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The Dead Tell A Tale China Doesn't Care To Listen To (Red Haired Mummies)

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Bianca
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« on: November 19, 2008, 03:37:35 pm »



Gilles Sabrie

The mummy known as the Loulan Beauty on display at a
museum in Urumqi, China.









                                    The Dead Tell a Tale China Doesn’t Care to Listen To






By EDWARD WONG
Published: November 18, 2008
URUMQI,
China —

An exhibit on the first floor of the museum here gives the government’s unambiguous take on the history
of this border region: “Xinjiang has been an inalienable part of the territory of China,” says one prominent sign.

In Kashgar, China, veiled women passing a wall with Uighur writing that promoted the nation’s fight against “terrorism and criminal acts.”

But walk upstairs to the second floor, and the ancient corpses on display seem to tell a different story.

One called the Loulan Beauty lies on her back with her shoulder-length hair matted down, her lips pursed
in death, her high cheekbones and long nose the most obvious signs that she is not what one thinks of as Chinese.

The Loulan Beauty is one of more than 200 remarkably well-preserved mummies discovered in the western deserts here over the last few decades. The ancient bodies have become protagonists in a very contemporary political dispute over who should control the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

The Chinese authorities here face an intermittent separatist movement of nationalist Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people who number nine million in Xinjiang.

At the heart of the matter lie these questions: Who first settled this inhospitable part of western China? And for how long has the oil-rich region been part of the Chinese empire?

Uighur nationalists have gleaned evidence from the mummies, whose corpses span thousands of years, to support historical claims to the region.

Foreign scholars say that at the very least, the Tarim mummies — named after the vast Tarim Basin where they were found — show that Xinjiang has always been a melting pot, a place where people from various corners of Eurasia founded societies and where cultures overlapped.
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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 03:45:34 pm »



In Kashgar, China, veiled women passing a wall with Uighur writing that
promoted the nation’s fight against “terrorism and criminal acts.”









Contact between peoples was particularly frequent in the heyday of the Silk Road, when camel caravans transported goods that flowed from as far away as the Mediterranean. “It’s historically been a place where cultures have mixed together,” said Yidilisi Abuduresula, 58, a Uighur archaeologist in Xinjiang working on the mummies.

The Tarim mummies seem to indicate that the very first people to settle the area came from the west — down from the steppes of Central Asia and even farther afield — and not from the fertile plains and river valleys of the Chinese interior. The oldest, like the Loulan Beauty, date back 3,800 years.

Some Uighurs have latched on to the fact that the oldest mummies are most likely from the west as evidence that Xinjiang has belonged to the Uighurs throughout history. A modern, nationalistic pop song praising the Loulan Beauty has even become popular.

“The people found in Loulan were Uighur people, according to the materials,” said a Uighur tour guide in the city of Kashgar who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of running afoul of the Chinese authorities. “The nationalities of Xinjiang are very complicated. There have been many since ancient times.”

Scholars generally agree that Uighurs did not migrate to what is now Xinjiang from Central Asia until the 10th century. But, uncomfortably for the Chinese authorities, evidence from the mummies also offers a far more nuanced history of settlement than the official Chinese version.

By that official account, Zhang Qian, a general of the Han dynasty, led a military expedition to Xinjiang in the second century B.C. His presence is often cited by the ethnic Han Chinese when making historical claims to the region.

The mummies show, though, that humans entered the region thousands of years earlier, and almost certainly from the west.

What is indisputable is that the Tarim mummies are among the greatest recent archaeological finds in China, perhaps the world.

Four are in glass display cases in the main museum here in Urumqi, the regional capital. Their skin is parched and blackened from the wear and tear of thousands of years, but their bodies are strikingly intact, preserved by the dry climate of the western desert.

Some foreign scholars say the Chinese government, eager to assert a narrative of longtime Chinese dominance of Xinjiang, is unwilling to face the fact that the mummies provide evidence of heterogeneity throughout the region’s history of human settlement.

As a result, they say, the government has been unwilling to give broad access to foreign scientists to conduct genetic tests on the mummies.

