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The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1800 BCE to 200 CE. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin,[1] although the evidence is not totally conclusive.

Research into the subject has attracted controversy, due to ethnic tensions in modern day Xinjiang. There have been concerns that DNA results could affect claims by Uyghur peoples of being indigenous to the region. In comparing the DNA of the mummies to that of modern day Uyghur peoples, Victor H. Mair's team found some genetic similarities with the mummies, but no direct links, stating that "modern DNA and ancient DNA show that Uighurs, Kazaks, Krygyzs, the peoples of Central Asia are all mixed Caucasian and East Asian... the modern and ancient DNA tell the same story." He concludes that the mummies are Caucasoid; that East Asian peoples "began showing up in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3,000 years ago... while the Uighur peoples arrived after the collapse of the Orkon Uighur Kingdom, largely based in modern day Mongolia, around the year 842."[2]

Archeological recordEdit

At the beginning of the 20th century European explorers such as Sven Hedin, Albert von Le Coq and Sir Aurel Stein all recounted their discoveries of desiccated bodies in their search for antiquities in Central Asia.[3] Since then, many other mummies have been found and analysed, most of them now displayed in the museums of Xinjiang. Most of these mummies were found on the eastern (around the area of Lopnur, Subeshi near Turpan, Kroran, Kumul) and southern (Khotan, Niya, Qiemo) edge of the Tarim Basin.

The earliest Tarim mummies, found at Qäwrighul and dated to 1800 BCE, are of a Caucasoid physical type whose closest affiliation is to the Bronze Age populations of southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and the Lower Volga.[4]

The cemetery at Yanbulaq contained 29 mummies which date from 1100–500 BCE, 21 of which are Mongoloid—the earliest Mongoloid mummies found in the Tarim Basin—and 8 of which are of the same Caucasoid physical type found at Qäwrighul.[5]

Notable mummies are the tall, red-haired "Chärchän man" or the "Ur-David" (1000 BCE); his son (1000 BCE), a small 1-year-old baby with brown hair protruding from under a red and blue felt cap, with two stones positioned over its eyes; the "Hami Mummy" (c. 1400–800 BCE), a "red-headed beauty" found in Qizilchoqa; and the "Witches of Subeshi" (4th or 3rd century BCE), who wore Şablon:Convert/LoffAoffDbSmid black felt conical hats with a flat brim.[6] Also found at Subeshi was a man with traces of a surgical operation on his neck; the incision is sewn up with sutures made of horsehair.[7]

Many of the mummies have been found in very good condition, owing to the dryness of the desert and the desiccation it produced in the corpses. The mummies share many typical Caucasoid body features (elongated bodies, angular faces, recessed eyes), and many of them have their hair physically intact, ranging in color from blond to red to deep brown, and generally long, curly and braided. It is not known whether their hair has been bleached by internment in salt. Their costumes, and especially textiles, may indicate a common origin with Indo-European neolithic clothing techniques or a common low-level textile technology. Chärchän man wore a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. Textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber, who examined the tartan-style cloth, discusses similarities between it and fragments recovered from salt mines associated with the Hallstatt culture.[8]

Genetic linksEdit

DNA sequence data[9] shows that the mummies had a Haplogroup R1a (Y-DNA) characteristic of western Eurasia in the area of East-Central Europe, Central Asia and Indus Valley.[10]

A team of Chinese and American researchers working in Sweden tested DNA from 52 separate mummies, including the mummy denoted "Beauty of Loulan." By genetically mapping the mummies' origins, the researchers confirmed the theory that these mummies were of West Eurasian descent. Victor Mair, a University of Pennsylvania professor and project leader for the team that did the genetic mapping, commented that these studies were:

...extremely important because they link up eastern and western Eurasia at a formative stage of civilization (Bronze Age and early Iron Age) in a much closer way than has ever been done before.[11]

An earlier study by Jilin University had found an mtDNA haplotype characteristic of Western Eurasian populations with Europoid genes.[12]

In 2007 the Chinese government allowed a National Geographic team headed by Spencer Wells to examine the mummies' DNA. Wells was able to extract undegraded DNA from the internal tissues. The scientists extracted enough material to suggest the Tarim Basin was continually inhabited from 2000 BCE to 300 BCE and preliminary results indicate the people, rather than having a single origin, originated from Europe, Mesopotamia, Indus Valley and other regions yet to be determined.[13]

