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South American Mummies (Peruvian; Inca; Pre-Inca; etc.)

Peru archaeology: Ancient mummy found under rubbish dump​



An archaeologist works at the excavation site of a pre-Hispanic burial next to a mummy believed to be from the Manchay culture, which developed in the valleys of Lima between 1,500 and 1,000 BCE, in Lima, Peru, June 14, 2023.



Archaeologists in Peru conducting a dig at the site of a rubbish dump in the capital Lima have found a mummy they think is around 3,000 years old.

Students from San Marcos University, who are helping with the dig, first spotted the mummy's hair and skull.
Archaeologist Miguel Aguilar said they had removed eight tonnes of rubbish from the location before their careful search for historic remains began.

The mummy is thought to date back to the times of the Manchay culture.
The Manchay lived in the area around modern-day Lima from around 1500BC to 1000BC.
An archaeologist works at the excavation site of a pre-Hispanic burial next to a mummy believed to be from the Manchay culture, which developed in the valleys of Lima between 1,500 and 1,000 BCE, in Lima, Peru, June 14, 2023.

The body had been laid out flat inside a U-shaped temple
They are known for building U-shaped temples oriented towards the rising sun.
Mr Aguilar explained that the mummy had been placed in a tomb in the centre of such a U-shaped temple. He said the body had been laid out flat, which is characteristic for the Manchay culture of the "formative era", around 3,000 years ago.
The body was wrapped in cloth made from cotton and vegetable fibre.
People stand near the excavation site of a pre-Hispanic burial with a mummy, believed to be from the Manchay culture which developed in the valleys of Lima between 1,500 and 1,000 BCE, in Lima, Peru, June 14, 2023.

The archaeological site was underneath a rubbish dump in the Rímac neighbourhood in the capital, Lima
The archaeologist said that the person "had been left or offered [as a sacrifice] during the last phase of construction of this temple".
Mummification was practiced by a variety of cultures in what is now Peru before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors - people who travelled to the Americas as part of the Spanish conquest.
Some mummies were buried, many in a foetal position, while others were brought out and paraded during key festivals.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-65915074
 
More Mummies plus other finds along Lima gaslines excavations.

Some archaeologists describe Peru's capital as an onion with many layers of history, others consider it a box of surprises. That's what some gas line workers got when their digging uncovered eight pre-Inca funeral bales.

"We are recovering those leaves of the lost history of Lima that is just hidden under the tracks and streets," Jesus Bahamonde, an archaeologist at Calidda, the company that distributes natural gas in the city of 10 million people, said Friday.

He said the company's excavation work to expand its system of gas lines over the last 19 years has produced more than 1,900 archaeological finds of various kinds, including mummies, pottery and textiles. Those have mostly been associated with burial sites on flat ground.

The city also has more than 400 larger archaeological sites that have turned up scattered through the urban landscape. Known as "huacas" in the Indigenous Quechua language, those adobe constructions are on top of hills considered sacred places.

The number of relics isn't surprising. The area that is now Lima has been occupied for more than 10,000 years by pre-Inca cultures, then the Inca Empire itself and then the colonial culture brought by the Spanish conquerors in 1535.

Bahamonde showed the bales of ancient men sitting, wrapped in cotton cloth and tied with ropes braided from lianas that were in trenches 30 centimeters (nearly a foot) below the surface.

Workers uncover eight mummies and pre-Inca objects while expanding the gas network in Peru


Gas workers dig where bones and vessels were discovered by workers laying a natural gas line for the Calidda gas company in the Carabayllo district on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. Eight burial offerings from the pre-Inca Ychsma culture have been identified by archeologists so far, according to lead archaeologist Jesus Bahamonde. Credit: AP Photo/Martin Mejia

The company's archaeologists believe the finds belong to the pre-Inca culture called Ichma. The Ichma culture was formed around A.D. 1100 and expanded through the valleys of what is now Lima until it was incorporated into the Inca Empire in the late 15th century, scholars say.

https://phys.org/news/2023-09-workers-uncover-mummies-pre-inca-gas.html
 
What the Ice Maiden looked like

Archaeologists have revealed a model showing what Peru's most famous mummy would have looked like in real life.

The mummy, known as "Juanita" or the "Inca Ice Maiden", was an Inca girl who is thought to have been sacrificed in a ritual more than 500 years.

Scientists worked with a specialist in facial reconstruction to build a silicon bust of the mummy.

Johan Reinhard, the US archaeologist who first found the mummy in 1995, said the bust "makes her even more alive".

A team of Peruvian and Polish scientists worked with Oscar Nilsson, a specialist in facial reconstruction from Sweden, to build the silicon bust of the teenage girl. The scientists said body scans, skull measurements, DNA studies and ethnological characteristics guided their reconstruction.