“In terms of advanced scientific research on the mummies, it’s just not happening,” said Victor H. Mair, a professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania who has been at the forefront of foreign scholarship of the mummies.
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2008, 03:53:39 pm »



Mummies in western China
have revealed ancient
migration patterns.









Mr. Mair first spotted one of the mummies, a red-haired corpse called the Cherchen Man, in the back room of a museum in Urumqi while leading a tour of Americans there in 1988, the first year the mummies were put on display.

Mummies in western China have revealed ancient migration patterns.

Since then, he says that he has been obsessed with pinpointing the origins of the mummies, intent on proving a theory dear to him: that the movement of peoples throughout history is far more common than previously thought.

Mr. Mair has assembled various groups of scholars to do research on the mummies. In 1993, the Chinese government tried to prevent Mr. Mair from leaving China with 52 tissue samples after having authorized him
to go to Xinjiang and to collect them.

But a Chinese researcher managed to slip a half-dozen vials to Mr. Mair. From those samples, an Italian geneticist concluded in 1995 that at least two of the mummies had a European genetic marker.

The Chinese government in recent years has allowed genetic research on the mummies to be conducted only by Chinese scientists.

Jin Li, a well-known geneticist at Fudan University in Shanghai, tested the mummies in conjunction with a 2007 National Geographic documentary. He concluded that some of the oldest mummies had East Asian and even South Asian markers, though the documentary said further testing needed to be done.

Mr. Mair has disputed any suggestion that the mummies were from East Asia. He believes that East Asian migrants did not appear in the Tarim Basin until much later than the Loulan Beauty and her people.

The oldest mummies, he says, were probably Tocharians, herders who traveled eastward across the Central Asian steppes and whose language belonged to the Indo-European family. A second wave of migrants came from what is now Iran.

The theory that the earliest mummies came from the west of what is now modern China is supported by other scholars as well. A textile expert, Elizabeth Wayland Barber, in a book called “The Mummies of Urumchi,” wrote that the kind of cloth discovered in the oldest grave sites can be traced to the Caucasus.

Han Kangxin, a physical anthropologist, has also concluded that the earliest settlers were not Asians. He has studied the skulls of the mummies, and says that genetic tests can be unreliable.

“It’s very clear that these are of Europoid or Caucasoid origins,” Mr. Han, now retired, said in an interview in his apartment in Beijing.

Of the hundreds of mummies discovered, there are some that are East Asian, but they are not as ancient as the Loulan Beauty or the Cherchen Man.

The most prominent Chinese grave sites were discovered at a place called Astana, believed to be a former military outpost. The findings at the site span the Jin to the Han dynasties, from the third to the 10th centuries.

Further clouding the picture, a mummy from the Lop Nur area, the 2,000-year-old Yingpan Man, was unearthed with artifacts associated with an entirely different part of the globe. He was wearing a hemp death mask with gold foil and a red robe decorated with naked angelic figures and antelopes — all hallmarks of a Hellenistic civilization.

Despite the political issues, excavations of the grave sites are continuing.

Mr. Abuduresula, the Uighur archaeologist, made a trip in late September to the desert site at Xiaohe, where 350 graves have been discovered. The bottom layer of graves dates back nearly 4,000 years. More recent graves point to a matriarchal herding society that worshiped cows, Mr. Abuduresula said.

Somewhere in those sands, he said, archaeologists have discovered a woman as striking as the Loulan Beauty.

She is called the Xiaohe Princess, and even her eyelashes are intact.
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2008, 04:13:03 pm »









                                   A meeting of civilisations: The mystery of China's celtic mummies


The discovery of European corpses thousands of miles away suggests a hitherto unknown connection

                                       between East and West in the Bronze Age.






Clifford Coonan
reports from Urumqi
Monday, 28 August 2006
Independent.co.uk  Web 

Solid as a warrior of the Caledonii tribe, the man's hair is reddish brown flecked with grey, framing high cheekbones, a long nose, full lips and a ginger beard. When he lived three thousand years ago, he stood six feet tall, and was buried wearing a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. He looks like a Bronze Age European. In fact, he's every inch a Celt. Even his DNA says so.


