The mystery of the Tarim mummies

Tarim mummies are an incomprehensible mystery of the ancient world and one of the most important archaeological finds of the XX century. These on wonder well-preserved human remains were discovered in the arid salt sands of the Takla Makan desert, which is part of the Tarim basin in western China.

Discovered in those far corners of the body dated to large time span: 1800 BC e. – 400 g. e. However more all scientists were struck by the fact that the mummies had the features of a Caucasian race. Apparently in Western China there were tribes that were mysterious way disappeared 2000 years ago. Mummy Discoverer – Swedish Scientist Sven Hedin at the beginning of the 20th century studied the general history of the Silk Road – networks of ancient roads that once led from China to Turkey and beyond – to Europe. The bodies were delivered to European museums for later study, but lack of necessary equipment and funding became the reason that they were soon forgotten.

The riddle of the Tarim mummiesA photo from open sources

In 1978, the Chinese archaeologist Wang Binhua in the burial ground of Kizilchok, or Red Hill, in the north-east of Central Asia Xinyang Province, discovered 113 mummified bodies. Later most of the bodies were transported to the museum of the city of Urumki. Behind Chinese and Central Asian archaeologists have spent the past 25 years excavations and carried out large-scale research work in this area, discovering more than 300 mummies.

In 1987, professor of Chinese and Indo-Iranian literature and University of Pennsylvania religion Victor Mayr led a group of tourists through the museum of Urumka and going up to the mummies found by Wang Binhua, with surprised to find that they are all dressed in dark purple woolen clothes and shoes made of felt and have the signs of a Caucasian race: brown or blond hair, elongated noses and skulls, slender bodies and large deep set eyes.

The political situation in China in those days did not allow Mayr to research these amazing finds, and in 1993 he returned with a group of Italian geneticists working on a study “ice man”. Scientists went to Red Hill, where Wang Binhua excavated to exhume mummies, reburied due to lack of space in the Urumq Museum. Analysis DNA samples confirmed that these are mummies of Caucasians, after which Mayr stated that, most likely, the oldest mummies were representatives of the first white settlers in the Tarim basin.

A photo from open sources

The oldest mummy found in Western China, nicknamed Loulan beauty: this is a well-preserved Chinese body archaeologists found in 1980 near the ancient city of Loulan, in the northeastern part of the Takla Makan desert. Woman 5 2 feet, who died at the age of 40 about 4,800 years ago, possessed features characteristic of the Caucasian race (including protruding nose bridge, high cheekbones, light brown hair that has been gathered and hidden under felt headgear).

The body was wrapped in a woolen shroud, leather legs boots, and next to him in the tomb lay a comb and a graceful straw basket with grains of wheat. Next expedition to Loulan region, organized in 2003 by the archaeological Institute of Xinyang Province. allowed to make a number of new important discoveries. Excavations were carried out 110 feet from the ancient city. Loulan, in the burial ground, which was a mound of sand 25 feet high. Not far from the center of the mound was discovered quite an interesting find – another amazing female mummy.

A photo from open sources

She lay in a coffin, shaped like a boat, wrapped in a woolen blanket, in a felt hat on his head and leather shoes on legs. Near the body were: a mask painted in red face, jade bracelet, leather bag, woolen loincloth and ephedra sticks. Ephedra – officinalis plant, shrub, used by the inhabitants of Iran in the Zoroastrian rituals. Consequently, between these regions could exist some connection.

Later, another group was found in the Tarim basin. mummies – the bodies of a man, three women and a child – called Cherchen mummies. The four bodies of adults date back to 1000 n e. Their clothes were made in the same colors, and around red or blue cords were tied to their heads, which apparently indicated close kinship. The man from the burial, or a Cherchen man, over 6 feet tall, died at the age of 50. At he had long, light brown, braided hair thin beard and lots of tattoos on the face.

A photo from open sources

He wore a purplish-red robe, and nearby lay at least 10 hats of various styles. Like a Cherchen man, on the face of one of the female mummies had many tattoos. Female 6 feet tall with light brown hair braided in two long braids, wearing a red dress and white boots buckskin.

