Since the initial publication of these finds a lot of science has been thrown at them. We know that the victims were heavily drugged with alcohol and cocaine when they died, and that they had been taking a lot of cocaine for months before they were carried up the mountain. Their diets seem to have gotten much richer in their final months, with a lot more meat than they had eaten before; this confirms accounts saying the victims were treated with great respect before their deaths. They were not related. Spanish accounts say that the children were selected for their physical perfection, and that noble families from across the empire competed to have their children chosen, because of the honor it conferred on the family.
At last the procession to the mountaintop, carrying the drugged children and the offerings, accompanied by music. Not much had to be done to kill the victims; at 22,000 feet, just leaving them on the ground scantily clad did the trick, if they had not died on the way up. Dead or dying, they were placed in the prepared graves, their gifts around them, and gravel piled over them. Their work done, the men marched back down the mountain toward warmth, oxygen, and lives that went on.