But this is no early Celt from central Scotland. This is the mummified corpse of Cherchen Man, unearthed from the scorched sands of the Taklamakan Desert in the far-flung region of Xinjiang in western China, and now housed in a new museum in the provincial capital of Urumqi. In the language spoken by the local Uighur people in Xinjiang, "Taklamakan" means: "You come in and never come out."

The extraordinary thing is that Cherchen Man was found - with the mummies of three women and a baby - in a burial site thousands of miles to the east of where the Celts established their biggest settlements in France and the British Isles.

DNA testing confirms that he and hundreds of other mummies found in Xinjiang's Tarim Basin are of European origin. We don't know how he got there, what brought him there, or how long he and his kind lived there for. But, as the desert's name suggests, it is certain that he never came out.

His discovery provides an unexpected connection between east and west and some valuable clues to early European history.

One of the women who shared a tomb with Cherchen Man has light brown hair which looks as if it was brushed and braided for her funeral only yesterday. Her face is painted with curling designs, and her striking red burial gown has lost none of its lustre during the three millenniums that this tall, fine-featured woman has been lying beneath the sand of the Northern Silk Road.

The bodies are far better preserved than the Egyptian mummies, and it is sad to see the infants on display; to see how the baby was wrapped in a beautiful brown cloth tied with red and blue cord, then a blue stone placed on each eye. Beside it was a baby's milk bottle with a teat, made from a sheep's udder.

Based on the mummy, the museum has reconstructed what Cherchen Man would have looked like and how he lived. The similarities to the traditional Bronze Age Celts are uncanny, and analysis has shown that the weave of the cloth is the same as that of those found on the bodies of salt miners in Austria from 1300BC.
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 04:15:05 pm »



CHERCHEN MAN









The burial sites of Cherchen Man and his fellow people were marked with stone structures that look like dolmens from Britain, ringed by round-faced, Celtic figures, or standing stones. Among their icons were figures reminiscent of the sheela-na-gigs, wild females who flaunted their bodies and can still be found in mediaeval churches in Britain. A female mummy wears a long, conical hat which has to be a witch or a wizard's hat. Or a druid's, perhaps? The wooden combs they used to fan their tresses are familiar to students of ancient Celtic art.

At their peak, around 300BC, the influence of the Celts stretched from Ireland in the west to the south of Spain and across to Italy's Po Valley, and probably extended to parts of Poland and Ukraine and the central plain of Turkey in the east. These mummies seem to suggest, however, that the Celts penetrated well into central Asia, nearly making it as far as Tibet.

The Celts gradually infiltrated Britain between about 500 and 100BC. There was probably never anything like an organised Celtic invasion: they arrived at different times, and are considered a group of peoples loosely connected by similar language, religion, and cultural expression.

The eastern Celts spoke a now-dead language called Tocharian, which is related to Celtic languages and part of the Indo-European group. They seem to have been a peaceful folk, as there are few weapons among the Cherchen find and there is little evidence of a caste system.

Even older than the Cherchen find is that of the 4,000-year-old Loulan Beauty, who has long flowing fair hair and is one of a number of mummies discovered near the town of Loulan. One of these mummies was an eight-year-old child wrapped in a piece of patterned wool cloth, closed with bone pegs.

The Loulan Beauty's features are Nordic. She was 45 when she died, and was buried with a basket of food for the next life, including domesticated wheat, combs and a feather.

The Taklamakan desert has given up hundreds of desiccated corpses in the past 25 years, and archaeologists say the discoveries in the Tarim Basin are some of the most significant finds in the past quarter of a century.

"From around 1800BC, the earliest mummies in the Tarim Basin were exclusively Caucausoid, or Europoid," says Professor Victor Mair of Pennsylvania University, who has been captivated by the mummies since he spotted them partially obscured in a back room in the old museum in 1988. "He looked like my brother Dave sleeping there, and that's what really got me. Lying there with his eyes closed," Professor Mair said.

It's a subject that exercises him and he has gone to extraordinary lengths, dodging difficult political issues, to gain further knowledge of these remarkable people.
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 04:16:43 pm »










East Asian migrants arrived in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3,000 years ago, Professor Mair says, while the Uighur peoples arrived after the collapse of the Orkon Uighur Kingdom, based in modern-day Mongolia, around the year 842.

