(ORDO NEWS) — The inhabitants of pre-Columbian South America, whose mummified remains are kept in European museums, fell victim to brutal murders. An article about this was published in Frontiers in Medicine.
This observation was made using computed tomography by Andreas Nerlich from the German clinic Bogenhausen. “In our work, we show the fatal injuries of two of the three South American mummies that we examined using 3D CT.
The types of injuries we found would not have been visible if the remains had been preserved as skeletons and not as mummies,” he said.
The mummy from the Marburg Museum belonged to the Arica culture that existed in what is now northern Chile. Judging by the grave goods found along with the remains, the man lived in a fishing community.
He was buried on his haunches, his teeth well preserved with some misalignment and abrasions, which is typical of pre-Columbian people who ate corn.
Scars from severe tuberculosis were visible in his lungs. According to the features of the bones, the authors determined that it was a young man aged 20 to 25 years, about 1.72 meters tall. According to the results of radiocarbon analysis, he died between 996 and 1147 AD.
The mummies in the Delémont Museum probably came from the Arequipa region in southwest modern Peru, judging by the pottery among the grave goods.
Both were buried face up, which is unusual for mummies from the highlands of South America. Radiocarbon data showed that the man died between 902 and 994 AD, and the woman between 1224 and 1282 AD.
They wore cloth woven from cotton and llama or alpaca wool, as well as viscachas, rodents related to chinchillas. The condition of the aorta and large arteries indicated that the man suffered from atherosclerosis during his lifetime.
The results of the analysis show that both male mummies died on the spot as a result of deliberate violence.
The authors reconstructed that the Marburg mummy died because, most likely, one unknown attacker hit the victim hard on the head, and the second attacker stabbed her while the person was still on his feet or on his knees.
In the mummy, the men from Delemont found a severe dislocation of two cervical vertebrae, which probably caused death. Most likely, the man was also hit on the head. Of the three mummies, only the woman died of natural causes.
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