However, In 2009, the remains of individuals found at a site in Xiaohe were analyzed for Y-DNA and mtDNA markers. They suggest that an admixed population of both west and east origin lived in the Tarim basin since the early Bronze Age. The maternal lineages were predominantly East Eurasian haplogroup C with smaller numbers of H and K, while the paternal lines were all West Eurasian R1a1a. The geographic location of where this admixing took place is unknown, although south Siberia is likely.[14]

It has been asserted that the textiles found with the mummies are of an early European textile type based on close similarities to fragmentary textiles found in salt mines in Austria, dating from the second millennium BCE. Anthropologist Irene Good, a specialist in early Eurasian textiles, noted the woven diagonal twill pattern indicated the use of a rather sophisticated loom and, she says, the textile is "the easternmost known example of this kind of weaving technique."

Mair claims that "the earliest mummies in the Tarim Basin were exclusively Caucasoid, or Europoid" with east Asian migrants arriving in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin around 3,000 years ago while the Uyghur peoples arrived around the year 842.[2] In trying to trace the origins of these populations, Victor Mair's team suggested that they may have arrived in the region by way of the Pamir Mountains about 5,000 years ago.

This evidence remains controversial. It doesn't disprove the contemporary nationalist claims of the present-day Uyghur peoples who claim that they are the indigenous people of Xinjiang, rather than the Han Chinese. In comparing the DNA of the mummies to that of modern day Uyghur peoples, Mair's team found some genetic similarities with the mummies, but "no direct links".

About the controversy Mair has claimed that:

The new finds are also forcing a reexamination of old Chinese books that describe historical or legendary figures of great height, with deep-set blue or green eyes, long noses, full beards, and red or blond hair. Scholars have traditionally scoffed at these accounts, but it now seems that they may be accurate.[15]

Chinese scientists were initially hesitant to provide access to DNA samples because they were sensitive about the claims of the nationalist Uyghur who claim the Loulan Beauty as their symbol, and to prevent a pillaging of national monuments by foreigners.

Chinese historian Ji Xianlin says China "supported and admired" research by foreign experts into the mummies. "However, within China a small group of ethnic separatists have styled themselves the descendants of these ancient people". Due to the "fear of fuelling separatist currents" the Xinjiang museum, regardless of dating, displays all their mummies both Tarim and Han, together.[2]

Posited origins Edit

Physical anthropologists propose the movement of at least two Caucasoid physical types into the Tarim basin. Mallory and Mair associate these types with the Tocharian and Iranian (Saka) branches of the Indo-European language family, respectively.[16]

B. E. Hemphill's biodistance analysis of cranial metrics (as cited in Şablon:Harvcolnb and Şablon:Harvcolnb) has questioned the identification of the Tarim Basin population as European, noting that the earlier population has close affinities to the Indus Valley population, and the later population with the Oxus River valley population. Because craniometry can produce results which make no sense at all (e.g. the close relationship between Neolithic populations in Ukraine and Portugal) and therefore lack any historical meaning, any putative genetic relationship must be consistent with geographical plausibility and have the support of other evidence.[17]

Han Kangxin, who examined the skulls of 302 mummies, found the closest relatives of the earlier Tarim Basin population in the populations of the Afanasevo culture situated immediately north of the Tarim Basin and the Andronovo culture that spanned Kazakhstan and reached southwards into West Central Asia and the Altai.[18]

It is the Afanasevo culture to which Mallory & Mair (2000:294–296, 314–318) trace the earliest Bronze Age settlers of the Tarim and Turpan basins. The Afanasevo culture (c. 3500–2500 BCE) displays cultural and genetic connections with the Indo-European-associated cultures of the Eurasian Steppe yet predates the specifically Indo-Iranian-associated Andronovo culture (c. 2000–900 BCE) enough to isolate the Tocharian languages from Indo-Iranian linguistic innovations like satemization.[19]

Hemphill & Mallory (2004) confirm a second Caucasoid physical type at Alwighul (700–1 BCE) and Krorän (200 CE) different from the earlier one found at Qäwrighul (1800 BCE) and Yanbulaq (1100–500 BCE):