A believer in the "inter-relatedness of all human communities", Professor Mair resists attempts to impose a theory of a single people arriving in Xinjiang, and believes rather that the early Europeans headed in different directions, some travelling west to become the Celts in Britain and Ireland, others taking a northern route to become the Germanic tribes, and then another offshoot heading east and ending up in Xinjiang.

This section of the ancient Silk Road is one of the world's most barren precincts. You are further away from the sea here than at any other place, and you can feel it. This where China tests its nuclear weapons. Labour camps are scattered all around - who would try to escape? But the remoteness has worked to the archaeologists' advantage. The ancient corpses have avoided decay because the Tarim Basin is so dry, with alkaline soils. Scientists have been able to glean information about many aspects of our Bronze Age forebears from the mummies, from their physical make-up to information about how they buried their dead, what tools they used and what clothes they wore.

In her book The Mummies of Urumchi, the textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber examines the tartan-style cloth, and reckons it can be traced back to Anatolia and the Caucasus, the steppe area north of the Black Sea. Her theory is that this group divided, starting in the Caucasus and then splitting, one group going west and another east.

Even though they have been dead for thousands of years, every perfectly preserved fibre of the mummies' make-up has been relentlessly politicised.

The received wisdom in China says that two hundred years before the birth of Christ, China's emperor Wu Di sent an ambassador to the west to establish an alliance against the marauding Huns, then based in Mongolia. The route across Asia that the emissary, Zhang Qian, took eventually became the Silk Road to Europe. Hundreds of years later Marco Polo came, and the opening up of China began.

The very thought that Caucasians were settled in a part of China thousands of years before Wu Di's early contacts with the west and Marco Polo's travels has enormous political ramifications. And that these Europeans should have been in restive Xinjiang hundreds of years before East Asians is explosive.
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2008, 04:18:41 pm »










The Chinese historian Ji Xianlin, writing a preface to Ancient Corpses of Xinjiang by the Chinese archaeologist Wang Binghua, translated by Professor Mair, says China "supported and admired" research by foreign experts into the mummies. "However, within China a small group of ethnic separatists have taken advantage of this opportunity to stir up trouble and are acting like buffoons. Some of them have even styled themselves the descendants of these ancient 'white people' with the aim of dividing the motherland. But these perverse acts will not succeed," Ji wrote.

Many Uighurs consider the Han Chinese as invaders. The territory was annexed by China in 1955, and the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region established, and there have been numerous incidents of unrest over the years. In 1997 in the northern city of Yining there were riots by Muslim separatists and Chinese security forces cracked down, with nine deaths. There are occasional outbursts, and the region remains very heavily policed.

Not surprisingly, the government has been slow to publicise these valuable historical finds for fear of fuelling separatist currents in Xinjiang.

The Loulan Beauty, for example, was claimed by the Uighurs as their symbol in song and image, although genetic testing now shows that she was in fact European.

Professor Mair acknowledges that the political dimension to all this has made his work difficult, but says that the research shows that the people of Xinjiang are a dizzying mixture. "They tend to mix as you enter the Han Dynasty. By that time the East Asian component is very noticeable," he says. "Modern DNA and ancient DNA show that Uighurs, Kazaks, Kyrgyzs, the peoples of central Asia are all mixed Caucasian and East Asian. The modern and ancient DNA tell the same story," he says.

Altogether there are 400 mummies in various degrees of desiccation and decomposition, including the prominent Han Chinese warrior Zhang Xiong and other Uighur mummies, and thousands of skulls. The mummies will keep the scientists busy for a long time. Only a handful of the better-preserved ones are on display in the impressive new Xinjiang museum. Work began in 1999, but was stopped in 2002 after
a corruption scandal and the jailing of a former director for involvement in the theft of antiques.
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2008, 04:20:44 pm »



YINGPAN MAN









The museum finally opened on the 50th anniversary of China's annexation of the restive region, and the mummies are housed in glass display cases (which were sealed with what looked like Sellotape) in a multi-media wing.

In the same room are the much more recent Han mummies - equally interesting, but rendering the display confusing, as it groups all the mummies closely together. Which makes sound political sense.

