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Chilean mummies

Chilean mummies

Update: 2021-10-254
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Think of ancient mummies, and you might imagine Egyptian pharaohs in their highly decorated cases. But in actual fact, Chile has the oldest mummies in the world. Unesco recently addded the archaeological sites and the artificial mummification of the Chinchorro culture to its World Heritage List. Around 300 mummies have been excavated from three different sites in the north of the country, near the border with Peru. The nomination took decades of work, drawing on many years of different scientific studies.

Jane Chambers travels to Arica in northern Chile to find out more about the Chinchorro culture and how they used mummification to remember their dead, 7000 years ago.

Photo: Chilean mummy from the Chinchorro culture (Credit: Bioarchaeology lab of the University of Tarapaca)
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Chilean mummies

Chilean mummies

BBC World Service