The 8,000-year-old mummy is 3,000 years older than the mummies of Egypt
The Atacama Desert of Chile is believed to hold the world’s oldest mummies. The Chinchorro mummies were discovered in the early 20th century in the Atacama Desert in present-day Chile. In comparison, the Egyptians were embalming mummies more than 4,500 years ago.
Until now, the Chinchorro mummies were considered the oldest in the world, dating back 7,000 years
But now, a recent analysis of unreleased pictures of skeletons, clicked in the 1960s, suggests that the oldest mummies may have originated in Europe rather than Egypt or Chile.
A team of archaeologists at Uppsala University and Linnaeus University in Sweden and the University of Lisbon in Portugal studied the photographs of more than a dozen skeletons buried in 8,000-year-old graves in the Sado Valley, Portugal.
This is a significant discovery since mummification in Europe is difficult since mummified soft tissues rarely survive under European wet environments.
The researchers rewrote the history by unearthing and developing the previously unseen black-and-white photographs taken by the Portuguese archaeologist Manuel Farinha dos Santos in the early 1960s. Using these photographs, the researchers successfully reconstructed the positions in which the remains were buried.
The reconstruction of these photographs provided a unique opportunity to add to our knowledge of burial ceremonies that took place eight millennia ago.