This political correctness continues in another section of the museum dedicated to the achievements of the Chinese revolution, and boasts artefacts from the Anti-Japanese War (1931-1945).

Best preserved of all the corpses is Yingpan Man, known as the Handsome Man, a 2,000-year-old Caucasian mummy discovered in 1995. He had a gold foil death mask - a Greek tradition - covering his blond, bearded face, and wore elaborate golden embroidered red and maroon wool garments with images of fighting Greeks or Romans. The hemp mask is painted with a soft smile and the thin moustache of a dandy.

Currently on display at a museum in Tokyo, the handsome Yingpan man was two metres tall (six feet six inches), and pushing 30 when he died.

His head rests on a pillow in the shape of a crowing cockerel.
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2008, 04:25:23 pm »












                                                               T A R I M   M U M M I E S





 
The Tarim mummies are a series of Caucasoid mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1800 BCE to 200 CE.

The mummies, particularly the early ones, are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin, although the evidence is not conclusive and many centuries separate these mummies from the first appearance of the written Tocharian languages.

The cemetery at Yanbulaq contained 29 mummies which date from 1800–500 BCE, 21 of which are Caucasoid—the earliest Caucasoid mummies found in the Tarim Basin—and eight of which are of the same Caucasoid physical type found at Qäwrighul.

However, more recent genetic studies painted a more complex picture (Xie et al., 2007). It showed both Caucasian and Mongoloid characteristics in the more recent mummies.
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2008, 04:34:04 pm »



A Tarim Basin mummy

photographed by
Aurel Stein circa
1910.








Archeological record



At the beginning of the 20th century European explorers such as Sven Hedin, Albert von Le Coq and
Sir Aurel Stein all recounted their discoveries of desiccated bodies in their search for antiquities in Central Asia.

Since then many other mummies have been found and analysed, most of them now displayed in the museums of Xinjiang. Most of these mummies were found on the eastern (around the area of Lopnur, Subeshi near Turfan, Kroran, Kumul) and southern (Khotan, Niya, Qiemo) edge of the Tarim Basin.

The earliest Tarim mummies, found at Qäwrighul and dated to 1800 BCE, are of a Caucasoid physical type whose closest affiliation is to the Bronze Age populations of southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and Lower Volga.

The cemetery at Yanbulaq contained 29 mummies which date from 1100–500 BCE, 21 of which are Caucasoid—the earliest Caucasoid mummies found in the Tarim basin—and 8 of which are of the same Caucasoid physical type found at Qäwrighul.

Notable mummies are the tall, red-haired "Chärchän man" or the "Ur-David" (1000 BCE); his son (1000 BCE), a small 1-year-old baby with blond hair protruding from under a red and blue felt cap, and blue stones in place of the eyes; the "Hami Mummy" (c. 1400–800 BCE), a "red-headed beauty" found in Qizilchoqa; and the "Witches of Subeshi" (4th or 3rd century BCE), who wore tall pointed hats.

Many of the mummies have been found in very good condition, owing to the dryness of the desert, and the desiccation of the corpses it induced.

The mummies share many typical Caucasoid body features (elongated bodies, angular faces, recessed eyes), and many of them have their hair physically intact, ranging in color from blond to red to deep brown, and generally long, curly and braided.

It is not known whether their hair has been bleached by internment in salt.

Their costumes, and especially textiles, may indicate a common origin with Indo-European neolithic clothing techniques or a common low-level textile technology.

Chärchän man wore a red twill tunic and tartan leggings.

Textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber, who examined the tartan-style cloth, claims it can be traced back to Anatolia, the Caucasus and the steppe area north of the Black Sea.
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2008, 04:38:32 pm »









Genetic links



DNA sequence data shows that the mummies had haplotype characteristic of western Eurasia in the area of south Russia.

A team of Chinese and American researchers working in Sweden tested DNA from 52 separate mummies, including the mummy denoted "Beauty of Loulan." By genetically mapping the mummies' origins, the researchers confirmed the theory that these mummies were of West Eurasian descent. Victor Mair, a University of Pennsylvania professor and project leader for the team that did the genetic mapping, commented that these studies were:

...extremely important because they link up eastern and western Eurasia at a formative stage of civilization (Bronze Age and early Iron Age) in a much closer way than has ever been done before.

