Asia

Tarim Basin mummies

Published 2:18 PM ET, Wed October 27, 2021
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Hundreds of mummified bodies have been found across the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang, northwestern China, that date back to around 4,000 years ago. This is an aerial view of one site called Xiaohe Cemetery. Wenying Li, Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
The ancestry of the mummies has long been debated among researchers. Wenying Li, Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
The dry desert air means the bodies are extraordinarily preserved, with hair and facial features clearly visible. Wenying Li, Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
Another aspect of this enigmatic group is that they were buried in boats with oars. The coffin is covered with a cattle hide. Wenying Li, Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
A DNA analysis of the remains suggests that mummies were not newcomers to the region and were descended from Ice Age hunter gatherers. Wenying Li, Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology