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Chinchorro boy

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Considered to be the world's richest man, this mummy was dicovered on the coast of the Atacama desert in northern Chile and southern Peru. These mummies are known as the oldest and were created by small fishing communities or also referred to as the Chinchorro.

The mummification process began from c. 6000 BC when the chinchorro started to rebuild their dead by defleshing and removal of brains and internal organs. Next the bones were dried over hot ashes before reassembling the bodies using tightly bound twigs to reinforce the skeletal structures. The skin was then reapplied and any areas lacking would then be covered in sea lion or pelican skin followed by a think ash covering of the entire body. After this the faces of the mummies would be covered in black manganese or red ochre which gave the mummies colourful faces much like clowns. This mummification process has evolved throughout pre- historic times in many Peruvian cultures.

Why mummification took place?

It is thought that women first began practising mummification in efforts to keep their dead children with them. When these mummies were finally buried, they were often placed within family groups.

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