Peruvian archaeologists pressed the government Wednesday to block plans to send a 500-year-old frozen mummy of an Incan girl to the United States, saying her fragile remains could be damaged.
The mummy, known as the “Ice Princess,” was discovered on a frigid mountain peak in southern Peru in October, and is believed to be the best example of a frozen mummy ever found.
The 12-to 14-year-old girl had remained frozen on the 20,000-foot-high peak since being sacrificed to the god of Mount Ampato by Incan priests 500 years ago.
The mummy was to be shipped to the United States on Saturday for study by scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore and display by the National Geographic Society in Washington.
Peruvian archaeologists, however, asked the National Institute of Culture to block the shipment.
Anthropologist Sonia Guillen, who worked on the mummy last year, said not enough was known about possible contamination of the remains.
“While I was working with it, there were problems. We had fungus and we had molds developing,” Guillen said.
In addition, plans to display the mummy in the United States before it has gone on display in Peru have led to protests. “Those who want to see our cultural heritage must come here,” historian Eusebio Quiroz said.