Mr Nilssons told the Associated Press that it took "about 400 hours of work" to model the face, which has pronounced cheekbones, dark eyes and brown skin.

US archaeologist Dr Reinhard sitting with silicone bust of the Inca Ice Maiden

Dr Johan Reinhard, the US archaeologist who first found the mummy, said the bust 'makes her even more alive'

Dr Reinhard said: "I thought I'd never know what her face looked like when she was alive. Now 28 years later, this has become a reality thanks to Oscar Nilsson's reconstruction."

Dr Reinhard and Peruvian mountaineer Miguel Zárate found Juanita's frozen body at an altitude of 6,400m (21,000ft) during an expedition to the Ampato volcano.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-67215649
 
More on the Lima Wari Mummies.

Archaeologists in Peru have unearthed the burials of at least 73 people dating to around 1,000 years ago, a few hundred years before the Inca took over parts of western South America.

Each of the 73 individuals was bundled in fabric — some of it colorful — and rope. Some of the male and female bodies were buried wearing masks of carved wood and ceramic, which are known as "false heads," Krzysztof Makowski, head of archaeological research at the site and an archaeologist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, said in a post on Archeowieści blog, which is managed by the Faculty of Archaeology of the University of Warsaw. Colorful ceramics were also found in some of the graves.

The burials, discovered near Lima at the archaeological site of Pachacámac, belong to the Wari culture. They were buried near the Wari's Painted Temple and date to between 800 and 1100, a time when the Wari Empire was expanding in the region, according to the post.


The Wari are known for their well-preserved mummies, elaborate art, including intricately designed ceramics and fabrics. They also practiced human sacrifice and made use of hallucinogens during religious rituals.

The remains of an individual wearing a carved mask.


Remains of an individual wearing a carved mask. (Image credit: © PUCP Archaeology Program "Valley of Pachacámac"; (CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED))

Additionally, archaeologists found two wooden staffs near the cemetery in the remains of the nearby settlement. They were discovered in a deposit of "thorny oyster" (Spondylus princeps) shells that would have been imported from what is now Ecuador, which sits north of the Wari Empire, the blog post stated.

The two staffs have carved iconography that suggests the people at Pachacámac had some level of contact with people in the Tiwanaku kingdom, located to the south of the Wari Empire in what is now part of Peru, Bolivia and Chile.


Some of the people were buried with ceramics.


People at the archaeological site of Pachacámac were buried with ceramics. (Image credit: © PUCP Archaeology Program "Valley of Pachacámac")

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...alse-heads-unearthed-from-wari-empire-in-peru
 
Going out on a limb here.

Mexico’s lead archaeology agency has accused the Mexican city of Guanajuato of mistreating the Central American nation’s famous mummified artefacts.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said that, during recent museum renovations where the 19th-century corpses were, an arm came off of one of the bodies.

INAH announced on Monday that it would demand answers from the federal government.

The archaeology agency also intends to apply for records of the renovation, the permits, and the government workers involved.

“These events confirm that the way the museum’s collection was moved is not the correct one and that far from applying proper corrective and conservation strategies, the actions carried out resulted in damages, not only to this body,” the institute wrote in a statement.

“It appears that this situation is related to a lack of knowledge about proper protocols and the lack of training of the personnel in charge of carrying out these tasks.” ...

https://www.breakingnews.ie/world/f...y-loses-arm-in-renovation-bungle-1630774.html
 