Şablon:Quotation1

Mallory and Mair associate this later (700 BCE–200 CE) Caucasoid physical type with the populations who introduced the Iranian Saka language to the western part of the Tarim basin.[20]

Mair concluded:

"From the evidence available, we have found that during the first 1,000 years after the Loulan Beauty, the only settlers in the Tarim Basin were Caucasoid. East Asian peoples only began showing up in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3,000 years ago, Mair said, while the Uighur peoples arrived after the collapse of the Orkon Uighur Kingdom, largely based in modern day Mongolia, around the year 842."[2]

Historical records and associated textsEdit

TochariansEdit

The Indo-European Tocharian languages also have been attested in the same geographical area, and although the first known epigraphic evidence dates to the 6th century CE, the degree of differentiation between Tocharian A and Tocharian B, and the absence of Tocharian language remains beyond that area, tends to indicate that a common Tocharian language existed in the same area during the second half of the 1st millennium BCE. Although Tocharian texts have never been found in direct relation with the mummies, their identical geographical location and common non-Chinese origin suggest that the mummies were related to the Tocharians and spoke a similar Indo-European language.

The Tocharian were described as having full beards, deep-set eyes and high noses and with no sign of decline as attestation in the Chinese sources for the past 1,000 years. This was first noted after the Tocharian had come under the steppe nomads and Chinese subjugation. During the 3rd to 4th century CE, the Tocharian reached their height by incorporating adjoining states.[21]

YuezhiEdit

Reference to the Yuezhi name in Guanzi was made around 7th century BCE by the Chinese economist Guan Zhong, though the book is generally considered to be a forgery of later generations.[22]Şablon:Rp The attributed author, Guan Zhong described the Yuzhi 禺氏, or Niuzhi 牛氏, as a people from the north-west who supplied jade to the Chinese from the nearby mountains of Yuzhi 禺氏 at Gansu. A large part of the Yuezhi, vanquished by the Xiongnu, were to migrate to southern Asia in the 2nd century BCE, and later establish the Kushan Empire.

Roman accountsEdit

Pliny the Elder (, Chap XXIV "Taprobane") reports a curious description of the Seres (in the territories of northwestern China) made by an embassy from Taprobane (Ceylon) to Emperor Claudius, saying that they "exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking", suggesting they may be referring to the ancient Caucasian populations of the Tarim Basin:

"They also informed us that the side of their island (Taprobane) which lies opposite to India is ten thousand stadia in length, and runs in a south-easterly direction—that beyond the Emodian Mountains (Himalayas) they look towards the Serve (Seres), whose acquaintance they had also made in the pursuits of commerce; that the father of Rachias (the ambassador) had frequently visited their country, and that the Seræ always came to meet them on their arrival. These people, they said, exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking, having no language of their own for the purpose of communicating their thoughts. The rest of their information (on the Serae) was of a similar nature to that communicated by our merchants. It was to the effect that the merchandise on sale was left by them upon the opposite bank of a river on their coast, and it was then removed by the natives, if they thought proper to deal on terms of exchange. On no grounds ought luxury with greater reason to be detested by us, than if we only transport our thoughts to these scenes, and then reflect, what are its demands, to what distant spots it sends in order to satisfy them, and for how mean and how unworthy an end!"

Arguments for the occurrence of cultural transmission from West to East Edit

The presence of speakers of Indo-European languages in the Tarim Basin in the third or early second millennium BCE has been interpreted as evidence that cultural exchanges occurred among Indo-European and Chinese populations at a very early date, but the culture and technology in the northwest region was less advanced[kaynak belirtilmeli] than that in the Yellow River-Erlitou (2070BCE~1600BCE) or Majiayao culture (3100BCE~2600BCE), which is earliest bronze using culture in China, shows on the region of northwest didn't use copper or any metal until the technology of bronze making was introduced by Shang Dynasty in China about 1600BC to this region.

The Chinese official Zhang Qian, who visited Bactria and Sogdiana in 126 BCE, made the first known Chinese report on many regions to the west of China. He believed he discerned Greek influences in some of these kingdoms. He names Parthia "Ānxī" (Chinese: 安息), a transliteration of "Arsacid", the name of the Parthian dynasty. Zhang Qian clearly identifies Parthia as an advanced urban civilization that farmed grain and grapes, and manufactured silver coins and leather goods.[23] Zhang Qian equated Parthia's level of advancement to the cultures of Dayuan in Ferghana and Daxia in Bactria.