An earlier study by Jilin University had found a mtDNA haplotype characteristic of Western Eurasian populations with Europoid genes.

The textiles found with the mummies are of an early European textile and weave type and are similar
to textiles found on the bodies of salt miners in Austria of around 1300 BCE.

Mair states that "the earliest mummies in the Tarim Basin were exclusively Caucausoid, or Europoid"
with east Asian migrants arriving in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin around 1000 BCE, while
the Uyghur peoples arrived around the year 842.  In trying to trace the origins of these populations, Victor Mair's team suggested that they may have arrived in the region by way of the forbidding Pamir Mountains about 5000 years ago.

This evidence remains controversial. It refutes the contemporary nationalist claims of the present-day Uyghur peoples who claim that they are the indigenous people of Xinjiang, rather than the Han Chinese. In comparing the DNA of the mummies to that of modern day Uyghur peoples, Mair's team found some genetic similarities with the mummies, but "no direct links".



About the controversy Mair has stated that:

"The new finds are also forcing a reexamination of old Chinese books that describe historical or legendary figures of great height, with deep-set blue or green eyes, long noses, full beards, and red or blond hair. Scholars have traditionally scoffed at these accounts, but it now seems that they may be accurate.[7]
Chinese scientists were initially hesitant to provide access to DNA samples because they were sensitive about the claims of the nationalist Uyghur who claim the Loulan Beauty as their symbol, and to prevent a pillaging of national monuments by foreigners."



Chinese historian Ji Xianlin says China "supported and admired" research by foreign experts into the mummies.

"However, within China a small group of ethnic separatists have styled themselves the descendants
of these ancient people".

Due to the "fear of fuelling separatist currents" the Xinjiang museum, regardless of dating, displays all their mummies both Tarim and Han, together.
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2008, 04:43:13 pm »










Posited origins



Physical anthropologists propose the movement of at least two Caucasoid physical types into the
Tarim basin, which Mallory & Mair (2000:317–318) associate with the Tocharian and Iranian (Saka) branches of the Indo-European language family, respectively.

B. E. Hemphill's biodistance analysis of cranial metrics (as cited in Larsen 2002 and Schurr 2001) has questioned the identification of the Tarim Basin population as European, noting that the earlier population has close affinities to the Indus Valley population, and the later population with the Oxus River valley population. Because craniometry can produce results which make no sense at all (e.g. the close relationship between Neolithic populations in Russia and Portugal) and therefore lack any historical meaning, any putative genetic relationship must be consistent with geographical plausibility and have the support of other evidence.

Han Kangxin (as cited in Mallory & Mair 2000:236–237), who examined the skulls of 302 mummies, found the closest relatives of the earlier Tarim Basin population in the populations of the Afanasevo culture situated immediately north of the Tarim Basin and the Andronovo culture that spanned Kazakhstan and reached southwards into West Central Asia and the Altai.

It is the Afanasevo culture to which Mallory & Mair (2000:294–296, 314–318) trace the earliest Bronze Age settlers of the Tarim and Turpan basins. The Afanasevo culture (c. 3500–2500 BCE) displays cultural and genetic connections with the Indo-European-associated cultures of the Eurasian Steppe yet predates the specifically Indo-Iranian-associated Andronovo culture (c. 2000–900 BCE) enough to isolate the Tocharian languages from Indo-Iranian linguistic innovations like satemization.

Hemphill & Mallory (2004) confirm a second Caucasoid physical type at Alwighul (700–1 BCE) and Krorän (200 CE) different from the earlier one found at Qäwrighul (1800 BCE) and Yanbulaq (1100–500 BCE):

This study confirms the assertion of Han [1998] that the occupants of Alwighul and Krorän are not derived from proto-European steppe populations, but share closest affinities with Eastern Mediterranean populations. Further, the results demonstrate that such Eastern Mediterraneans may also be found at the urban centers of the Oxus civilization located in the north Bactrian oasis to the west. Affinities are especially close between Krorän, the latest of the Xinjiang samples, and Sapalli, the earliest of the Bactrian samples, while Alwighul and later samples from Bactria exhibit more distant phenetic affinities. This pattern may reflect a possible major shift in interregional contacts in Central Asia in the early centuries of the second millennium BCE.
 

