4,500-year-old mummies discovered in Chile

June 28th, 2008 - 11:41 am ICT by IANS  

Santiago, June 28 (IANS) Eight perfectly preserved mummies, believed to be some 4,500 year old, were found by workers engaged in a restoration project in Chile’s far north, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Saturday quoting media report. “These mummies date back to between 2,000 B.C. and 5,000 B.C.” archaeologist Calogero Santoro told the daily El Mercurio.

The mummies are remains of individuals belonging to the Chinchorro culture, which was one of the first to practice mummification and the perfect condition in which the mummies were found is indicative of their advanced techniques.

Three of the eight skeletons have been kept on the site in the Morro de Arica site for visitors to see while the other five were taken to Tarapaca University in northern Chile, where other mummies found in previous years are preserved.

Morro de Arica is konwn for its mummies. Several hundred of them, some as old as 7,000 years, were discovered in 1983 in the area.

In 2005, University of Tarapaca archaeologists found 50 Chinchorro mummies, dating back to 4,000 B.C., during the demolition of a house.

The unusually large number of mummies found in the sector indicate that one of the oldest Chinchorro cemetries may have been located there. The Chinchorros are presumed to have died out or migrated in the first century A. D.

The mummies found in northern Chile date back even earlier than the ones discovered in Egypt, making them one of the world’s oldest.

The Council of National Monuments of Chile seeks to have the mummies declared as archaeological patrimony of humanity by the Unesco.

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