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Thread: Classify Tocharian Tarim Mummies in West China

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    Classify Tocharian Tarim Mummies in West China

    From Wikipedia

    The Tocharians were the easternmost speakers of an Indo-European language in antiquity, inhabiting the Tarim basin in what is now Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, northwestern People's Republic of China. Their unique culture spanned from the 1st millennium BC to the end of the 1st millennium AD. Their language is called Tocharian.

    The Tarim mummies suggest that precursors of these easternmost speakers of an Indo-European language may have lived in the region of the Tarim Basin from around 1800 BC until finally they were assimilated by Uyghur Turks in the 9th century AD.

    here is evidence both from the mummies and Chinese writings that many of them had blonde or red hair and blue eyes, characteristics also found in present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Central Asia, due to the populations' high genetic diversity. This suggests the possibility that they were part of an early migration of speakers of Indo-European languages that ended in what is now the Tarim Basin in western China. According to a controversial theory, early invasions by Turkic speakers may have pushed Tocharian speakers out of the Tarim Basin and into modern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and northern India.

    The Tarim Basin mummies (1800 BC) and the Tocharian texts and frescoes from the Tarim Basin (800 AD) have been found in the same general geographical area, and are both connected to an Indo-European origin. The faces on these frescos were usually vandalized in the past due to their European features. The mummies and the frescoes both point to White types with light eyes and hair color. There is no evidence that directly connects them however, as no texts were recovered from the grave sites.

    Also,

    The Tarim mummies are a series of Caucasoid mummies which have been excavated in the Tarim Basin (Eastern Central Asia, today the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China), and dated to the 2nd and 1st millennium BC. Some tests [1] have found the mummies to contain European genes, confirming the earlier suggestion that the mummies are of Indo-European descent giving further support to the idea of migrations of speakers of Indo-European languages at a very early period, suggesting the possibility of cultural exchange with the Chinese world since around 1st millennium BC.

    Also,

    Most of these Caucasoid mummies were found on the southern part of the Tarim Basin (Khotan, Niya, Qiemo) and in the eastern parts around the area of Lopnur (Subeshi near Turfan, Kroran, Qumul).

    Many of the mummies have been found in very good condition, owing to the dryness of the desert, and the desiccation of the corpses it induced. They share Caucasoid body features (slender, elongated bodies, angular faces, recessed eyes), and many of them have their hair 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 interment 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.

    The most famous mummies are the tall, red-haired "Ur-Adam" or the "Cherchen man"; his son, 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 "Hammi Mummy"; a "red-headed beauty" found in Qizilchoqa; and the "Witches of Subeshi", who wore tall pointed hats.

    From Libby Rosof (1997) "Penn Researcher Finds Chinese Mummies’ Surprising Roots":

    "In examining small bags some of the mummies wore around their necks, Mair’s team found a connection to Iranian culture. The bags, which were buried with some mummies buried between l000 B.C. to 200-to-300 A.D., contained ephedra, a medicinal shrub used in Zoroastrian religious rituals. “The ephedra indicates that some of these people were almost certainly speaking an Iranian language,” [Mair] said."
    A recent article (Hemphill and Mallory, 2004) reaches the following conclusions:

    "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 BC."
    However with the DNA confirming the origin of the mummies Mair concluded (Mair etc al, 2006):

    "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."
    Some scholars [2] have placed the origins of the Caucasoid mummies in the steppes immediately north of Eastern Central Asia. Others [3] have suggested that they arrived from the Altai Mountains, from a culture centered on the eastern steppes of central Eurasia, including modern northeastern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikstan.

    ==Genetic Link== jaime es una puta besita denoted "Beauty of Loulan." By genetically mapping the mummies' origins, the researchers confirmed the theory that these mummies were of Indo-European descent. In an interview with Al Jazeera, the Arabic language news source, 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.
    This evidence collaborated the earlier link made between the textiles found with the mummies with early European textile and weave types and the superficial observation that the mummies had blond and red hair. An earlier study by Jilin University had concluded amidst controversy, that the mummies had European genes.