The supplying of Tarim Basin jade to China from ancient times is well established, according to Liu (2001): "It is well known that ancient Chinese rulers had a strong attachment to jade. All of the jade items excavated from the tomb of Fuhao of the Shang dynasty, more than 750 pieces, were from Khotan in modern Xinjiang. As early as the mid-first millennium BCE the Yuezhi engaged in the jade trade, of which the major consumers were the rulers of agricultural China."

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. Baumer (2000), p. 28.
  2. 2,0 2,1 2,2 2,3 Şablon hatası:başlık gerekiyor.
  3. Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 10.
  4. Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 237.
  5. Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 237.
  6. Though modern Westerners tend to identify this type of hat as the headgear of a witch, there is evidence that these pointed hats were widely worn by both women and men in some Central Asian tribes. For instance, the Persian king Darius recorded a victory over the "Sakas of the pointed hats". The Subeshi headgear is likely an ethnic badge or a symbol of position in the society.
  7. "The Mummies of Xinjiang" Discover April 1, 1994
  8. Christopher P. Thornton and Theodore G. Schurr, "Genes, language, and culture: an example from the tarim basin", in: Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Volume 23 Issue 1, pp 83-106, 2004
  9. Şablon hatası:başlık gerekiyor.
  10. Evidence that a West-East admixed population lived in the Tarim Basin as early as the Bronze Age, Chunxiang Li et al., BMC Biology, 17 February 2010
  11. Şablon hatası:başlık gerekiyor.
  12. Mitochondrial DNA analysis of human remains from the Yuansha site in Xinjiang Science in China Series C: Life Sciences Volume 51, Number 3 / March, 2008
  13. DNA Profiles Amanda Huang
  14. Li, Chunxiang. "Evidence that a West-East admixed population lived in the Tarim Basin as early as the early Bronze Age". BMC Biology. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/15#IDAH0OBH. Retrieved 17 February 2010. 
  15. Mair, Victor H., "Mummies of the Tarim Basin," Archaeology, vol. 48, no. 2, pages 28-35 (March/April 1995); the quote appears on page 30 of this article.
  16. Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 317-318.
  17. Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 236.
  18. Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 236-237.
  19. Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 260, 294–296, 314–318.
  20. Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 318.
  21. Yu (2003), pp. 34-57, 77-88, 96-103.
  22. Liu, Jianguo (2004), Distinguishing and Correcting the pre-Qin Forged Classics, Xi'an: Shaanxi People's Press, ISBN 7-224-05725-8 
  23. Silk Road, North China, C. Michael Hogan, The Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham (2007)

ReferencesEdit

External links Edit

Koordinatlar: Şablon:Coord/dec2dms/dmsN Şablon:Coord/dec2dms/dmsE / 40.336453°N 88.672422°E / 40.336453; 88.672422


ar:مومياوات تاريم eo:Tarim-mumioj fr:Momies du Tarim it:Mummie del Tarim lt:Tarimo mumijos ja:楼蘭の美女 no:Tarim-mumiene pl:Piękność z Loulan ru:Таримские мумии sv:Takla Makan-mumierna



The Tarim mummies are a series of mummies discovered in the Tarim Basin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1800 BCE to 200 CE. Some of the mummies are frequently associated with the presence of the Indo-European Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin,[1] although the evidence is not totally conclusive.

Research into the subject has attracted controversy, due to ethnic tensions in modern day Xinjiang. There have been concerns that DNA results could affect claims by Uyghur peoples of being indigenous to the region. In comparing the DNA of the mummies to that of modern day Uyghur peoples, Victor H. Mair's team found some genetic similarities with the mummies, but no direct links, stating that "modern DNA and ancient DNA show that Uighurs, Kazaks, Krygyzs, the peoples of Central Asia are all mixed Caucasian and East Asian... the modern and ancient DNA tell the same story." He concludes that the mummies are Caucasoid; that East Asian peoples "began showing up in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3,000 years ago... while the Uighur peoples arrived after the collapse of the Orkon Uighur Kingdom, largely based in modern day Mongolia, around the year 842."[2]

