Sharing more of our forgotten past.
~ I hope you enjoy THE BEAUTY OF XIAOHE. (EUROPEANS IN CHINA 4000 YEARS AGO)
A 4,000-year-old graveyard known as Small River Cemetery No. 5, situated in the fearsome Taklimakan Desert
north of Tibet in China’s autonomous region of Xinjiang, has presented some puzzles. The cemetery, alongside a now dried-up riverbed, was originally discovered by a Swedish archæologist in 1934, but its whereabouts became lost until a recent Chinese expedition rediscovered it. Excavations took place between 2003 and 2005, and around 200 mummies were uncovered. They were well preserved due to the dry air, and display European features, with long noses and brown hair. Some of the mummies, including a particularly well preserved female nicknamed the Beauty of Loulan (or of Xiaohe), were analysed by Chinese geneticists and shown to have a mix of European and Siberian genetic markers. The males were found to have a Y-chromosome found in northern and eastern European populations, while the mitochondrial DNA (passed down the female line) showed one lineage found in Siberia and two common to Europe.
The mummies were buried inside coffins like upturned boats, and each had a 4m pole projecting vertically from it – the females had poles that the archæologists figured displayed phallic symbolism, while the males had oar-shaped ones that archæologists think represented the vulva. There were also grave goods inside the coffins, including woven baskets, masks and bundles of the psychoactive herb, ephedra. Life-size wooden phalluses were found in some of the women’s coffins. Whoever these unknown people were, they had lived in the region when it was more hospitable than the arid wilderness it is now.
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