Three-month-old baby with blue felt buried with adults cap on his head, whose eyes covered blue stones. Near the body of the baby was a bowl of cow horn and a bottle for feeding made from the udder of a sheep. The family is presumably dead. from some kind of epidemic.

Most of all, in these finds, archaeologists were struck by the amazing safety, brightness of colors and the European type of clothing on these people. Professor of Linguistics and Archeology at Western College in Los Angeles Dr. Elizabeth Barber conducted a detailed study textiles found in the Tarim basin and found striking resemblance to the Celtic tartan, which is used in northwestern part of Europe. The researcher put forward a version about that the material found in the graves of Tarim mummies, and European tartan are of common origin. According to existing According to evidence, he appeared in the Caucasus Mountains at least 5000 years ago.

A photo from open sources

Among the numerous items of clothing are 15 graves of Chinese mummies were discovered: bathrobes, hats, skirts, raincoats, tartan trousers and striped woolen stockings. In the Subishi burial ground located in the northern part of the Silk Road, three female mummies were discovered, dating back to 500-400 BC e., in very high speckled caps, for which they were called witches from Subishi.

Who were these Europeans and what did they do in China? Area finds are so wide, and their dating covers such a large the period of time that the existence of one tribe cannot out of the question. They, apparently, are representatives of several groups of migrations that moved east from different territories for thousands of years or more.

Some sources mention the inhabitants of the river basin Tarim (the territory where the mummies were found) that could become the key to unraveling the origin of at least some of the mummies. In chinese sources of the I millennium BC. e. refers to a group of “white people with long hair, which they called Bai. They lived on China’s northwestern borders, and the Chinese apparently bought from them jade.

A photo from open sources

It is known that Yuezhi lived about this territory, about which in 645 BC e. mentions Chinese author Guan Zhong. Yuezhi delivered Chinese jade, which they mined in nearby Yuzhi Mountains (Gansu Province). After the devastating raids of the nomadic Hun tribes, most of the Yuezhi moved to Transoxiana (part Central Asia, covering the lands of modern Uzbekistan and southwestern Kazakhstan), and later to the north of India, where they created Kushan Empire. Portraits of kings yuezhi on coins pushed some researchers on the idea that it could be people Caucasian type.

The Toharas were another nation that inhabited these lands. Indo-European Western tribes (linguistic a group that includes most of the European, Indian and Iranian languages). Some scholars believe that Yuezhi and Tohara, in entities, the same tribes, called differently.

However, to date, this version has not been confirmed facts. The territory in the west of China, where mummies were discovered Caucasians, namely the north-eastern part of the Tarim basin and lands east of it near Lake Lobnor correspond area of ​​distribution of Tochar languages ​​in the future. In chinese sources say that the Tokhars were light or red hair and blue eyes, and on murals of the 9th century. in the Buddhist caves, located in the Tarim basin, depicts people with bright pronounced features of the Caucasian race.

It is known that the Tochars did not leave the pool after the Hun attack Tarim River, and later borrowed from the population of North India Buddhism. Tokhar culture existed at least until the VIII century., until they assimilated with the Turkic tribes of the Uyghurs, come from the eastern Asian steppes.

Although in the Tarim basin, along with the mummies, they were never found Tocharian texts, one place of residence and Tocharian drawings, depicting people of the Caucasian race, testify with a large a fraction of the likelihood that at least some the mummified inhabitants of this region were the ancestors of the Tochars.

Really all these people crossed Europe and half of Asia in order to settle in a waterless desert in western China? Judging by remnants of textiles whose origin is associated with the Caucasian tartan from the south of Russia, and linguistics data that point to that Indo-European languages ​​originate in the same region, Migration began in the Caucasus Mountains region in ancient times.

Dr. Elizabeth Barber Hypothesizes Two Waves migrations that began on the northwest coast of Black Sea – the alleged ancestral home of the Indo-European population. First migration – western, as a result of which Celtic and other European civilizations. Other migration is related to ancestors the Tochars who moved east to Central Asia, and settled in the Tarim basin. Thus, Tarim mummified finds cast doubt on the theory of the isolated development of western and eastern civilization.

B. Hoton

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