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Thread: Tocharians: The Mysterious Europoid Mummies of China

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    Tarim Basin Mummies

    Tarim Basin Mummies

    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.[2] 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.[3]

    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.[4]

    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 blond hair protruding from under a red and blue felt cap, and blue stones in place of the 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 two foot long black felt conical hats with a flat brim.[5] 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.[6]







    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, claims it can be traced back to Anatolia, the Caucasus and the steppe area north of the Black Sea.[7]

    DNA sequence data[8] shows that the mummies had a haplotype characteristic of western Eurasia in the area of Ukraine.



    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.[9]

    An earlier study by Jilin University had found an mtDNA haplotype characteristic of Western Eurasian populations with Europoid genes.[10]


    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, India and other regions yet to be determined.[11]

    The textiles found with the mummies are of an early European textile and weave type and are similar to textiles found on the bodies of salt miners in Austria of around 1300 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 states 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.[7] 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 forbidding Pamir Mountains about 5,000 years ago.

    This evidence remains controversial. It refutes 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".


    History of Xinjiang

    According to J.P. Mallory, the Chinese sources describe the existence of "white people with long hair" or the Bai people in the Shan Hai Jing, who lived beyond their northwestern border.[11]

    The well-preserved Tarim mummies with Caucasoid features, often with reddish or blond hair, today displayed at the Ürümqi Museum and dated to the 3rd century BC, have been found in precisely the same area of the Tarim Basin.[12] Various nomadic tribes, such as the Yuezhi were part of the large migration of Indo-European speaking peoples who were settled in eastern Central Asia (possibly as far as Gansu) at that time. The Ordos culture situated at northern China east of the Yuezhi, are another example.

    Nomadic cultures such as the Yuezhi are documented in the area of Xinjiang where the first known reference to the Yuezhi was made in 645 BC by the Chinese Guan Zhong in his Guanzi 管子(Guanzi Essays: 73: 78: 80: 81). He 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.[13] The supply of jade[14] from the Tarim Basin from ancient times is indeed well documented archaeologically: "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 BC the Yuezhi engaged in the jade trade, of which the major consumers were the rulers of agricultural China.".[15]

    The nomadic tribes of the Yuezhi are also documented in detail in Chinese historical accounts, in particular the 2nd-1st century BC "Records of the Great Historian", or Shiji, by Sima Qian, which state that they "were flourishing" but regularly in conflict with the neighboring tribe of the Xiongnu to the northeast. According to these accounts:

    The Yuezhi originally lived in the area between the Qilian or Heavenly Mountains (Tian Shan) and Dunhuang, but after they were defeated by the Xiongnu they moved far away to the west, beyond Dayuan, where they attacked and conquered the people of Daxia and set up the court of their king on the northern bank of the Gui [= Oxus] River. A small number of their people who were unable to make the journey west sought refuge among the Qiang barbarians in the Southern Mountains, where they are known as the Lesser Yuezhi.[16]

    http://ladyvirag.wordpress.com/felt-...basin-mummies/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarim_mummies
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinjiang
    http://www.meshrep.com/PicOfDay/mummies/mummies.htm

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    Pictures of some modern Uyghurs from this same area:











    What we see is a gradation of types, some being more europid looking, others mongoloid, and variants which are somewhere between the two.
    Some Uyghurs may also be partially descended from this people who were found in the Tarim Basin- Yuezhi, as I'll call them.

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    R1a1 in the Tarim Basin



    BMC Biology Research Article

    Background

    The Tarim Basin, located on the ancient Silk Road, played a very important role in the history of human migration and cultural communications between the West and the East. However, both the exact period at which the relevant events occurred and the origins of the people in the area remain very obscure. In this paper, we present data from the analyses of both Y chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) derived from human remains excavated from the Xiaohe cemetery, the oldest archeological site with human remains discovered in the Tarim Basin thus far.

    Results

    Mitochondrial DNA analysis showed that the Xiaohe people carried both the East Eurasian haplogroup (C) and the West Eurasian haplogroups (H and K), whereas Y chromosomal DNA analysis revealed only the West Eurasian haplogroup R1a1a in the male individuals.

    Conclusion

    Our results demonstrated that the Xiaohe people were an admixture from populations originating from both the West and the East, implying that the Tarim Basin had been occupied by an admixed population since the early Bronze Age. To our knowledge, this is the earliest genetic evidence of an admixed population settled in the Tarim Basin.

