discovery of three young Incan children in a mountain range near Salta, Argentina. They had been placed in a sort of tomb and were accompanied by special items and dress that were customary for the high-up families of the time.
Upon examination it is estimated these children were placed there some 400-500 years ago. What’s astonishing is their impeccable preservation, from their hair to their skin to their clothes. It’s thought that the altitude, the cold temperatures, the limited amount of bacteria, among other things is to be given credit for their preservation.
From Salta we headed north to Jujuy. We spent time in the city of Jujuy, as well as traveled out to a few smaller towns within the Jujuy department: Purmarmaca and Humahuaca. Both were small, quaint, and beautiful arid mountain towns.
A highlight from our time in Humahuaca was riding with a native Incan man to La Quebrada de Humahuaca. The mountain range was stunning but it was equally fun to chat with the driver on the trip there and back.
His take on the three children that were removed from the mountain and are now property of the museum in Salta was quite different than that of the museum. He said the museum should have no right to those children.
Worse yet, he explained that those children were not dead, but just sleeping. (How else would they have absolutely no sign of deterioration, he explained, in the hundreds of years they had been there?)
The children were specially selected to see the other side and one day were destined to return to this world filled with great knowledge to share with their people. He explained that when the archeologists removed the children from their place in the mountain, they killed them, so now the best he could hope for is for their bodies to be returned to the mountain so they could rest in peace.
He didn’t like how the museum was using the children of his people for profit-gaining. When we pointed out the great cost of meticulously keeping the bodies preserved, he rightfully responded that their spot in the mountain had been doing that free of charge. It was incredibly interesting to hear his perspective, especially after having visited the museum and seeing the situation from their side.
It’s true what they say about their being at least two sides to every story. I’m glad we had the chance to hear his.