Nepali experts digging into the mysteries of the famous Mhebrak cave in Lower Mustang in western Nepal have unearthed new clues, which could potentially unravel a significant portion of human history dating back to 450 BC. A team of experts including those from the Department of Archaeology (DoA), who have been studying two unique corpses recovered from Mhebrak cave complex in Muktinath Valley of Lower Mustang, say shocking features of the corpses are drawing them closer to discovery of a peculiar culture of the prehistoric age. They say the corpses—proved to have been of a mother and an infant—dating back to 450 BC were recovered in a sleeping posture where the mother seems to have protected her infant in every possible way. Interestingly, the body of the infant was found all compact, with steady bones and joints that were not detached. Even a layer of thin skin covering the infant’s bones is still intact.
Finding of a human body as old as 2,600 years in such a peculiar condition, says Mohan Singh Lama, an excavation officer at the DoA, challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding mummification of a corpse. Some parts of the mother’s body including limbs were also intact. The discovery was made during an excavation between 1992-1997 by a team that included DoA experts and a Germany-based excavation troupe. Even more intriguing about this finding is that the infant was found sleeping by the bosom of its mother who seemed holding the child tightly. The mother’s posture also played a role in protecting the infant’s body from rotting away, say experts. Normally, decomposition of a buried body starts as soon as it is exposed to bacteria. After bacteria decomposes the ligaments in joints and the fluids holding two bones dry up, bones and joints start to get dismantled.