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/15/abstract

    ________________________________________ ______________________



    The haplotype associated with the Tarim Basin mummies, R1a1, is also common in Scandinavia, with the highest levels in Norway and Iceland, and in Eastern Europe, Lithuania, Estonia and Hungary, and in Asia in Brahmins in India, Ishkashimis, Khojant Tajiks, Kyrgyzs, and in several peoples of Russia's Altai Republic, and at high levels in the Bonan, Dongxiang, Salar, and Uyghurs.


    ________________________________________ ____________________

    Distribution of R1a1a (R-M17 or R-M198)

    Frequency distribution of R1a1a, also known as R-M17 and R-M198, adapted from Underhill et al (2009).
    Further information: List of R1a frequency by population
    Further information: Y-DNA haplogroups by ethnic groups

    R1a has been found in high frequency at both the eastern and western ends of its core range, for example in some parts of India and Tajikistan on the one hand, and Poland on the other. Throughout all of these regions, R1a is dominated by the R1a1a (R-M17 or R-M198) sub-clade.

    South Asia

    In South Asia R1a1a has been observed, often with high frequency,[9][10] in a number of demographic groups, in India such as the West Bengal Brahmins(72.22%)[11], Konkanastha Brahmins(48.00%)[12]; Manipuri(50%)[2], the Khatri (67%)[13]; Hindus in Nepal/India (69%)[14] and in Punjab (47%);[15] and the Mohanna (71%) and Sindhi (49%) in Pakistan.[2] . In Dravidian Brahmins, Iyengers show R1a at 31%[16]. It has also been found in several South Indian Dravidian-speaking tribes including the Chenchu and Valmikis of Andhra Pradesh and the Kallar of Tamil Nadu suggesting that M17 is widespread in tribal southern Indians.[15] To the south of India, it has also been found in >10% of Sinhalese in Sri Lanka.[15]

    Europe

    In Europe, R1a, again almost entirely in the R1a1a sub-clade, is found at highest levels among peoples of Eastern European descent (Sorbs, Poles, Russians and Ukrainians; 50 to 65%).[17][18][19] In the Baltic countries R1a frequencies decrease from Lithuania (45%) to Estonia (around 30%).[20] Levels in Hungarians have been noted between 20 and 60% [21]

    There is a significant presence in peoples of Scandinavian descent, with highest levels in Norway and Iceland, where between 20 and 30% of men are in R1a1a.[22][23] Vikings and Normans may have also carried the R1a1a lineage westward; accounting for at least part of the small presence in the British Isles.[24][25][26][27]

    In Southern Europe R1a1a is not normally common but it is widespread. Significant levels have been found in pockets, such as in the Pas Valley in Northern Spain, areas of Venice, and Calabria in Italy.[28] The Balkans shows lower frequencies, and significant variation between areas, for example >30% in Slovenia, Croatia and Greek Macedonia, but <10% in Albania, Kosovo and parts of Greece.[19][29][30]

    The remains of three individuals, from an archaeological site discovered in 2005 near Eulau (in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) and dated to about 2600 BCE, tested positive for the Y-SNP marker SRY10831.2.[31] The R1a1 clade was thus present in Europe at least 4600 years ago, and appears associated with the Corded Ware culture.[32]
    Central and Northern Asia

    R1a1a frequencies vary widely between populations within central and northern parts of Eurasia, but it is found in areas including Western China and Eastern Siberia. This big variation is possibly a consequence of population bottlenecks in isolated areas and the movements of Scythians and Turco-Mongols during the historic period. For example, exceptionally high frequencies of R1a1a (R-M17 or R-M198; 50 to 70%) are found among the Ishkashimis, Khojant Tajiks, Kyrgyzs, and in several peoples of Russia's Altai Republic.[33][34][35] Although levels are comparatively low amongst some Turkic-speaking groups (e.g. Turks, Azeris, Kazakhs, Yakuts), levels are very high in certain Turkic or Mongolic-speaking groups of Northwestern China, such as the Bonan, Dongxiang, Salar, and Uyghurs.[33][36][37] R1a1a is also found among certain indigenous Eastern Siberians, including:Kamchatkans and Chukotkans, and peaking in Itel'man at 22%.[38]

    Middle East and Caucasus

    R1a1a has been found in various forms, in most parts of Western Asia, in widely varying concentrations, from almost no presence in areas such as Jordan, to much higher levels in parts of Turkey and Iran.[39][40]

    Wells et al. (2001), noted that in the western part of the country, Iranians show low R1a1a levels, while males of eastern parts of Iran carried up to 35% R1a. Nasidze et al. (2004) found R1a in approximately 20% of Iranian males from the cities of Tehran and Isfahan. Regueiro et al. (2006), in a study of Iran, noted much higher frequencies in the south than the north.

