Skip to comments.The Curse Of The Red-Headed Mummy
Posted on 12/12/2003 9:21:21 PM PST by blam
click here to read article
I liked it so much, I've posted it again.
BTW, I agree with the information he/she posted.
Special to ABCNEWS.com
Feb., 1999, by Elizabeth Barber
His face is at rest, eyes closed and sunken, lips slightly parted; his hands lie in his lap, while his knees and head are tilted up like a man who has just drifted off to sleep in his hammock. Visitors tend to tiptoe and lower their voices.
A two-inch beard covers his face. Here and there white hairs glint among the yellow-brown, betraying his age somewhere past 50. He would have been an imposing figure in life, for he once stood six feet six inches tall. So writes Elizabeth Barber of the one known as Cherchen Man.
Clad in finely woven woolens, he almost looks as if he could rise out of bed and begin another day in what must have been a difficult life. Cherchen Man has been dead for about 3,000 years. Though his lips no longer move, he speaks volumes about the first settlers in a bleak desert along Chinas fabled Silk Road. Until a few years ago, he was the last man scholars would have expected to find there.
UNCOVERING AN UNEXPECTED PAST
Cherchen Man, along with dozens of other perfectly preserved mummies found in Turkestan, in western China, has stood archaeology on it's ears.
Although the mummies have been known to exist for decades, no one paid them much attention until 1987 when Victor Mair, professor of Chinese studies at the University of Pennsylvania, came across them while leading a group of tourists through an obscure museum in the town of Urumchi (also spelled Urumqi).
Mair was stunned, and not just because their clothing was perfectly preserved. The mummies, he believed, were Caucasian, with high-bridged noses, deep, round eye sockets, and fair hair.
How had they come to be there, so long before any Westerners were thought to have crossed the Ural Mountains into Asia? The implications are profound, suggesting that Westerners may have influenced Chinese culture, which had been thought to arise independently of the West.
Cherchen Man was found in a tomb with three women and a baby. How had they died? Why did they settle in a desert so severe that many have died traveling from one oasis to the next? Were they really from the West?
Mair assembled a team of experts to see what the mummies could tell us. Among them was Elizabeth Barber, professor of archaeology and linguistics at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
For Barber, author of a recently released book, The Mummies of Urumchi, it was an opportunity she had been preparing for ever since she learned to weave at her mothers knee. Barber and Irene Good, another team member, are among the worlds leading experts on prehistoric textiles.
The stacks of clothing buried with the mummies were unlike anything seen before. It just blew me away, Barber says.
For 13 years, Barber had rummaged through Europe from England to Iran, examining the oldest textiles she could find. Outside of Egypt, that consisted of just thumbnail-size fragments.
Even those tiny samples yielded clues about the laborious chore of creating clothing. She learned what kinds of looms they used to weave which patterns, and what raw materials they used.
So when she arrived in Urumchi, she came with a wealth of understanding, but nothing had prepared her for what she saw.
It was like handling 19th century fabric, she says. The mummies had been buried in a salt basin, and the salt kept the material dry.
CLOTHING WAS NON-NATIVE WOOL
The first thing that struck me was that it was all sheeps wool, and that really surprised me. I had expected most of it to be plant fiber, she says.
Sheep are'nt indigenous to that part of the world, so those early travelers must have brought sheep with them from the west. The fabric patterns must have been woven on looms similar to those used to create the scraps she found in eastern Europe.
That, along with other clues grains of wheat were found in some tombs, and wheat is not indigenous to the region was clear evidence that Cherchen Man was a product of Europe. So, too, were less well-preserved mummies of others found throughout the area, some of whom had died 1,000 years earlier.
Why had they gone to that area, which even today is so desolate that few live there? How had they died?
A Late Addition to a Sealed Tomb Unlike other tombs in the area, Cherchen Mans final resting place was not designed to be reopened, Barber says. He was buried with the three women, one of whom is presumed to be his wife, and the tomb was sealed.
A few weeks later, the babys body, also well preserved, was placed above the main burial chamber. The baby, about 3 months old, was wrapped in a bright red shroud. Alongside was a sheep udder fashioned into a nursing bottle.
