The Chinchorro mummies are found in northern Chile and southern Peru; the oldest of them date to thousands of years before the first Egyptian mummies. Some of them mummified naturally, but most were intentionally mummified. The hot, arid conditions of the Atacama desert aided in this process. However, these mummies are now the latest victims of climate change, as increased humidity encourages bacterial growth that is transforming them into black ooze.
Mexico mummies: Climbers find eerie head in snow, dig to find mummies embracing The mummies will be transported down the mountain as early Monday. These frozen Mexico mummies will make their descent with climbers who have special cases to keep the frozen mummies intact. [more inside]
"Academics restart work to unlock secrets of mystery medieval civilization with links to Persia on edge of the Siberian Arctic. The 34 shallow graves excavated by archeologists at Zeleniy Yar throw up many more questions than answers. But one thing seems clear: this remote spot, 29 km shy of the Arctic Circle, was a trading crossroads of some importance around one millennium ago."
I understand your great grandfather was a grave robber?
My family is Greek and they lived in Alexandria back when it was a Greek town. At that point there was a trade in mummy dust, which they called mummia, which was thought to be a cure all. Louis XIV actually used to carry mummia in a pouch and snort little bits of it. The problem was that by the late 19th century they didn’t have a bunch of old Egyptian mummies to dig up anymore. Instead, when criminals were executed, people would steal their bodies and take them to the middle of the Sahara and cover them in tar. They’d come back a year later, dig them up and sell them to apothecaries, where they’d get ground up. This was a burgeoning trade.A Q&A with author, photographer, and ossuary expert Paul Koudounaris.
"...scientists have discovered that two 3,000-year-old Scottish "bog bodies" are actually made from the remains of six people."
"Hi Rob. You know how we said we were going to have a 6 month party in your room?" Rob's roommates had a good time while he was away.
Why do mummies scream? Are screaming mummies really testaments to horrific deaths? Or are they the result of natural processes, botched or ad hoc mummification jobs, or the depredations of tomb robbers? Archaeology Online examines the science and history behind the gape-mouthed "masks of agony" seen on some mummies, and explores their portrayal in entertainment and pop culture. The article includes lots of interesting and informative additional links.
The Valley of the Kings not done yet? British archaeologists have discovered a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings - the first such find since Howard Carter found Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922. Ironically, the new tomb was a mere 5 meters from Tutankhamun's. The tomb includes unopened sarcophagi and 5 undisturbed mummies. Patricia Podzorski, curator of Egyptian Art at the University of Memphis, said "People have been saying the valley was done for 100 years. They said it before Howard Carter found King Tutankhamun's tomb and they said it after. But, obviously, they are still wrong."
Mexico: The Dark Side. A trip through cemeteries, a visit with mummies and celebrating the Day of the Dead. They visited Italy too - more mummies, plus bones and danse macabre. I was looking for something light hearted to post given all the tragedy as of late and this was what I found instead. [Some of this stuff is pretty disturbing, especially the Mexican mummies.]
Long ago in the town of Palermo in Sicily some monks got together and decided that they wanted to start praying to one of their own after he had passed to the Great Beyond so they embalmed him. Four hundred years and 8,000 corpses later you can see the Capuchin Catacombs for yourself.
The republic of Kalmykia is a unique place. A member of the Russian Federation, it was settled in 1608 by Mongols from what is now the Chinese province of Xinjiang. It is the only state in Europe where Buddhism is the dominant religion, and probably the only state in the world whose president claims to have created an "extra-sensory field" around it. Kalmykia's spiritual leader, Telo Rinpoche, is an American from Philadelphia who was appointed by the Dalai Lama. There has been a long history of migrations between Europe and Asia. In one really intriguing case, 3000-year-old mummies with reddish-blond hair, Caucasian features and wearing tartans similar in design to Celtic ones, were discovered in the Takla Makan Desert in Xinjiang. If these ancient Caucasians were absorbed by the population of Xinjiang, then perhaps the Kalmyk migration might have unknowingly been a return to their ancestral lands. [First link via plep].
There's mummies coming from Afghanistan said yesterday's Horizon on the BBC. This is the story of a supposedly 2600 year old mummified Persian princess. It was put up for sale for $11 million, but turned out to be a fraud and possibly contains the remains of a woman murdered in 1996. The mummy was probably manufactured somewhere in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, well known these days....
A story that only gets stranger and sadder. A gold-masked mummy, whose sensational discovery last year sparked an ownership row between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, has turned out not only to be a modern fake but also the apparent victim in a macabre murder mystery.
Last summer, lagado posted a link on some interesting mummies found in a Chinese desert. This is an article on the ensuing (and continuing) political problems they've caused.
So have you heard the one about the Golden Persian Princess Mummy? Discovered in October by Pakistani police during a murder investigation of an antiquities smuggler, this story has only gotten weirder. Said to be 2,600-years-old, the body of a young woman has been preserved using the Egyptian mummification process but bears cuneiform inscriptions in Old Persian: "I, daughter of Xerxes, the great king, I am Ruduamna". Since its discovery, the governments of Iran and Afghanistan have each claimed ownership of the mummy and all three countries are now engaged in a bitter war of claim and counter-claim. Now some experts are starting to say that the whole thing looks like it's just an elaborate hoax.
The Mummies of the Tarim Basin were discovered fifteen years ago by Chinese archaeologists working in the salty deserts of far western China. These bodies date from between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago and have been preserved so well in the extremely dry salty conditions that some of them look like they're still alive. Even more remarkable is that their clothing is still intact including tapestries and tartans. Finally these people were six feet tall, had long noses and fair hair and there is strong evidence that they spoke a language whose closest relatives are Celtic and Latin.
I love old stuff. Tombs, sepulchres, whatever. To me, it's a deep old hole with a mummy in it.