Hans Rudel and the Relics of the Incas​

The day after tomorrow, Tuesday, December 10, it will be sixty years since, for scientific purposes, the German Hans Ulrich Rudel conquered the summit of the Llullaillaco volcano (6,739 meters above sea level), in the province of Salta. A similar feat, but for sporting purposes, had been accomplished a year earlier (12/1/52) by the Chilean mountain climbers Bión González and Juan Harseim. According to information published by El Tribuno in December 1953, Rudel left Córdoba on December 2 of that year and arrived at the La Casualidad mine on the 4th of that month. He was accompanied by his compatriots Mann Dain and Ervin Neubert, and an Argentine non-commissioned officer named Villafañe. The next day (12/5/53), the group left the sulfur establishment and headed towards the Llullaillaco volcano. He did it without major problems until, on December 9, bad weather paralyzed the ascent for a day and when there were still 600 meters to go to the top. On December 10, as the weather improved, the group continued to ascend without Neubert, as he had decided to carry out the final assault via an alternative route. In the end, Rudel, Dain and Villafañe reached the summit that day, obviously ignoring that Neubert had suffered a fatal accident. “Hours later,” says Rudel in El Tribuno, “we only became certain of the painful loss. “The “Llullay Yacú” charged a dear tribute for the violation of the proud solitude that he jealously guards.”
“Archaeological relics”
Upon returning from Llullaillaco, Hans Rudel, a former German soldier, revealed to El Tribuno that “At the top of the “Llullay-Yacú” volcano, at 6,700 meters high, archaeological relics belonging to the Inca civilization were found. The remains of the discovered hamlet would form part of surveillance posts installed by the Incas during the conquest campaign prior to that of Spain.” Later, he adds that there was no wood in the area and that those used for the construction of the discovered farmhouse “had to be transported with great effort.”
In Buenos Aires
After his stay in Salta, Rudel traveled to Buenos Aires and there he reiterated and expanded, before the Buenos Aires press, the information transcribed by El Tribuno. He reported that to reach the top of the Salta volcano for the second time he had had the collaboration and support of the government and the army through non-commissioned officer Villafañe, “an effective collaborator who shared with us the joy of reaching the top of “Llullay Yacú.” . Regarding the archaeological relics discovered, he pointed out that “According to logic they would be tombs, since the height of the place rejects the idea of the existence (permanence) of living beings. But there are reasons that allow us to assume that it was not just a mortuary place. There are traces of fire.
From that mountain platform you can see Socompa where similar ruins of housing are also found. That Yacú hamlet may well have been a strategic surveillance place, from where, through signals made with fire or smoke, what was seen from there would be communicated. In the place we find wooden roofs and we know that 200 kilometers from Yacú there is no vegetation. The truth is that there is no place of similar height where vestiges of human existence can be found,” he concluded. When the press asked if he would return to the Salta volcano, he said: “Maybe I will return to Yacú; There are many reasons to return; to continue the investigation of those archaeological relics that surely contain a valuable chapter of American history, and also, to rescue Neubert...".
The mummies of Llullailaco
The truth is that Hans Rudel's announcement about the presence of tombs at the top of Llullaillaco did not fall on deaf ears. It was recorded in the local and national press, and also in the memory of teachers or students of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Salta, the house where Don Amadeo Sirolli already cultivated and encouraged research.
archaeological tigation.
From that university, several excursions were organized to the volcano where finally, in the 1990s, the American anthropologist Johan Reinhard and the Argentine archaeologist Constanza Ceruti unearthed three
mummies, now known as “The Boy”, “The Lightning Girl” and “The Maiden”.
And it is worth remembering that thanks to the timely intervention of journalists from El Tribuno, these bodies not only remain in Salta, but were also declared by the province (Law No. 25,444) “Historical Assets.”
“National Historic Site” and the top of the volcano “National Historic Site” by the National Commission of Monuments and Historic Places of Argentina.
Today, one of the mummies is located in the Contemporary High Mountain Museum (MAAM), among the
most visited by tourists who arrive in the province of Salta. Each year, they exceed 100,000 visits and are one of the main cultural attractions that the province has.
The mysterious military man Rudel
Who was Hans Ulrich Rudel? A simple military man? An adventurer? A science lover? Possibly he was a mixture of all that, but the truth is that he was a German aviation ace of the Second World War.
World War (1939-1945). He acted on the Eastern Front (Soviet Union) where for his achievements, he achieved the highest German decoration of the Third Reich. In his official service record, he is assigned 2,530 combat missions. He was shot down about 30 times by anti-aircraft artillery but never by an airplane.
After the war he surrendered in Berlin to the American forces and was later transferred to London where
healed from a leg amputation. He remained in an English concentration camp for high-ranking officers until 1948. Released, he traveled to Argentina where he lived until 1956. Here he dedicated himself to research and mountaineering. He climbed Aconcagua and other mountains. In the '50s he conquered Llullaillaco, Salta, at the summit of which he discovered the Inca Sanctuary of Altura, where decades later the Mummies of Llullaillaco were unearthed. In 1956 he returned to his homeland. He died in December 1982.

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Hans Ulrich Rudel in Llullaillaco, Salta

Source: El Tribuno (Salta) December 8, 2013
 
Fancy climbing a mountain after having a leg amputated. He must have been very determined.
 
