Surprise! The world’s oldest mummies are not in Egypt
Mark Johanson, CNN
6 minute read
7:10 AM EDT, Wed May 1, 2019
A ritualistic burial. Many Chinchorro mummies were laid to rest with clay masks and wigs -- a complex burial act for the hunter-gatherers who created them.
A deadly desert environment. Mummification began with fetuses and children before progressing over the years to include adults, too. Physical anthropologist Bernardo Arriaza surmises that this may be due to high infant mortality in the arsenic-rich desert in which the Chinchorro lived.
Chile's northernmost outpost. The modern-day city of Arica lies on top of an ancient cemetery of the Chinchorro culture. It's not uncommon for construction teams to come across mummies when building new homes.