ContentsEdit

[hide]*1 Archeological record

  • 2 Genetic links
  • 3 Posited origins
  • 4 Historical records and associated texts
    • 4.1 Tocharians
    • 4.2 Yuezhi
    • 4.3 Roman accounts
  • 5 Arguments for the occurrence of cultural transmission from West to East
  • 6 See also
  • 7 Footnotes
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] Archeological recordEdit

At the beginning of the 20th century European explorers such as Sven Hedin, Albert von Le Coq and Sir Aurel Stein all recounted their discoveries of desiccated bodies in their search for antiquities in Central Asia.[3] Since then, many other mummies have been found and analysed, most of them now displayed in the museums of Xinjiang. Most of these mummies were found on the eastern (around the area of Lopnur, Subeshi near Turpan, Kroran, Kumul) and southern (Khotan, Niya, Qiemo) edge of the Tarim Basin.

The earliest Tarim mummies, found at Qäwrighul and dated to 1800 BCE, are of a Caucasoid physical type whose closest affiliation is to the Bronze Age populations of southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and the Lower Volga.[4]

The cemetery at Yanbulaq contained 29 mummies which date from 1100–500 BCE, 21 of which are Mongoloid—the earliest Mongoloid mummies found in the Tarim Basin—and 8 of which are of the same Caucasoid physical type found at Qäwrighul.[5]

Notable mummies are the tall, red-haired "Chärchän man" or the "Ur-David" (1000 BCE); his son (1000 BCE), a small 1-year-old baby with brown hair protruding from under a red and blue felt cap, with two stones positioned over its eyes; the "Hami Mummy" (c. 1400–800 BCE), a "red-headed beauty" found in Qizilchoqa; and the "Witches of Subeshi" (4th or 3rd century BCE), who wore 2-foot-long (0.61 m) black felt conical hats with a flat brim.[6] Also found at Subeshi was a man with traces of a surgical operation on his neck; the incision is sewn up with sutures made of horsehair.[7]

Many of the mummies have been found in very good condition, owing to the dryness of the desert and the desiccation it produced in the corpses. The mummies share many typical Caucasoid body features (elongated bodies, angular faces, recessed eyes), and many of them have their hair physically intact, ranging in color from blond to red to deep brown, and generally long, curly and braided. It is not known whether their hair has been bleached by internment in salt. Their costumes, and especially textiles, may indicate a common origin with Indo-European neolithic clothing techniques or a common low-level textile technology. Chärchän man wore a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. Textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber, who examined the tartan-style cloth, discusses similarities between it and fragments recovered from salt mines associated with the Hallstatt culture.[8]

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] Genetic linksEdit

DNA sequence data[9] shows that the mummies had a Haplogroup R1a (Y-DNA) characteristic of western Eurasia in the area of East-Central Europe, Central Asia and Indus Valley.[10]

A team of Chinese and American researchers working in Sweden tested DNA from 52 separate mummies, including the mummy denoted "Beauty of Loulan." By genetically mapping the mummies' origins, the researchers confirmed the theory that these mummies were of West Eurasian descent. Victor Mair, a University of Pennsylvania professor and project leader for the team that did the genetic mapping, commented that these studies were:

...extremely important because they link up eastern and western Eurasia at a formative stage of civilization (Bronze Age and early Iron Age) in a much closer way than has ever been done before.[11]

An earlier study by Jilin University had found an mtDNA haplotype characteristic of Western Eurasian populations with Europoid genes.[12]

In 2007 the Chinese government allowed a National Geographic team headed by Spencer Wells to examine the mummies' DNA. Wells was able to extract undegraded DNA from the internal tissues. The scientists extracted enough material to suggest the Tarim Basin was continually inhabited from 2000 BCE to 300 BCE and preliminary results indicate the people, rather than having a single origin, originated from Europe, Mesopotamia, Indus Valley and other regions yet to be determined.[13]

However, In 2009, the remains of individuals found at a site in Xiaohe were analyzed for Y-DNA and mtDNA markers. They suggest that an admixed population of both west and east origin lived in the Tarim basin since the early Bronze Age. The maternal lineages were predominantly East Eurasian haplogroup C with smaller numbers of H and K, while the paternal lines were all West Eurasian R1a1a. The geographic location of where this admixing took place is unknown, although south Siberia is likely.[14]

It has been asserted that the textiles found with the mummies are of an early European textile type based on close similarities to fragmentary textiles found in salt mines in Austria, dating from the second millennium BCE. Anthropologist Irene Good, a specialist in early Eurasian textiles, noted the woven diagonal twill pattern indicated the use of a rather sophisticated loom and, she says, the textile is "the easternmost known example of this kind of weaving technique."

