Mysterious Bronze Age Europoid Mummies in Western China

“[Recent DNA research) has shown that the Y chromosome haplotypes are ... a western European kind of haplotype.”

- Victor Mair, Ph.D., Prof. of Chinese Language and Literature, Univ. of Pennsylvania

 

Urumqi in Xinjiang Province of western China marks the town northeast of the Tarim River Basin that extends around the huge Taklamakan Desert to Loulan and Cherchen where hundreds of Bronze Age Europoid mummies have been found. Most recent DNA studies to be published in March 2010 indicate the male Y chromosomes are western European.
Urumqi in Xinjiang Province of western China marks the town northeast of the Tarim River Basin that extends around the huge Taklamakan Desert to Loulan and Cherchen where hundreds of Bronze Age Europoid mummies have been found. Most recent DNA studies to be published in March 2010 indicate the male Y chromosomes are western European.
Tarim River basin on the northern edge of the vast Taklamakan Desert of western China north of Tibet is the site of more than 400 light-skinned, fair-haired mummies dated in age from the Bronze Age about 4,000 years ago (1,800 B. C.) to 1,500 years ago (500 A. D.). The mystery remains: who were they, where exactly were they from and why were so many mummified and buried in the cold, dry, salty Tarim Basin?  Urumqi (upper right red dot) museums in Xinjiang province have many mummy remains and tools. Map by K. Musser.
Tarim River basin on the northern edge of the vast Taklamakan Desert of western China north of Tibet is the site of more than 400 light-skinned, fair-haired mummies dated in age from the Bronze Age about 4,000 years ago (1,800 B. C.) to 1,500 years ago (500 A. D.). The mystery remains: who were they, where exactly were they from and why were so many mummified and buried in the cold, dry, salty Tarim Basin?  Urumqi (upper right red dot) museums in Xinjiang province have many mummy remains and tools. Map by K. Musser.
Red circles mark Urumchi/Urumqi at top; Loulan (middle) site of beautiful, blond-haired woman; and Cherchen (bottom) the site of several well-preserved and fair-haired mummies that include a tall man with a yellow rayed-spiral on his face; a woman in a vivid red gown or robe; and an infant with blue stones over its eyes. The black arrows passing Cherchen mark the path of Hungarian archaeologist Aurel Stein in the early 20th Century.
Red circles mark Urumchi/Urumqi at top; Loulan (middle) site of beautiful, blond-haired woman; and Cherchen (bottom) the site of several well-preserved and fair-haired mummies that include a tall man with a yellow rayed-spiral on his face; a woman in a vivid red gown or robe; and an infant with blue stones over its eyes. The black arrows passing Cherchen mark the path of Hungarian archaeologist Aurel Stein in the early 20th Century.

February 25, 2010  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - At the beginning of the 20th century, European explorers who traveled to Central Asia looking for antiquities reported finding fair-skinned and fair-haired mummies that were well-preserved in the very dry, salty Tarim Basin of western China. The Tarim Basin covers 150,000 square miles on the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert. That vast desert is crossed at its northern and southern edges by two branches of the ancient Silk Road trade route where travelers tried to avoid crossing the barren sand dunes. In the language spoken by the local Uighur people in Xinjiang region, Taklamakan means: “You come in and never come out.”

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