Can Unesco status save the world’s oldest mummies?

In 1917, German archeologist Max Uhle was surveying the sun-zapped coast of the world’s driest desert when he came across a peculiar collection of human remains. Digging into the khaki-colored earth, he uncovered bodies deformed with sticks and reeds, their heads decorated with elaborate wigs and evocative masks of red and black clay. These early humans, discovered in Chile’s Atacama Desert near the city of Arica, would come to be known as the Chinchorro mummies. The bodies of a dozen early hunter-gatherers—from populations that roamed the coastlines of northern Chile and southern Peru from about 7,000 to 1,500 B.C.—would be excavated, recorded, and then largely forgotten for another 50 years… (continue reading at National Geographic)

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