Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM)
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Mitre 77 · interesting places nearby
Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM) information
One of northern Argentina's premier museums, this has a serious and informative exhibition focusing on Inca culture and, in particular, the child sacrifices left on some of the Andes’ most imposing peaks.
The centerpiece of the display is the mummified body of one of three children (rotated every six months) discovered at the peak of Llullaillaco in 1999. It was a controversial decision to display the bodies and it is a powerful experience to come face-to-face with them.
Intricately plaited hair and clothes are perfectly preserved, and their faces reflect – who knows? – a distant past or a typical 21st-century Salta face; a peaceful passing or a tortured death. You decide.
The grave goods impress by their immediacy, with colors as fresh as the day they were produced. The illas (small votive figurines of animals and humans) are of silver, gold, shell and onyx, and many are clothed in textiles. It’s difficult to imagine that a more privileged look at pre-Columbian South American culture will ever be offered us. Also exhibited is the ‘Reina del Cerro,’ a tomb-robbed mummy that ended up here after a turbulent history. Good videos give background. There’s a library as well as a cafe-bar with terrace and wi-fi.