Mair claims that "the earliest mummies in the Tarim Basin were exclusively Caucasoid, or Europoid" with east Asian migrants arriving in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin around 3,000 years ago while the Uyghur peoples arrived around the year 842.[2] In trying to trace the origins of these populations, Victor Mair's team suggested that they may have arrived in the region by way of the Pamir Mountains about 5,000 years ago.

This evidence remains controversial. It doesn't disprove the contemporary nationalist claims of the present-day Uyghur peoples who claim that they are the indigenous people of Xinjiang, rather than the Han Chinese. In comparing the DNA of the mummies to that of modern day Uyghur peoples, Mair's team found some genetic similarities with the mummies, but "no direct links".

About the controversy Mair has claimed that:

The new finds are also forcing a reexamination of old Chinese books that describe historical or legendary figures of great height, with deep-set blue or green eyes, long noses, full beards, and red or blond hair. Scholars have traditionally scoffed at these accounts, but it now seems that they may be accurate.[15]

Chinese scientists were initially hesitant to provide access to DNA samples because they were sensitive about the claims of the nationalist Uyghur who claim the Loulan Beauty as their symbol, and to prevent a pillaging of national monuments by foreigners.

Chinese historian Ji Xianlin says China "supported and admired" research by foreign experts into the mummies. "However, within China a small group of ethnic separatists have styled themselves the descendants of these ancient people". Due to the "fear of fuelling separatist currents" the Xinjiang museum, regardless of dating, displays all their mummies both Tarim and Han, together.[2]

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] Posited originsEdit

Physical anthropologists propose the movement of at least two Caucasoid physical types into the Tarim basin. Mallory and Mair associate these types with the Tocharian and Iranian (Saka) branches of the Indo-European language family, respectively.[16]

B. E. Hemphill's biodistance analysis of cranial metrics (as cited in Larsen 2002 and Schurr 2001) has questioned the identification of the Tarim Basin population as European, noting that the earlier population has close affinities to the Indus Valley population, and the later population with the Oxus River valley population. Because craniometry can produce results which make no sense at all (e.g. the close relationship between Neolithic populations in Ukraine and Portugal) and therefore lack any historical meaning, any putative genetic relationship must be consistent with geographical plausibility and have the support of other evidence.[17]

Han Kangxin, who examined the skulls of 302 mummies, found the closest relatives of the earlier Tarim Basin population in the populations of the Afanasevo culture situated immediately north of the Tarim Basin and the Andronovo culture that spanned Kazakhstan and reached southwards into West Central Asia and the Altai.[18]

It is the Afanasevo culture to which Mallory & Mair (2000:294–296, 314–318) trace the earliest Bronze Age settlers of the Tarim and Turpan basins. The Afanasevo culture (c. 3500–2500 BCE) displays cultural and genetic connections with the Indo-European-associated cultures of the Eurasian Steppe yet predates the specifically Indo-Iranian-associated Andronovo culture (c. 2000–900 BCE) enough to isolate the Tocharian languages from Indo-Iranian linguistic innovations like satemization.[19]

Hemphill & Mallory (2004) confirm a second Caucasoid physical type at Alwighul (700–1 BCE) and Krorän (200 CE) different from the earlier one found at Qäwrighul (1800 BCE) and Yanbulaq (1100–500 BCE):

This study confirms the assertion of Han [1998] that the occupants of Alwighul and Krorän are not derived from proto-European steppe populations, but share closest affinities with Eastern Mediterranean populations. Further, the results demonstrate that such Eastern Mediterraneans may also be found at the urban centers of the Oxus civilization located in the north Bactrian oasis to the west. Affinities are especially close between Krorän, the latest of the Xinjiang samples, and Sapalli, the earliest of the Bactrian samples, while Alwighul and later samples from Bactria exhibit more distant phenetic affinities. This pattern may reflect a possible major shift in interregional contacts in Central Asia in the early centuries of the second millennium BCE.

