There are everlasting mysteries that linger longer than others. Mona Lisa, for example. The Nazca Lines in Peru. Stonehenge. The Voynich Manuscript. And, our topic here, the Tarim mummies.
The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1800 BCE to the first centuries BCE, with a new group of individuals recently dated to between c. 2100 and 1700 BCE. The Tarim population to which the earliest mummies belonged was agropastoral, and they lived circa 2000 BCE in what was formerly a freshwater environment, which has now become desertified.
Many of the mummies have been found in very good condition, owing to the dryness of the desert and the desiccation it produced in the corpses. The mummies share many typical Caucasian body features (tall stature, high cheekbones, deep-set eyes), and many of them have their hair physically intact, ranging in color from blond to red to deep brown, and generally long, curly and braided. Their costumes, and especially textiles, may indicate a common origin with Indo-European neolithic clothing techniques or a common low-level textile technology. Chärchän man wore a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. Textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber, who examined the tartan-style cloth, discusses similarities between it and fragments recovered from salt mines associated with the Hallstatt culture. As a result of the arid conditions and exceptional preservation, tattoos have been identified on mummies from several sites around the Tarim Basin, including Qäwrighul, Yanghai, Shengjindian, Shanpula (Sampul), Zaghunluq, and Qizilchoqa.The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum in Urumqi In northwest China, houses the mummies,
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