Exploring Chronic Arsenic Poisoning in Pre-Columbian Chilean Mummies
Abstract:

This paper explores to what extent arsenic poisoning affected pre-Columbian northern Chile populations living between Arica and Iquique cities. We hypothesize, the pre-Columbian inhabitants of this region, will show arseniasis according to modern geographic endemic levels. Continuous exposure to high levels of arsenic causes serious health problems. Today, in the Camarones valley, where many Chinchorro people lived, arsenic levels are 100 times above the 10 mg/L recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) we determined arsenic levels in a single strand of hair of 45 Arica mummies coming from ten sites (Morro 1, Morro 1/5, Yungay 372, Camarones 8, 9, 15D, and 17 and Azapa 140, Sermenia and Patillos), ranging from Chinchorro (ca. 5000–2000 years B.C.) to the Late Intermediate Period (1000–1400 years A.D.). Each hair was cleaned using distilled ionized water and placed on double sided mounting tape and ablated using a 266 nm Nd-YAG UV laser. Hair samples were also investigated for potential diagenesis.​

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Source: Arriaza, B., Amarasiriwardena, D., Cornejo, L., Standen, V., Byrne, S., Bartkus, L., & Bandak, B. (2010). Exploring chronic arsenic poisoning in pre-Columbian Chilean mummies. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37(6), 1274–1278.
 

Attachments

  • Arriaza, B., Amarasiriwardena, D., Cornejo, L., Standen, V., Byrne, S., Bartkus, L., & Bandak,...pdf
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Recent Advances in the Characterization of Hair of Mummies from the Chilean Andean Coast.
Abstract:

Two pre-Hispanic mummies from the Andean coast, belonging to a corpus of 16 mummies from the San Miguel de Azapa (Arica, Chile), were radiocarbon dated and analyzed in order to replace them in their historical context and to study the conservation state of the hair fibers and the heavy metal presence. The radiocarbon dating placed both mummies in the Formative period (1,700 years BC to 500 years AD). Global and elemental analyses were performed using scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. These combined techniques enabled to prove the good global conservation state of the mummies’ hair and to detect iron, lead, bromide and also arsenic in some cases, in significant amounts inside the hair fibers. Fourier transformed infra-red spectroscopy seemed to prove the good conservation state of the hair surface at a structural level that is why the conservation of hair proteins at a molecular level will be investigated by a proteomics approach in future work.

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Source: Fresnais, M., Richardin, P., Gimat, A., Sepúlveda, M., Leize-Wagner, E., & Charrié, A. (2015). Recent advances in the characterization of hair of mummies from the Chilean Andean coast. Forensic Science International, 249, 25–34.
 

Attachments

  • Fresnais, M., Richardin, P., Gimat, A., Sepúlveda, M., Leize-Wagner, E., & Charrié, A. (2015)....pdf
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Prehistoric Psychotropic Consumption in Andean Chilean Mummies
Abstract:

Hallucinogenic plants are often regarded as the main source of psychoactive drugs in antiquity to reach deep altered states of consciousness1,2. Many researchers believe this was particularly true during the Tiwanaku empire expansion, circa (500-1000 A.D.), along the Atacama Desert of Chile. Highly decorated snuffing tablets and tubes are often found as grave goods during this period3,4,5,6,7,8. Until now the type of drugs consumed in this paraphernalia has been unclear. From the modern city of Arica, naturally mummified human bodies with abundant hair provided a unique opportunity to test for hallucinogenic plants consumed in Andean prehistory. Analysis by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry demonstrated the presence of harmine. The Banisteriopsis vine, commonly called Ayahuasca, was the probable source.

Source: Ogalde, J., Arriaza, B. & Soto, E. Prehistoric psychotropic consumption in Andean Chilean mummies. Nat Prec (2007).
 

Attachments

  • Ogalde, J., Arriaza, B. & Soto, E. Prehistoric psychotropic consumption in Andean Chilean mumm...pdf
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Arsenic Determination in Chinchorro Mummies’ Hair by Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma-mass Spectrometry
Abstract:

Chinchorros, a fishermen culture, who lived about 7000 years ago in the coastal region of the Atacama Desert in the northern outpost of present-day Chile, practiced an intricate system of mummification of their dead. The drinking water in this region is rich with arsenic, and the mummies were found in these arsenic endemic areas. Well preserved mummy hair samples provided a unique opportunity to explore the ancient arsenic exposure of the Chinchorros by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) using a single hair strand without any elaborate sample preparation. Forty-six hair samples from mummies found in five burial sites around the Atacama Desert, Chile, were used for this study. After cleaning, hair strands were placed on mounting tape and ablated using a Nd–YAG UV laser coupled to ICP-MS. A suite of contemporary human hair from the same region with known arsenic concentrations was used for calibration of LA-ICP-MS. Satisfactory linear calibration functions were obtained for arsenic in hair. The method detection limit was 0.8 μg/g and the sample throughput for this method is ∼10 samples per hour. It appears that mummies from the Morro (Arica), Iquique and Camarones had the elevated concentration of arsenic in hair (AsH>10 μg/g) in this sub-set of samples, where Morro had the broad distribution of As concentrations.

