Cherchen Man

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Cherchen Man or Chärchän Man or Ur-David is a member of the group known as Tarim mummies. His naturally-mummified remains were discovered in Tomb 2 at the cemetery of Zaghunluq near the town of Qiemo (Chärchän) in the Taklamakan Desert of north-west China.

The mummy is an adult male who is believed to have died around 1000 BCE and is likely to have been around the age of fifty at the time of his death.[1][2][3] He like the rest of the Tarim Mummies are famous for their European like facial features and clothing[1][3][4]. It is believed that the Cherchen man like the other Tarim mummies are evidence of the Afanasevo culture's descent from the Indo-European language speakers who migrated into the Russian Steppes around 3300 BCE.[4] It is not known approximately what his height was as estimates range from around 165 cm (5' 5'') all the way up to 198 cm (6' 6'').[3] His hair was "reddish brown flecked with grey, framing high cheekbones", he had an "aquiline" "long nose, full lips and a ginger beard", and was wearing "a red twill tunic" and leggings with a pattern resembling "tartan."[5] Yellow and purple spiral and sun patterns on the mummies face have been misidentified as tattoos in some sources; they are actually an ochre paint.[1]

Inside of tomb 2 there was a total of four adult mummies: one male and three female. Nearby there was a separate grave containing the mummy of an infant who had died at an age of around three months old[1]. The bodies of two of the females were significantly more decomposed than the other people in the tomb due to the fact that they were placed directly on the dirt ground. The Cherchen man the other female were placed on multiple branches and had small mats underneath them to act as mats which reduced the moisture in the tomb adding to their preservation.[1] Like other mummies from the Tarim, Cherchen Man was buried in a tomb made of mud bricks topped with reeds and brush. The Cherchen man also appears to have a had a piece of wood holding his legs up in the bent position which would have increased the amount of air circulation, slowing the rate of decomposition[1]. The Cherchen man and his companions were natural mummies meaning that unlike the well known Egyptian Mummies they were mummies by their ambient environment as opposed to intentional human practices. Other such remains have also been recovered at sites throughout the Tarim, including Qäwrighul, Yanghai, Shengjindian, Shanpula (Sampul), and Qizilchoqa.

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  1. ^ a b c d e f Kamberi, Dolkun (January 1994). "The Three Thousand Year old Charchan Man Preserved at Zaghunlug" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers.
  2. ^ Skinner, Tomás. "The Mummies of Zaghunluq Cemetery: Dress, Appearance and Identity". Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Mallory, JP; Mair, Victor H. (2000). The Tarim Mummies. London: Thames & Hudson. p. 190. ISBN 0-500-05101-1.
  4. ^ a b Anthony, David. "Tracking the Tarim Mummies". Archaeology. Vol.54 Issue 2.
  5. ^ Bernstein, Richard (13 January 1999). "BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Silent Giants as Guides on an Ancient Thoroughfare". Retrieved 26 August 2017.