We wave as Jose Antonio and Johan drive away in a taxi with Sarita strapped on
top. This is her final leg on a long journey from the past to her future home
in a deep freeze at Catholic University. Our own journey to the mountain,
piecing together this puzzle of the highest form of sacrifice in Inca culture,
has brought us closer to her world. We climbed over the same stone surfaces
and leaned against the same boulders that Sarita's ceremonial party rested on
as they built the tombs and placed the very offerings that we so painstakingly
unearthed. The cold and lonely summit of Sara Sara is no different today than
it was when Sarita was taken there and sacrificed to the mountain in the 1500s.
As Sarita's taxi disappears amidst the other cars on the road, I silently hope
that her journey from the world of the Inca into our own will prove worthwhile
to science and to our understanding of the Inca. What will we learn now from
the artefacts that were buried with her? In the months to come, when
she is finally unwrapped, will we find more clues to help us understand the
final days of her sacrifice on Sara Sara?