Source: Byrne, S., Amarasiriwardena, D., Bandak, B., Bartkus, L., Kane, J., Jones, J., … Cornejo, L. (2010). Were Chinchorros exposed to arsenic? Arsenic determination in Chinchorro mummies’ hair by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Microchemical Journal, 94(1), 28–35.
 

Attachments

  • Byrne, S., Amarasiriwardena, D., Bandak, B., Bartkus, L., Kane, J., Jones, J., … Cornejo, L. (...pdf
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Severe Head Lice Infestation in an Andean Mummy of Arica, Chile
Abstract:

Pediculus humanus capitis is an ancient human parasite, probably inherited from pre-hominid times. Infestation appears as a recurrent health problem throughout history, including in pre-Columbian populations. Here, we describe and discuss the occurrence of pre-Columbian pediculosis in the Andean region of the Atacama Desert. Using a light microscope and scanning electron microscopy, we studied a highly infested Maitas Chiribaya mummy from Arica in northern Chile dating to 670–990 calibrated years A.D. The scalp and hair of the mummy were almost completely covered by nits and adult head lice. Low- and high-vacuum scanning electron microscopy revealed a well-preserved
morphology of the eggs. In addition, the excellent preservation of the nearly 1,000-yr-old adult head lice allowed us to observe and characterize the head, antennae, thorax, abdomen, and legs. Leg segmentation, abdominal spiracles, and sexual dimorphism also were clearly observed. The preservation of the ectoparasites allowed us to examine the micromorphology using scanning electron microscopy; the opercula, aeropyles, and spiracles were clearly visible. This case study provides strong evidence that head lice were a common nuisance for Andean farmers and herders. Head lice are transmitted by direct head-to-head contact; thus, this ancient farmer and herder was potentially infesting other people. The present study contributes to the body of research focusing on lice in ancient populations.

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Source: Arriaza, B., Orellana, N. C., Barbosa, H. S., Menna-Barreto, R. F. S., Araújo, A., & Standen, V. (2012). Severe Head Lice Infestation in an Andean Mummy of Arica, Chile. Journal of Parasitology, 98(2), 433–436.
 

Attachments

  • Arriaza, B., Orellana, N. C., Barbosa, H. S., Menna-Barreto, R. F. S., Araújo, A., & Standen, ...pdf
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Pulmonary Disease in a Sample of Mummies of the AZ-75 Cemetery in Northern Chile’s Azapa Valley
Abstract:

Eight naturally mummified bodies from a low valley archaeological site (Az-75) near the modern port city of Arica in extreme northern Chile were studied. They represent part of the prehistoric cultural phase locally called "Alto Ramirez", that followed the Chinchorro culture in the coastal area of northern Chile between about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 500. Radiocarbon results from this sample dates this group between 350 B.C.-A.D. 500. Anatomic findings in six bodies indicate evidence of lobar pneumonia from which they had recovered, while in two bodies pneumonia was the cause of death. Their agricultural occupation and the naturally dusty condition of the air in this desert regi?n contributed to the development of silicate pneumoconiosis. Chemical reconstruction of their diet revealed that, in contrast to their marine subsistence predecessors (Chinchorros), the Alto Ramirez people relied substantially on agropastoral subsistence strategies. However, exploitation of the conveniently available marine resources constituted about one-third of their diet. Fish tapeworm infection (Diphyllobothrium pacificum), so commonly found among the Chinchorros, was absent in these bodies, suggesting they cooked their fish. If this sample is characteristic of their entire population, the introduction of agropastoralism to this coastal area was accompanied by a high level of pulmonary infections. We have initiated study of a much larger sample of mummies from all northern Chile prehistoric populations to determine whether differences in pneumonia frequency exist in these groups.

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Source: Aufderheide, Arthur C., et al. Pulmonary Disease in a Sample of Mummies of the AZ-75 Cemetery in Northern Chile’s Azapa Valley, Chungara, Revista de Antropología Chilena, vol. 34, no. 2, 2002, pp. 253–63.
 

