The BroncWriter

The BroncWriter

  • May 22Yearbooks will be passed out today during 3rd!

  • May 1Last day of school, May 31!

The Mummy: The South American edition

Back to Article
Back to Article

The Mummy: The South American edition

Isaac Beck, Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






  Just about everyone has seen The Mummy (the good one with Brendan Fraser) and has been fascinated by the mummified dead in this movie. The only problem with this movie is the common misconception that the first humans to have mummified their dead were from Egypt, while in reality they are from the driest place on Earth.

  The Chinchorro people settled in coastal bays of the Atacama Desert, in what is present-day Chile, around 7,000 BC and developed a technique for mummification around 5,000 BC which is roughly 2,000 years before the ancient Egyptians. Yet, while the Egyptians were a complex civilization mummifying only the elite pharaohs, the Chinchorro had a more egalitarian approach to honoring the dead.

  Mummification began with babies and fetuses (perhaps due to high fetal mortality in the arsenic-rich desert) before progressing to adults. There were five distinct styles over a span of about 4,000 years and the most prevalent are the black and red mummies. Making the black mummies involved taking the dead person’s body completely apart, treating it and then reassembling it, skin and all. The red ones were created by making small incisions to remove internal organs and then drying the body cavity. Both were typically stuffed with sticks and reeds (to keep the body intact), and adorned with wigs.

  The reason mummies have survived in the Chinchorro desert over the years is because of the extremely arid climate and the high salinity levels near the coast. For the past seven millennia there have been the perfect conditions for preserving mummies. That is, until climate change threw a wrench into the equation.

  The man who found the Chinchorro mummies was a German archeologist named Max Uhle. Uhle discovered the mummies a century ago near the beach in Arica which had the name Chinchorro.  The modern city of Arica lies on top of a vast cemetery of the Chinchorro people. However, the oldest forms of Chinchorro mummification are found 70 miles to the south in Caleta Camarones, a beach that’s barely changed in the 7,000 years since these ancient fishermen began preparing their dead.

  It is always fascinating to learn things that go against the common belief. Most people probably didn’t even know that there were mummies in South America and even less people would know that the oldest mummies in the world reside in the Chinchorro desert. I am just hoping that now they will make a new The Mummy (not with Tom Cruise) and base it out of the Chinchorro desert this time.

About the Writer
Isaac Beck, Staff Reporter

The very humble Isaac Beck is in his senior year. Isaac decided to join Newspaper for all of the friends he has in it. Newspaper is just another activity...

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • The Mummy: The South American edition

    News

    Distinguished Dudes: A Night to Remember

  • The Mummy: The South American edition

    News

    Getting ready for the SAT

  • News

    BHS vampires strike again!

  • The Mummy: The South American edition

    Features

    Blackfoot Movie Mill finally finished!

  • The Mummy: The South American edition

    News

    Blackfoot High School charity auction

  • The Mummy: The South American edition

    News

    BHS Annual Christmas Auction raises $3,000 over goal

  • The Mummy: The South American edition

    News

    Kelsey Bender Receives Sanford Award

  • The Mummy: The South American edition

    News

    BHS choirs and bands perform Christmas concert

  • News

    Blackfoot softball team spreads Christmas cheer at Stoddard Elementary

  • The Mummy: The South American edition

    News

    Blackfoot High School duet couple wins at competition

Navigate Right
The Mummy: The South American edition