    Turkey also shows high but unevenly distributed R1a levels amongst some sub-populations. For example Nasidze et al. (2005) found relatively high levels amongst Kurds (12%) and Zazas (26%).

    Further to the north of these Middle Eastern regions on the other hand, R1a levels start to increase in the Caucasus, once again in an uneven way. Several populations studied have shown no sign of R1a, while highest levels so far discovered in the region appears to belong to speakers of the Karachay-Balkar language amongst whom about one quarter of men tested so far are in haplogroup R1a1a.[2]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R1a1


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    The White Mummies of China

    Scotsman Magazine on the white mummies of China.

    http://cofcc.org/2010/03/scotsman-ma...mies-of-china/

    [At some point during the tail end of the last ice age, modern Caucasian people began an explosive migration out of Southern Europe and Central Asia. Some even crossing the Bearing Straight and making it into the Western US. We now know that some early Caucasians somehow made it to the Eastern US coast by crossing the Atlantic around the end of the last Ice Age. (See Ice Age Columbus by National Geographic) - ed.]

    Photo Right: This naturally dessicated corpse found in Tarim has a decisively Caucasian skull.

    Scotsman Magazine…

    FOR four millennia their secrets lay hidden beneath the desert sands, the final resting place of a mysterious civilisation. And since their discovery in 1934, the Tarim mummies in China have perplexed historians and archaeologists.

    But a remarkable new study has found that the origins of the inhabitants of the ancient graveyard in the Taklimakan desert north of Tibet lie in Europe.

    A team of Chinese geneticists have analysed the DNA of the Bronze Age cadavers and found that they are of mixed ancestry, displaying both European and Siberian genetic markers.

    One expert in Chinese history at the University of Edinburgh said the tests revealed a “fascinating development”. Professor Paul Bailey said the findings confirmed long-held suspicions that they had travelled to the autonomous region of Xinjiang from the West, well before the opening of the Silk Road in the 2nd century BC.

    The graveyard of more than 200 mummies, known as Small River Cemetery No. 5, lies near a dried-up riverbed in the Tarim Basin, an inhospitable region encircled by mountain ranges.

    The site was discovered by Folke Bergman, the Swedish archaeologist, in 1934 but then lay forgotten for 66 years until a Chinese expedition relocated it using GPS navigation.

    Carbon testing carried out at Beijing University has dated the oldest of the mummies as far back as 3,980 years. However, until recently the history of how they came to be buried in the desert in upside-down boats was unclear.

    That many of the mummies – well preserved thanks to the dry air and salty sands – displayed fair skin, brown hair, and long noses led to some educated guesses.

    Bailey, professor of modern Chinese history at Edinburgh University, said: “There has always been talk of blue-eyed people inhabiting that area of China.”

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/DNA-exp...39s.6168665.jp

    DNA experts reveal China's ancient open door to West

    Published Date: 21 March 2010
    By Martyn McLaughlin

    FOR four millennia their secrets lay hidden beneath the desert sands, the final resting place of a mysterious civilisation. And since their discovery in 1934, the Tarim mummies in China have perplexed historians and archaeologists.

    But a remarkable new study has found that the origins of the inhabitants of the ancient graveyard in the Taklimakan desert north of Tibet lie in Europe.

    A team of Chinese geneticists have analysed the DNA of the Bronze Age cadavers and found that they are of mixed ancestry, displaying both European and Siberian genetic markers.

    One expert in Chinese history at the University of Edinburgh said the tests revealed a "fascinating development". Professor Paul Bailey said the findings confirmed long-held suspicions that they had travelled to the autonomous region of Xinjiang from the West, well before the opening of the Silk Road in the 2nd century BC.

    The graveyard of more than 200 mummies, known as Small River Cemetery No. 5, lies near a dried-up riverbed in the Tarim Basin, an inhospitable region encircled by mountain ranges.

