Scientists uncover the mystery of the Xiaohe people, mysterious mummies from the Chinese desert

In the 1990s, on the territory of the Tarim Basin inChina archaeologists have found an ancient cemetery with mummies. Thanks to the arid climate, the remains are well preserved - scientists were even able to note that the buried people had long noses and dark hair. The dead were dressed in luxurious clothes for those times, and next to them were bronze artifacts and remains of cattle and food. The people lying in the cemetery were buried between 2000 BC and 200 AD. For many years, scientists could not say for sure who exactly these bodies belong to. There was even an assumption that these were immigrants from the territory of Russia, but this version turned out to be incorrect. Now scientists know the exact answer.

Ancient cemetery in Tarim Trench

Interesting fact: technological progress has reached such a levelthat today scientists are even able to recreate the faces of people mummified 2,000 years ago. For example, researchers recently restored the appearance of the mummies of three 25-year-old residents of Ancient Egypt. Read more in this article.

What is the Tarim Basin?

Tarim Basin is an arid areawith an area of ​​906,500 square kilometers, which is located in the Xinjiang region of China. In fact, it is a dry sea with small oases and river corridors. They are fed by runoff from the high mountains that surround the depression. According to scientists, people lived in this place as much as 40 thousand years ago. For example, there is evidence of the habitation of Tochars - representatives of the people from Central Asia who spoke the Tocharian language. In the Middle Ages, the Great Silk Road passed through the Tarim basin.

Tarim Trench from space

Mysterious mummies in China

According to the scientific publication Science Alert, inIn the 1990s, a cemetery with well-preserved mummies was found in this place. The mysterious people were buried in coffins that look like overturned boats. The bodies of the deceased were hidden under clothing made of felt and cloth, and nearby were the remains of cattle such as sheep and goats. In addition to all this, archaeologists managed to find traces of wheat, barley, millet and other food products.

Archaeologists at the excavation site

The mummies found were called the "Xiaohe people."They were not like the current inhabitants of this region, and scientists for a long time could not determine exactly where they came from. Previously, there was a popular assumption that the deceased could have been immigrants from the Black Sea coast or were associated with the inhabitants of the Iranian highlands. The first theory was supported by the fact that the ancient inhabitants of present-day Russia could migrate to these places through the Eurasian steppes. The latter theory is related to the fact that the people found used the same methods of agriculture and irrigation as people from the Iranian plateau.

Artifacts found near mummies

See also: 2,500-year-old mummies found in Egypt. Can they be damned?

Ancient people of China

Recently, the mystery was finally revealed.Scientists have carried out a genetic analysis of the most ancient mummies in this region and found that their gene pool is of Asian origin. The origins of this genus can be traced back to the early Holocene, about 9000 years ago. Apparently, the bodies of ancient hunter-gatherers, who had a wide habitat, are buried in the Tarim Basin. At least, this is hinted at by the fact that the same genetic trace was previously found on the territory of present-day Siberia.

Video about the Xiaohe people from History Channel

According to one of the authors of the scientific workChristina Warinner, these people created their own kitchen based on wheat and dairy products. Their diet also included medicinal plants like ephedra, which some peoples even today use to treat colds and asthma. The new discovery of scientists has raised even more questions. For example, researchers are now interested in how the peoples who lived near the Tarim Basin interacted with each other.

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As a rule, archaeologists find mummies indesert regions. I recently talked about how researchers managed to find well-preserved bodies of parrots in the American Atacama Desert. The new discovery prompted scientists that the ancient inhabitants of these lands were engaged in the cultivation of tropical birds. Such creatures were not found in desert regions, so they were brought from the Amazon forests and kept in terrible conditions. Capturing and selling parrots was a lucrative business, but why did the desert dwellers need them? Look for the answer in this material.