Attachments

  • Aufderheide, Arthur C., et al. Pulmonary Disease in a Sample of Mummies of the AZ-75 Cemetery...pdf
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Raman Spectroscopy of the Mummied Skin pf Chiribaya Mummies from Peru
Abstract:

Near infrared Fourier transform (NIR-FT) Raman spectroscopy is an analytical, nondestructive technique based on analysis of laser light reflected from the sample. It provides information about the molecular structure of the sample. NIR-FT Raman spectroscopy was employed here to investigate molecular structure of skin samples from mummified bodies from the Chiribaya culture from the Southern Peruvian desert (1500 years before present). In the spectra of dark pigmented mummy in comparison to temporary dried skin a marked loss of protein amide I (1640-1680 cm-1) and amide III (1220-1290 cm-1) band intensities was found, indicating major loss of protein or changes in the secondary protein structure. These molecular changes were less pronounced in the spectra of light pigmented mummies. Moreover a strong peak at 1300 cm-1 and an increased intensity of the peak at 2850 cm-1 was observed. The band at 1300 cm-1 is characteristic for twisting and wagging CH2 vibrations in lipids and the 2850 cm-1 band represents lipid CH stretching vibrations. These spectral changes
suggested an increased lipid content in Peruvian mummy skin (light coloured mummies) compared with contemporary skin. We ascribe this increased lipid intensity in the skin of the light coloured Peruvian mummies to embalming, by which means a better preservation is achieved.

Source: Gniadecka, Monika H., Hart Hansen, J.P., Guillen, Sonia E., & Wulf, H.C.. (2001). NIR-FT Raman Spectroscopy of the Mummied Skin pf Chiribaya Mummies from Peru. Chungará (Arica), 33(1), 95-98.
 

Attachments

  • Gniadecka, Monika H., Hart Hansen, J.P., Guillen, Sonia E., & Wulf, H.C.. (2001). NIR-FT Raman...pdf
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Seven Chinchorro Mummies and the Prehistory of Northern Chile
Abstract:

The mummification methods of an ancient maritime population on the northern coast of Chile are reviewed and the findings in an additional seven individuals are reported. Members of this cultural group, Chinchorro, practiced a selective, elaborate form of artificial mummification which persisted more than 4,000 years. Its complexity diminished with time, gradually disappearing after 2,000 B.C. One of the seven individuals herein reported is a rather poorly but spontaneously (“naturally”) preserved body that may represent the oldest mummy reported to date-about 9,000 years
old. Chemical reconstruction of their diet demonstrates that the principal component was derived from marine resources with only minor supplementation from terrestrial hunting as well as food gathering from river mouth vegetal sources, confirming the marine dependence of their adaptational strategy.


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Source: Aufderheide, A. C., Muñoz, I., & Arriaza, B. (1993). Seven Chinchorro mummies and the prehistory of northern Chile. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 91(2), 189–201.
 

Attachments

  • Aufderheide, A. C., Muñoz, I., & Arriaza, B. (1993). Seven Chinchorro mummies and the prehisto...pdf
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The Chinchorro mummies, Waiting to Return to Life
Overview

How should we approach the question: What did the Chinchorro people think they were doing when they mummified the bodies of their dead? Can we even be certain that this is a relevant question to ask of this society, which occupied the north coast of what is today Chile, beginning around 9000 BP? That is, can one necessarily assume that the long line of Chinchorro technicians and ritual specialists who crafted these mummies over a period of some 5,700 years (Arriaza, 1995, pp. 126-132) were collectively aware of and could articulate a common set of ontological principles and ideological, or what we might term 'moral', values that motivated and directed their actions in artificially mummifying their dead? Even a moment's reflection will make one aware that attempting to account for what people in the past intended by their actions, particularly when they themselves did not leave an accounting of their intentions (e.g. in written texts), is to confront ourselves in a particularly poignant way with the core ambiguity at the heart of the archaeological interpretive enterprise: since artifacts cannot speak for themselves, how might we speak for them?​

Urton, Gary. The Chinchorro mummies, Waiting to Return to Life in The Chinchorro Culture, 2014...jpg


Source: Urton, Gary. The Chinchorro mummies, Waiting to Return to Life in The Chinchorro Culture, 2014, pp.137-151
 

Attachments

  • Urton, Gary. The Chinchorro mummies, Waiting to Return to Life in The Chinchorro Culture, 2014...pdf
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Artificial Mummies from the Andes
Abstract:

In 1997 agricultural workers, turned into looters, found an intact funerary site in the cloud forest in northeastern Peru. A prompt archaeological rescue project permitted the recovery of an important collection of mummies and artifacts that are providing important insights about the archaeology of the Chachapoya people that established in this area around 900 AD up to the Inca conquest of this territory around the year 1475. The mummies recovered showed evidence of cultural practices devised and used to assure the preservation of the human bodies. Such practices are also reported for among Chinchorro and Chiribaya mummies in the Andes. A cultural interpretation of these funerary activities is discussed connecting the practice of the cult to the ancestors to the access and management of resources and territory.

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Source: Guillén SE. Artificial mummies from the Andes. Coll Antropol. 2004;28 Suppl 2:141-57.
 

