Preserved in time – Peruvian mummies

cherchen man with tattoos

There are lots of ways the dead can be preserved.  The elements help. So far I have explored preservation by earth (well peat really) with the Bog bodies.  Then there was water (Otzi the ice man) frozen in ice and found in the Austrain/Italian alps.  But earth and water aren’t the only elements which can make time stand still.  Air also has its part to play.  Dry humid air has contributed in preserving the most famous mummies of all – the Egyptian mummies.  But these bodies have been treated with nitrates and bandaging.

The first body found was a Tocharian woman who was probably sacrificed

Lots of conditions can lead to natural mummification.  Sometimes the air is too dry, the ice is too cold, the ground is arid and these can preserve the bodies, sometimes for thousands of years.

this woman was approx 40 yrs old her stature and red hair indicate european descent

The Taklamakan mummies were found in 1980s on the edge of an old Silk Road in a remote desert in what is China.  The bodies are not embalmed but preserved naturally by the dry sands.  They are tall with red gold hair and it is believed that they are European descent.  Interestingly, the woman’s cloth garment is identical with Celtic cloth.

Here’s a small film which features her among other bodies:-

The Loulan Beauty as she may have looked

Another  Mummy, also found in China is obviously Caucasian.  She is known as the Loulan Beauty and she was found in the ruins of an ancient city on the edge of the Taklamakan desert.  She is thought to be over 4000 years old, stood 6ft 1 in. and is a European Caucasian ( before the Chinese got to China) she was over 40 years of age when she died.

The Loulan Beauty as she was found

It never ceases to amaze me what endurance the physical human body has and how nature can destroy or preserve our shell, leaving clues for  those who come after us.   The spirit shall go on, but we can learn a lot about ourselves by studying our past.

PS  My latest poem  is called ‘Acrostic Alphabet-ish’ here

More about the Taklamakan mummies here

Images from here

6 thoughts on “Preserved in time – Peruvian mummies

  1. What fascinates me most about Egyptian mummies, is that they made them out of animals as well. Truly beautifully mummified baboons, fishes, and even… a dung beetle!

    As for the ‘Cherchen’/Tamrin mummies, I believe they are going on tour to the USA!

  2. The only mummies I’ve been lucky enough to see is ‘Pete Moss’ (a bog body) because he was found locally (I’ve not featured him yet) Oh and ‘Ginger’ in London. Apart from that, the usual mummies. I hope you do get to see the Cherchen/Tamrin ones. Yes fascinating that they should go to the trouble of wrapping these animals, though some were sacred. They cared enough about their souls and their place in the afterlife – that’s a true respect. My favorites are the bog bodies I would love to go to the Silkborg Museum Denmark and see that Tollund man! Thanks for visiting and your valid comments Ann – it’s very appreciated!

  3. Even the term ‘Silk Road’ sounds romantic! I can imagine these merchants travelling thousands of miles across the dry terrain bearing spices, silks and gorgeous wares…
    Imagine trying to do a Life Class underwater Leslie! Wouldn’t that be interesting – now that’s one place that you just couldn’t use watercolour hehhe! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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