    The site was discovered by Folke Bergman, the Swedish archaeologist, in 1934 but then lay forgotten for 66 years until a Chinese expedition relocated it using GPS navigation.

    Carbon testing carried out at Beijing University has dated the oldest of the mummies as far back as 3,980 years. However, until recently the history of how they came to be buried in the desert in upside-down boats was unclear.

    That many of the mummies – well preserved thanks to the dry air and salty sands – displayed fair skin, brown hair, and long noses led to some educated guesses.

    Bailey, professor of modern Chinese history at Edinburgh University, said: "There has always been talk of blue-eyed people inhabiting that area of China."

    Confirmation came thanks to a team led by Dr Hui Zhou of Jilin University in Changchun. All the men who were analysed had a Y chromosome that is now mostly found in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Siberia, but rarely in China.

    The mitochondrial DNA, which passes down the female line, consisted of a lineage from Siberia and two that are common in Europe.

    Since both the Y chromosome and the mitochondrial DNA lineages are ancient, Dr Zhou and his team concluded the European and Siberian populations probably intermarried before entering the Tarim Basin 4,000 years ago.

    Dr Victor Mair, a professor of Chinese at the University of Pennsylvania, who translated the studies by Dr Zhou's team, said several items in the graveyard resemble artefacts or relate to customs familiar in Europe, including the use of boats in burials, string skirts, and phallic symbols.

    The findings, published in the BMC Biology journal, turn on its head the notion that the Far East was an isolated realm before the early Europeans ventured east for trade.

    "Historians of early China are sympathetic to the view that there was interaction between what we could call China today and central Asia and further afield, both in terms of cultural transmission but also in terms of the transmission of technology," Bailey said. "The likes of bronze making and the use of the horse did not simply happen overnight in China."

    Such a subject has caused considerable controversy in China, where the official account has it that Zhang Qian, a general of the Han dynasty, led a military expedition to Xinjiang in the second century BC.

    Today the area is occupied by Turkish-speaking Uighurs, who have been joined in the past 50 years by Han settlers from China. Ethnic tensions have recently arisen between the two groups, with riots in Urumqi, the region's capital.

    Bailey suggested that, although only a few decades ago the DNA results would have sparked anger in China, a new generation will be "interested" to learn of its early links with Europe.

    "Twenty or 30 years ago this research would have been considered an abhorrent and controversial view that would have undermined Chinese pride in its indigenous cultural development," he said.

    "But the situation is different nowadays, and I think this will be viewed positively. China is interested in its historic links with the rest of the world, and this development shows that the country had close ties with other areas, it wasn't closed off."

    Work will now continue to uncover more details of the Tarim mummies. Already archeologists have found hundreds of poles, each 13ft tall, around the burial site, described as resembling oars from a galley. Clothes have also been recovered, including felt caps with feathers, woollen capes with tassels, and leather boots.

    Their language remains unknown, but Dr Mair, an expert in the prehistory of the Tarim Basin, believes it could have been Tokharian, an ancient member of the Indo-European family of languages.

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    The Mummies of Xinjiang

    Well i heard that their DNA was europid,yet people claim they are of Persian descent etc.
    I just wondered if by looking at the photos could anyone classify them...?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    The excellent literature on the subject:

    The mummies of Urumqi

    The Tarim Mummies

    Probably they were some offshot of the indoeuropean migrations from Ukraine.

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    China Pulls Mummy With Caucasian Features from US Exhibition


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    The reason for pulling the mummy and other artefacts from the show remained unclear yesterday (Chinese officials were on New Year holiday) but there were suggestions that the realities of modern Chinese politics may have had a part to play.
    They don't want the world to suspect that they became a great power as well as cultural influence because Caucasians gave them that first push. I am willing to make a wager that this one mummy somehow got through the filter and perhaps hundreds of them have been found and kept a secret.

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    Let's hope they don't destroy the mummy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronan View Post
    They don't want the world to suspect that they became a great power as well as cultural influence because Caucasians gave them that first push. I am willing to make a wager that this one mummy somehow got through the filter and perhaps hundreds of them have been found and kept a secret.
    The mummy was recovered from China's Tarim Basin, in Xinjiang province.
    Many Tarim Basin mummies have been found.

    These links have pictures of dozens more of these mummies.

    http://www.meshrep.com/PicOfDay/mummies/mummies.htm
    http://mitchtestone.blogspot.com/200...old-tarim.html





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