It is clear that they (other members of the community) tried to keep the baby alive after the mother and father had died, Barber says, so this wasnt a case of killing the entire family so all could accompany the man into the next life.
None of the mummies show any sign of violence. They apparently died, Barber surmises, from an epidemic. Still unknown, however, is why they were there in the first place.
CIVILIZATION IN CHERCHEN MANS DAY
When the earliest of these Central Asian corpses, nestled into the sands of Tarim Basin, about 2000 B.C. or a little after, the pyramids of Egypt had already stood for half a millennium, but the best-known pharaohs, Ramesses II and King Tut were rather more than five hundred years into the future.
Next door in Mesopotamia, the Sumerians first inventors of the art of writing were already dying out and Hammurabi was soon to set up his famous law code; the Greeks and Romans had not yet even arrived in Greece and Italy from the northeast.
On the other hand, Ice Man, the Late Stone Age body found in 1991 by hikers in the Alps, had died well over a thousand years before.
Europe and the Near East were living in the Bronze Age, a period characterized by the use of soft metals. To the east the Chinese had not yet learned to use metal but were already busy domesticating the precious silkworm that would one day lend its name to the famous caravan route of Inner Asia, the Silk Road, along whose stretches the mummies have been found.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.
Can't wait till he digs up stuff about the seven and eight foot giants with redhair and we can start talking about Goliath...
Actually, my point was gigantic redhead men have been found mummified; you're entitled to your opinion why that hasn't been publicized.
When these giants are discussed it will further validate the Bible and creation. Blam is superlative at uncovering this material, and it will be great when he uncovers that.
What puzzles you? I believe they were refugees from the Black Sea Flood (Noah's Flood?) in 5,600BC.
"The Tarim Basin mummies are about 4000 years old. Celtic settlements in Salzberg and all that is later."
Some of the mummies are even older and they spoke the extinct Indo-European language 'Tocharian.'
Barber, in her book, The Mummies Of Urumchi, states that the fabrics, material, style and manufacturing technique are exactly the same as those discovered at Hallstadt, Austria. The folks at Hallstadt are much younger though
The best book I've found on this subject is one by Victor Mair and JP Malloy titled, The Tarim Mummies.
During the 10th century, among over twenty Shiwei tribes, there would be another interesting name called 'Huangdou Shiwei', i.e., yellow head Shiwei. Xin Wu Dai Shi, citing the account of a Chinese (Hu Qiao) taken prisoner of war by Khitans, mentioned that there were a statelet called Yujuelu with 'Maodou' (hairy head) people to the northwest of Shiwei and to the north of the Kirghiz people. Also to the northeast of Shiwei would be another group of 'Maoshou' or hairy head people.
Genghis Khan was rumored to have carried red hair and green eyes. Paul Ratchnevsky quoted the contemporary Chinese Zhao Hong as saying that Genghis Khan differed from other Tartars in that he was tall and had long beard, and quoted Marco Polo as saying that Khubilai did have black hair but fair complexion 'ringed with red'. Rashid ad-Din, in 'Collected Chronicles', said that Genghis Khan was amazed to see that Khubilai had black hair while the rest of their family had red hair and said his grandson must have taken 'his old uncles' features. Genghis Khan belonged to the Borjigid clan which was a branch of the Kiyats to which the Jurchens (Jurchids), Changsi'ut and the Kiyat-Sayar also belonged. The importance of the Borjigids lies in the legend that after the death of Dobun-mergen, the alleged ancestress Alan-ko bore Bodunchar after being visited by a strange 'golden glittering man'. Rashid ad-Din alluded to a foreign origin of the visitor and described him as having red hair and blue-green eyes.
Paul Ratchnevsky speculated that the mysterious visitor could be a Kirghiz since the Kirghiz people were said to be tall and possessed red hair and green eyes. Note that Rashid ad-Din's writings came from secondary sources and rumors and that Yuan Shi (History of Yuan Dynasty) only recorded that Bodunchar had grey eyes against the chestnut-colored eyes of his brothers and half-brothers. Nothing is mentioned of hair or skin of Bodunchar or Genghis Khan."
Mega-thanx blam. What I read years ago had pictures of these seven to eight foot tall mummies, so well preserved they looked living. These, I believe, were the ones buried.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.