Mysterious Mummies of China
Small Fragments with Big Implications
|Mysterious Mummies of China
Small Fragments with Big Implications
year-old mummies with Caucasian features in China
had technologies that were too advanced for the time.
Almost 1/3 of the
corpses found had died before reaching adulthood. Investigators found
within the vicinity of some of the corpses artifacts that mystified
Small fragments with big implications, bronze.
The Tocharians were an Indo-European people and the easternmost branch
of Indo-European culture.
Despite their eventual location in the Tarim
Basin of Xinjiang province in western China, their cultural and
linguistic links to Central and Northern Europe are stronger than to the
neighbouring Indo-Iranians, a parallel branch of Indo-Europeans who
dominated the Eurasian steppes until the Mongol and Turkic expansion of
the Middle Ages.
Around the same time, in the 9th century, the Tarim
Basin was overrun by Uyghur Turks, who destroyed the Tocharian people
and assimilated their remnants.
The Tocharians are frequently
associated with a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin, which
date from 1900 BCE to 200 CE.
Physical anthropologists propose the
movement of at least two Europoid physical types and associate these
types with the Tocharian and Iranian (Saka) branches of the
Indo-European language family, respectively.
It is the Afanasevo
culture to which Mallory & Mair trace the earliest Bronze Age
settlers of the Tarim and Turpan basins.
The Afanasevo culture (c.
3500-2500 BCE) displays cultural and genetic connections with the
Indo-European-associated cultures of the Eurasian Steppe yet predates
the specifically Indo-Iranian-associated Andronovo culture (c. 2000-900
BCE) enough to isolate the Tocharian languages from Indo-Iranian
linguistic innovations like satemisation.
Within this culture, over 90%
of the Bronze Age period mtDNA haplogroups and Y-DNA haplogroups were of
European origin and a study determined that at least 60% of the
individuals overall (out of the 26 Bronze and Iron Age human remains'
samples of the study that could be tested) had light hair and blue or
The Roman historian Pliny the Elder reports a curious
description of the Seres (in the territories of northwestern China)
made by an embassy from Taprobane (Ceylon) to Emperor Claudius, saying
that they "exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue
eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking", suggesting
they may be referring to the ancient Indo-European populations of the
The new finds are also forcing a reexamination of
old Chinese books that describe historical or legendary figures of great
height, with deep-set blue or green eyes, long noses, full beards, and
red or blond hair. Scholars have traditionally scoffed at these
accounts, but it now seems that they may be accurate.
China's Tocharian Mummies
Silent Witnesses of a Forgotten Past
European Mummies Of China - Someone who knows the past, is better able to understand the course of
Unbelievable documentary about the Tocharian mummies which have been
excavated in North-Western China.
Four thousand years ago, a community lived in the Tarim Basin -- in what
is now the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China -- in the heart of
The Tarim Basin people thrived there for at least 1,500 years.
indications that they survived as a culture even into the second
Then they disappeared.
Now their remains are being reclaimed from the sands, and the people of
that extinct nation are challenging scientists and scholars to fathom
who they may have been, and -- if an answer can be found -- where, in
prehistory, they came from.
According to sweeping physical evidence, they were not Chinese. They
were not even Asian in the present day meaning of the word.
They were Tocharians; a Caucasian people and, more importantly,