Mallory & Mair (2000:318) associate this later (700 BCE–200 CE) Caucasoid physical type with the populations who introduced the Iranian Saka language to the western part of the Tarim basin.



Mair concluded (Mair etc al, 2006):

"From the evidence available, we have found that during the first 1,000 years after the Loulan Beauty, the only settlers in the Tarim Basin were Caucasoid. East Asian peoples only began showing up in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3,000 years ago, Mair said, while the Uighur peoples arrived after the collapse of the Orkon Uighur Kingdom, largely based in modern day Mongolia, around the year 842."
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2008, 04:46:50 pm »








                                           Historical records and associated texts







Tocharians



The Indo-European Tocharian languages also have been attested in the same geographical area, and although the first known epigraphic evidence dates to the 6th century CE, the degree of differentiation between Tocharian A and Tocharian B, and the absence of Tocharian language remains beyond that area, tends to indicate that a common Tocharian language existed in the same area during the second half of the 1st millennium BCE. Although Tocharian texts have never been found in direct relation with the mummies, their identical geographical location and common non-Chinese origin suggest that the mummies were related to the Tocharians and spoke a similar Indo-European language.

The Tocharian were described as having full beards, deep-set eyes and high noses and with no sign of decline as attestation in the Chinese sources for the past 1,000 years. This was first noted after the Tocharian had come under the steppe nomads and Chinese subjugation. During the 3rd to 4th century CE, the Tocharian reached their height by incorporating adjoining states.






Yuezhi



In the much easterly geographical area, reference to the Yuezhi name in Guanzi was made around 7th century BCE by the Chinese economist Guan Zhong, though the book is generally considered to be a forgery of later generations.

The attributed author, Guan Zhong described the Yuzhi 禺氏, or Niuzhi 牛氏, as a people from the north-west who supplied jade to the Chinese from the nearby mountains of Yuzhi 禺氏 at Gansu.

A large part of the Yuezhi, vanquished by the Xiongnu, were to migrate to southern Asia in the 2nd century BCE, and later establish the Kushan Empire in northern India and Afghanistan.






Roman accounts



Pliny the Elder (, Chap XXIV "Taprobane") reports a curious description of the Seres (in the territories
of northwestern China) made by an embassy from Taprobane (Ceylon) to Emperor Claudius, saying that they "exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort
of noise by way of talking", suggesting they may be referring to the ancient Caucasian populations of the Tarim Basin:

"They also informed us that the side of their island (Taprobane) which lies opposite to India is ten thousand stadia in length, and runs in a south-easterly direction--that beyond the Emodian Mountains (Himalayas) they look towards the Serve (Seres), whose acquaintance they had also made in the pursuits of commerce; that the father of Rachias (the ambassador) had frequently visited their country, and that the Seræ always came to meet them on their arrival. These people, they said, exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking, having no language of their own for the purpose of communicating their thoughts. The rest of their information (on the Serae) was of a similar nature to that communicated by our merchants. It was to the effect that the merchandise on sale was left by them upon the opposite bank of a river on their coast, and it was then removed by the natives, if they thought proper to deal on terms of exchange. On no grounds ought luxury with greater reason to be detested by us, than if we only transport our thoughts to these scenes, and then reflect, what are its demands, to what distant spots it sends in order to satisfy them, and for how mean and how unworthy an end!"
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2008, 04:49:25 pm »












Cultural exchanges



The presence of Indo-European speakers in the Tarim Basin in the third or early second millennium BCE suggests that cultural exchanges occurred among Indo-European and Chinese populations at a very early date. It has been suggested that such activities as chariot warfare and bronze-making may have been transmitted to the east by these Indo-European nomads.

The Chinese explorer Zhang Qian, who visited Bactria and Sogdiana in 126 BCE, made the first known Chinese report on many regions to the west of China. In his accounts Parthia is named "Ānxī" (Chinese: 安息), a transliteration of "Arsacid", the name of the Parthian dynasty.

