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.
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.
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:-
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.
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