Mallory and Mair associate this later (700 BCE–200 CE) Caucasoid physical type with the populations who introduced the Iranian Saka language to the western part of the Tarim basin.[20]

Mair concluded:

"From the evidence available, we have found that during the first 1,000 years after the Loulan Beauty, the only settlers in the Tarim Basin were Caucasoid. East Asian peoples only began showing up in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3,000 years ago, Mair said, while the Uighur peoples arrived after the collapse of the Orkon Uighur Kingdom, largely based in modern day Mongolia, around the year 842."[2]

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] Historical records and associated textsEdit

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] TochariansEdit

The Indo-European Tocharian languages also have been attested in the same geographical area, and although the first known epigraphic evidence dates to the 6th century CE, the degree of differentiation between Tocharian A and Tocharian B, and the absence of Tocharian language remains beyond that area, tends to indicate that a common Tocharian language existed in the same area during the second half of the 1st millennium BCE. Although Tocharian texts have never been found in direct relation with the mummies, their identical geographical location and common non-Chinese origin suggest that the mummies were related to the Tocharians and spoke a similar Indo-European language.

The Tocharian were described as having full beards, deep-set eyes and high noses and with no sign of decline as attestation in the Chinese sources for the past 1,000 years. This was first noted after the Tocharian had come under the steppe nomads and Chinese subjugation. During the 3rd to 4th century CE, the Tocharian reached their height by incorporating adjoining states.[21]

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] YuezhiEdit

Reference to the Yuezhi name in Guanzi was made around 7th century BCE by the Chinese economist Guan Zhong, though the book is generally considered to be a forgery of later generations.[22]:115-127 The attributed author, Guan Zhong described the Yuzhi 禺氏, or Niuzhi 牛氏, as a people from the north-west who supplied jade to the Chinese from the nearby mountains of Yuzhi 禺氏 at Gansu. A large part of the Yuezhi, vanquished by the Xiongnu, were to migrate to southern Asia in the 2nd century BCE, and later establish the Kushan Empire.

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] Roman accountsEdit

Pliny the Elder (, Chap XXIV "Taprobane") reports a curious description of the Seres (in the territories of northwestern China) made by an embassy from Taprobane (Ceylon) to Emperor Claudius, saying that they "exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking", suggesting they may be referring to the ancient Caucasian populations of the Tarim Basin:

"They also informed us that the side of their island (Taprobane) which lies opposite to India is ten thousand stadia in length, and runs in a south-easterly direction—that beyond the Emodian Mountains (Himalayas) they look towards the Serve (Seres), whose acquaintance they had also made in the pursuits of commerce; that the father of Rachias (the ambassador) had frequently visited their country, and that the Seræ always came to meet them on their arrival. These people, they said, exceeded the ordinary human height, had flaxen hair, and blue eyes, and made an uncouth sort of noise by way of talking, having no language of their own for the purpose of communicating their thoughts. The rest of their information (on the Serae) was of a similar nature to that communicated by our merchants. It was to the effect that the merchandise on sale was left by them upon the opposite bank of a river on their coast, and it was then removed by the natives, if they thought proper to deal on terms of exchange. On no grounds ought luxury with greater reason to be detested by us, than if we only transport our thoughts to these scenes, and then reflect, what are its demands, to what distant spots it sends in order to satisfy them, and for how mean and how unworthy an end!"

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] Arguments for the occurrence of cultural transmission from West to EastEdit

The presence of speakers of Indo-European languages in the Tarim Basin in the third or early second millennium BCE has been interpreted as evidence that cultural exchanges occurred among Indo-European and Chinese populations at a very early date, but the culture and technology in the northwest region was less advanced[citation needed] than that in the Yellow River-Erlitou (2070BCE~1600BCE) or Majiayao culture (3100BCE~2600BCE), which is earliest bronze using culture in China, shows on the region of northwest didn't use copper or any metal until the technology of bronze making was introduced by Shang Dynasty in China about 1600BC to this region.