Attachments

  • Guillén SE. Artificial mummies from the Andes. Coll Antropol. 2004;28 Suppl 2141-57..pdf
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Differing Treatments of the Dead between Three pre-Columbian South American Cultures, Chinchorro, Paracas and Nasca. Decapitation and Mummification
Overview:

There are many similarities among the pre-Columbian cultures of South America. Meaning an analysis between one early culture (Chinchorros) and two closely linked cultures (Paracas and Nascas) is necessary; firstly to assess similarities which are uniform through time and secondly to investigate how burial practices progress in a single cultural group. This paper will analyse each individual culture and compare the three looking for similarities and linear progressions. The first similarity investigated is the continual use of decapitation, which is consistent in all three groups​

Scott, Callum .Differing Treatments of the Dead between Three pre-Columbian South American Cul...jpg


Source: Scott, Callum .Differing Treatments of the Dead between Three pre-Columbian South American Cultures, Chinchorro, Paracas and Nascas, The Post Hole, Nº44, February 2015, pp.16-22
 

Attachments

  • Scott, Callum .Differing Treatments of the Dead between Three pre-Columbian South American Cul...pdf
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Chinchorro Twined Shrouds
Abstract:

Twined textile shrouds, beginning at least nine thousand years ago, were an integral and relatively unchanging feature of Chinchorro mummy bundles, though Chinchorro mummification practices dramatically varied through the millennia. Twined mats were used like casings, enshrouding the bodies, like a postmortem amniotic sack made from vegetal fibers. They carried the individuals to the after world protected in the belly of the earth. Chinchorro mummies beginning with the earliest dated individual, known as Acha Man, from 9,000 B.P. through and into to the next cultural phase, Formative 3,000 -1,500 B.P., were enveloped in a reed shroud. The use, materials, structures and overall forms of these textiles reveal aspects about the people who produced them and the people they protected in their journey to the after life.

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Source: Vicki Cassman, Nancy Odegaard, Bernardo Arriaza. Chinchorro Twined Shrouds, Textiles as Cultural Expressions, Proceedings of the 11th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 24–27, 2008, Honolulu, Hawaii
 

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Chinchorro Mortuary Ritual and the Thesis Against Hunter-Gatherer Religion
Overview:

Intriguing', 'exceptional', 'enigmatic', and 'remarkable' are the common stock of words employed co describe the Chinchorro culture, semi-sedentary communities of pisciculturalists that inhabited the aria Ara.ca.ma coast of Northern Chile from 9000-
3500 BP (Allison et al., 1984; Arriaza, 1995a, pp. 15-17, 1995b, 1998; Arriaza et al., 2005; Bitmann, 1982; Moseley, 1992, p. 93; Rivera, 1994; Schiappacasse, 1994; Standen, 1997; Wise, 1994). The sophisticated mummification praccices of this long-lasting cultural tradition can account for the popularity of adjectives expressing the incomparable qualities of this archaeological culture.​

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Source: Swenson, Edward.Chinchorro Mortuary Ritual and the Thesis Against Hunter-Gatherer Religion The Chinchorro Culture, 2014, pp.153-175
 

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Too Small to be Noticed? Children Mummies Reveal they Stories
Abstract.

The study of sub-adult remains, either skeletal or mummified, has been always a fairly neglected subject of bioarchaeology. Regarding mummified subadult remains, it mainly seems that fascinating stories (i.e., mountain sacrifice mummies) are usually discussed in detail. However, whilst childhood is a biological stage of human development, it is also a social construct and many past and present societies assign different values and meanings (i.e., cultural beliefs, social tensions) to the dead child. This presentation addresses the biocultural context of children mummies based on a meticulous survey of up-dated published reports. In addition, paleopathological observations are discussed, as well as the future need for systematic studies of subadult mummies (i.e., mortality patterns, maternal mortality).

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Source: Bourbou, C. (2005). Too small to be noticed? Children mummies reveal they stories. Journal of Biological Research - Bollettino Della Società Italiana Di Biologia Sperimentale, 80(1)
 

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European Admixture in Chinchorro DNA
Abstract:

It is widely held that, except for migrations from Beringia or Siberia, there was no contact between the Old World and the New World prior to the colonization of North America by the Norse in the late 10th century AD. Analyses of 23 ancient American DNA samples reveal, however, the presence of European admixture in a sample taken from a Chinchorro mummy of northern Chile dated to 3972–3806 BC. This discovery implies a more complex history of the peopling of the Americas than previously accepted.