Zhang Qian clearly identifies Parthia as an advanced urban civilization that farmed grain and grapes, made silver coins and leather goods; Zhang Qian equates the level of advancement of Parthia to the cultures of Dayuan (in Ferghana) and Daxia (in Bactria). Zhang Qian found Greek influences present in some of the kingdoms of this region.

These theories run counter to the idea that the East and West developed civilizations independently, but suggest that some form of cultural exchanges took place.



The supply of Tarim Basin jade to China from ancient times is well established, according to Liu (2001):

"It is well known that ancient Chinese rulers had a strong attachment to jade. All of the jade items excavated from the tomb of Fuhao of the Shang dynasty, more than 750 pieces, were from Khotan in modern Xinjiang. As early as the mid-first millennium BCE the Yuezhi engaged in the jade trade, of which the major consumers were the rulers of agricultural China."
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2008, 04:53:35 pm »



FELT HAT









References



The Mummies of Ürümchi. Elizabeth Wayland Barber (1999). London. Pan Books. ISBN 0-330-36897-4

Warrior Women: An Archaeologist’s Search for History’s Hidden Heroines. Jeannine Davis-Kimball with Mona Behan (2002). Warner Books, New York. First Trade Edition 2003. ISBN 0-446-67983-6 (pbk)

Hemphill, Brian E.; Mallory, J.P. (2004), "Horse-mounted invaders from the Russo-Kazakh steppe or agricultural colonists from Western Central Asia? A craniometric investigation of the Bronze Age settlement of Xinjiang", American Journal of Physical Anthropology 125: 199ff .

Larsen, Clark Spencer (2002), "Bioarchaeology: The Lives and Lifestyles of Past People", Journal of Archaeological Research 10 (2): 119–166, June 2002, http://monkey.sbs.ohio-state.edu/bioarch/PDF/ProfLarsen-JARarticle.pdf .

Li, Shuicheng (1999), "A Discussion of Sino-Western Cultural Contact and Exchange in the Second Millennium BC Based on Recent Archeological Discoveries", Sino-Platonic Papers (97), December 1999, http://sino-platonic.org/abstracts/spp097_sino_western.html .

Light, Nathan (1999a), "Hidden Discourses of Race: Imagining Europeans in China", presented at the Association for Asian Studies conference, Boston, http://homepages.utoledo.edu/nlight/uyghhst.htm, retrieved on 20 August 2007 .

Light, Nathan (1999b), "Tabloid Archaeology: Is Television Trivializing Science?", Discovering Archaeology: 98-101, March-April 1999, http://homepages.utoledo.edu/nlight/discarch.txt .

Liu, Xinru (2001), "Migration and Settlement of the Yuezhi-Kushan. Interaction and Interdependence of Nomadic and Sedentary Societies", Journal of World History 12 (2): 261-292 .

Mallory, J. P.; Mair, Victor H. (2000), The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West, London: Thames & Hudson .

Pliny the Elder, The Natural History .

Schurr, Theodore G. (2001), "Tracking Genes Across the Globe: A review of Genes, Peoples, and Languages, by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza.", American Scientist 89 (1), January-February 2001,
http://www.americanscientist.org/template/BookReviewTypeDetail/assetid/14302 .

Chengzhi, Xie; Chunxiang, Li; Yinqiu, Cui1; Dawei, Cai1; Haijing, Wang; Hong, Zhu; Hui, Zhou (2007) Mitochondrial DNA analysis of ancient Sampula population in Xinjiang. Progress in Natural Science, Volume 17, Number 8, pp. 927-933(7)






See also



Pazyryk






External links



Stratification in the peopling of China: how far does the linguistic evidence match genetics and archaeology? pdf

The Mummies of Xinjiang by Evan Hadingham DISCOVER Vol. 15 No. 04, April 1994

Images of the Tocharian mummies Includes the face of the "Beauty of Loulan" as reconstructed by
an artist.

Genetic testing reveals awkward truth about Xinjiang’s famous mummies (AFP) Khaleej Times Online,
19 April 2005

The Dead Tell a Tale China Doesn’t Care to Listen To The New York Times, 18 November 2008





Retrieved from


"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarim_mummies"
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