Breaking News: Lost Civilization Masters Ancient Mummification Technique 2,000 Years Before Egypt.

The Egyptians were famous for their mummies. However, they were not the first to discover the recipe for mummification.Those are the Chinchorro people in the Atacama desert (Chile). 7,000 years ago, they discovered a way to preserve ᴅᴇᴀᴅ bodies. 

The oldest mummiesThe Atacama Desert, the driest place in the world, has the world’s oldest mummies. The first inhabitants of Egypt appeared around 3150 BC. Meanwhile, the Chinchorro people have appeared since 7000 BC and developed the technique of mummification from 5000 BC.

“The Chinchorro were the first people to inhabit northern Chile and southern Peru. They explored the Atacama desert,” said Bernardo Arriaza, a physical anthropologist at the University of Tarapacá.In the region of Arica and Parinacota, hundreds of remains of Chinchorro people have been found from about 5450 BC to 890 BC. In 2021, this cemetery was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list for its great archaeological value.

Mauricio Uribe, an archaeologist at the University of Chile, said the Chinchorro people preserve the bodies of their loved ones to give them eternal life. For the Egyptians, mummification was ᴀssociated with the concept of traveling to another world.

The custom of disappearingThe Chinchorro people live by fishing and hunter-gatherers. They used to live near the Camarones River, which contains high levels of arsenic. Arsenic is an extremely toxic substance, which exists in water bodies or deep underground. This is the cause of many poisoning cases of the ancient Chinchorro people.

Bernardo Arriaza says the first Chinchorro communities that settled near the Camarones River were chronically poisoned by arsenic. This leads to a high rate of perinatal mortality (fetal mortality).

The grief and desire to prolong the life of their loved ones forever led them to devise a way to embalm. In fact, the first mummies of the Chinchorro people (dated 5,000-3,000 BC) were 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥ren, fetuses, infants. Their organs were removed and replaced with clay and other materials.

A 2017 study by the University of Chile showed that genetic adaptations of the Chinchorro people evolved over time, especially in areas with high arsenic levels.

The results showed that 68% of the current population in the Camarones had a variant of the AS3MT enzyme in their genome. This variant allows them to easily remove arsenic through urine.

The high adaptation to arsenic also partly explains the mummification practice of the Chinchorro people, which gradually disappeared in the 1st millennium BC.

How the Chinchorro mummified bodiesThere are 2 popular techniques are “black mummy” and “red mummy”. The first technique appeared from 5000 BC to 3000 BC.

According to Mummipedia , the ancient Chinchorro would cut off the head, arms, and legs of the ᴅᴇᴀᴅ and remove the organs. The ᴅᴇᴀᴅ body is then heated by introducing H๏τ coals into the hollow body.

Next, let it dry and remove the meat from the bones. The skull is cut in half. They stuffed some material into the skull and sewed it up. The hollow body is also stuffed with fur, vegetable fibers, clay … and covered with black ash and manganese.

Finally, they put on wigs and black masks for the mummy.

The similarity is that the mummy is also stuffed with materials to keep its original shape. Finally, they sewed it up to form a complete mummy and then covered it with red paint.

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