Source: Smith Robert. European Admixture in Chinchorro DNA, bioRxiv, 01 May 2017
 

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Overview of the Inca Frozen Mummies from Mount Lullaillaco (Argentina)
Abstract:

Three frozen bodies belonging to a young woman and two infants were found at an elevation of 6.715 meters (22,100 ft.) above sea level, on the summit of volcano Llullaillaco, in the Andes of northwestern Argentina. The mummies were discovered (and recovered for ulterior preservation and study) during scientific excavations codirected by the author of this paper at the highest archaeological site in the world. The mummies belonged to children that were sacrificed five hundred years ago, under the rule of the Inca Empire, as part of a state-controlled ceremony known as capacocha. According to the historical sources written during the Hispanic conquest, the Inca human sacrifices were performed in response to natural catastrophes, the death of the Inca emperor, or to propitiate the mountain spirits that grant fertility. The selected children and the young acllas or “chosen women” were taken in processions to the highest summits of the Andes to be sacrificed. They were believed to become messengers into the world of the mountain deities and the spirits of the ancestors. Numerous interdisciplinary studies were conducted on the frozen mummies between 1999 and 2004, a time span during which the “Llullaillaco children” were preserved at the Catholic University of Salta (UCASAL). These studies included radiological evaluations by conventional X-rays and CT scans, which provided information about condition and pathology of the bones and internal organs; as well as dental studies oriented to the estimation of the ages of the three children at the time of death. Ancient DNA studies and hair analysis were also performed in cooperation with academic institutions in the United States and Europe, including the Institute of Bioscience at the George Mason University, the University of Bradford and the Laboratory of Biological Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. In this paper we focus on the frozen bodies of mount Llullaillaco as objects for bioarchaeological and medical research, providing an overview on the paleopathology of the mummies that are among the best preserved known to date.

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Source: Ceruti, Maria Constanza; Overview of the Inca frozen mummies from Mount Lullaillaco (Argentina); Journal of Glacial Archaeology; 1; 1; 1-2014; 79-97
 

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Mummy False Heads from Pachacamac and the Ontology of the Dead in Ancient Peru
Abstract:

False heads have been a recurring accessory for Andean mummies since the Middle Horizon (ca AD750-1000). Made of ceramic, wood, or cloth, they show schematic human features and are placed on the funerary bundles that contain the bodies of the deceased. From a corpus of nearly 80 pieces from the Pachacamac site (excavations and museum collections), a typology is proposed, accompanied by a chronology based on a series of absolute dates. False heads also have recurring characteristics that allow us to understand their particular function. It appears that these objects are associated with certain important ancestors, whom their descendants worshiped. They were active agents, participants in the ritual traditions discussed ethnohistorically. The false head lays a crucial role in the relationship between the dead and the living and sheds light on the specific ontological position of the dead in the ancient Andes.

EEckhout, P. (2020). Mummy false heads from Pachacamac and the ontology of the dead in ancient...jpg

Source: Eeckhout, P. (2020). Mummy false heads from Pachacamac and the ontology of the dead in ancient Peru. World Archaeology, 52(5), 685–706.
 

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  • EEckhout, P. (2020). Mummy false heads from Pachacamac and the ontology of the dead in ancient...pdf
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Common and Unexpected Findings in Mummies from Ancient Egypt and South America
Abstract:

Computed tomography (CT) has proved to be a valuable investigative tool for mummy research and is the method of choice for examining mummies. It allows for noninvasive insight, especially with virtual endoscopy, which reveals detailed information about the mummy’s sex, age, constitution, injuries, health, and mummification techniques used. CT also supplies three-dimensional information about the scanned object. Mummification processes can be summarized as “artificial,” when the procedure was performed on a body with the aim of preservation, or as “natural,” when the body’s natural environment resulted in preservation. The purpose of artificial mummification was to preserve that person’s morphologic features by delaying or arresting the decay of the body. The ancient Egyptians are most famous for this. Their use of evisceration followed by desiccation with natron (a compound of sodium salts) to halt putrefaction and prevent rehydration was so effective that their embalmed bodies have survived for nearly 4500 years. First, the body was cleaned with a natron solution; then internal organs were removed through the cribriform plate and abdomen. The most important, and probably the most lengthy, phase was desiccation. After the body was dehydrated, the body cavities were rinsed and packed to restore the body’s former shape. Finally, the body was wrapped. Animals were also mummified to provide food for the deceased, to accompany the deceased as pets, because they were seen as corporal manifestations of deities, and as votive offerings. Artificial mummification was performed on every continent, especially in South and Central America.

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Source: Jackowski, C., Bolliger, S., & Thali, M. J. (2008). Common and Unexpected Findings in Mummies from Ancient Egypt and South America as Revealed by CT. RadioGraphics, 28(5), 1477–1492.
 

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  • Jackowski, C., Bolliger, S., & Thali, M. J. (2008). Common and Unexpected Findings in Mummies ...pdf
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