The Chinese official Zhang Qian, who visited Bactria and Sogdiana in 126 BCE, made the first known Chinese report on many regions to the west of China. He believed he discerned Greek influences in some of these kingdoms. He names Parthia "Ānxī" (Chinese: 安息), a transliteration of "Arsacid", the name of the Parthian dynasty. Zhang Qian clearly identifies Parthia as an advanced urban civilization that farmed grain and grapes, and manufactured silver coins and leather goods.[23] Zhang Qian equated Parthia's level of advancement to the cultures of Dayuan in Ferghana and Daxia in Bactria.

The supplying of Tarim Basin jade to China from ancient times is well established, according to Liu (2001): "It is well known that ancient Chinese rulers had a strong attachment to jade. All of the jade items excavated from the tomb of Fuhao of the Shang dynasty, more than 750 pieces, were from Khotan in modern Xinjiang. As early as the mid-first millennium BCE the Yuezhi engaged in the jade trade, of which the major consumers were the rulers of agricultural China."

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] See alsoEdit

  • Pazyryk
  • Pontic-Caspian steppe
  • Dzungarian Gate

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ Baumer (2000), p. 28.
  2. ^ a b c d "The mystery of China's celtic mummies". The Independent. August 28, 2006. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/a-meeting-of-civilisations-the-mystery-of-chinas-celtic-mummies-413638.html. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  3. ^ Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 10.
  4. ^ Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 237.
  5. ^ Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 237.
  6. ^ Though modern Westerners tend to identify this type of hat as the headgear of a witch, there is evidence that these pointed hats were widely worn by both women and men in some Central Asian tribes. For instance, the Persian king Darius recorded a victory over the "Sakas of the pointed hats". The Subeshi headgear is likely an ethnic badge or a symbol of position in the society.
  7. ^ "The Mummies of Xinjiang" Discover April 1, 1994
  8. ^ Christopher P. Thornton and Theodore G. Schurr, "Genes, language, and culture: an example from the tarim basin", in: Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Volume 23 Issue 1, pp 83-106, 2004
  9. ^ Saiget, Robert J. (2005-04-19). "Caucasians preceded East Asians in basin" (in English). The Washington Times (News World Communications). Archived from the original on 2005-04-20. http://web.archive.org/web/20050420224622/http://washingtontimes.com/world/20050419-101056-2135r.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-20. "A study last year by Jilin University also found that the mummies' DNA had Europoid genes."
  10. ^ Evidence that a West-East admixed population lived in the Tarim Basin as early as the Bronze Age, Chunxiang Li et al., BMC Biology, 17 February 2010
  11. ^ Robertson, Benjamin (2006-05-14). "China history unravelled by mummies" (in English). Al Jazeera English (Aljazeera.net). http://english.aljazeera.net/English/archive/archive?ArchiveId=22772. Retrieved 2007-08-20.
  12. ^ Mitochondrial DNA analysis of human remains from the Yuansha site in Xinjiang Science in China Series C: Life Sciences Volume 51, Number 3 / March, 2008
  13. ^ DNA Profiles Amanda Huang
  14. ^ Li, Chunxiang. "Evidence that a West-East admixed population lived in the Tarim Basin as early as the early Bronze Age". BMC Biology. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/15#IDAH0OBH. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  15. ^ Mair, Victor H., "Mummies of the Tarim Basin," Archaeology, vol. 48, no. 2, pages 28-35 (March/April 1995); the quote appears on page 30 of this article.
  16. ^ Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 317-318.
  17. ^ Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 236.
  18. ^ Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 236-237.
  19. ^ Mallory & Mair (2000), pp. 260, 294–296, 314–318.
  20. ^ Mallory & Mair (2000), p. 318.
  21. ^ Yu (2003), pp. 34-57, 77-88, 96-103.
  22. ^ Liu, Jianguo (2004), Distinguishing and Correcting the pre-Qin Forged Classics, Xi'an: Shaanxi People's Press, ISBN 7-224-05725-8
  23. ^ Silk Road, North China, C. Michael Hogan, The Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham (2007)

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] ReferencesEdit

[[[Tarim mummies|edit]]] External linksEdit

Coordinates: 40°20′11″N 88°40′21″E / 40.336453°N 88.672422°E / 40.336453; 88.672422 Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarim_mummies"Categories (++): Archaeology of China (−) (±) (×) | Mummies (−) (±) (×) | Human remains (archaeological) (−) (±) (×) | Central Asian studies (−) (±) (×) | Tocharians (−) (±) (×) | (+)Hidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from December 2010

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