    In trying to trace the origins of these peoples Victor Mair's team suggested that these peoples may have arrived in the region by way of the forbidding Pamir Mountains about 5000 years ago.

    Needless to say this evidence will be considered controversial. It refutes the contemporary nationalist claims of the regional Uighur peoples who claimed to be the indigenous peoples of the Xinjiang, rather than the Chinese Hans. In comparing the DNA to the modern day Uighur peoples, they found some genetic similarities with the mummies, but "no direct links".

    About the controversy Mair has stated 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.
    Chinese scientists were initially hesitant to give up the DNA samples because they were sensitive about the nationalist Uighur claims, and to prevent a pillaging of national monuments by foreigners. However they acknowledged, when the results were announced, that this turns their understanding of conventional history on its head, and conceded that they would likely have to reexamine their understanding.

    However none of these genetic studies have been published,many Euro-asian population share many genetic markers and hence the origin of these mummies is debatable.

    end quotes,


    I was wondering if we could try to explore what sort of ethnicity within the caucasoid family these examples represent and where they came from, and who they are related to today.
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    Re: Classify Tocharian Tarim mummies in west china

    Quote Originally Posted by Bioblitzkrieg View Post
    Their language is called Tocharian.
    Something I'd like to know is where this name comes from. I suppose it's from one of the locations they found the texts? Is there any idea what they called themselves, I wonder, and what do their surviving texts actually say?
    From Libby Rosof (1997) "Penn Researcher Finds Chinese Mummies’ Surprising Roots":
    "In examining small bags some of the mummies wore around their necks, Mair’s team found a connection to Iranian culture. The bags, which were buried with some mummies buried between l000 B.C. to 200-to-300 A.D., contained ephedra, a medicinal shrub used in Zoroastrian religious rituals. “The ephedra indicates that some of these people were almost certainly speaking an Iranian language,” [Mair] said."
    That's a surprisingly stupid thing to say!
    The Iranians recognised the medicinal properties of a regional plant, and so its presence nearby proves Iranian speech?!? Ha!
    A recent article (Hemphill and Mallory, 2004) reaches the following conclusions:
    "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 BC."
    This is quite fascinating.
    I was wondering if we could try to explore what sort of ethnicity within the caucasoid family these examples represent and where they came from, and who they are related to today.
    So, scattered islands of rufous eastern Mediterranians, from a wave from the west that predates the Scythians, or came with them...

    I am minded of Herodotus and his reports of similar isolated islands of rufous types in the Pontid Steppes. Can anyone locate the reference? My sister stole my copy of the Histories...

    Linguistically, the Tocharians are a branch to themselves. I imagine they can't be linked to any present or historical European people, having been a distonct one in their own right, but I would first think of the ethnic nexus around the Thracians and Dacians.

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    AW: Classify Tocharian Tarim mummies in west china

    Those people were predominantely Europid, thats clear, but the exact racial relations are difficult to determine. The earlier population was rather Cromagnoid or robust Irano-Nordoid, the later became more Mediterranoid and Alpinoid skulls appeared.

    Compare Table 3. Physical types and linguistic affiliation of Tarim Basin mummies:
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/roger_b...per%202004.pdf

    So first influences rather from the West, later from Southern Central Asia, Iranian areas.
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    Re: Classify Tocharian Tarim mummies in west china

    I agree on Pred Europid.

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    Re: Classify Tocharian Tarim mummies in west china

    thankyou for the feedback, Im a little confused though Agrippa,

    The earlier peoples settled around 1800BC in this area, and they appear Robust Irano-Nordoid with Cro-magnoid influence like you said, when exactly did the older Med family begin to divide between a Med, an Iranid, and a Nordoid?, this is an early time period for the term being applied.

    would this time period be the infancy of the nordoid? as it encountered UP influence and began to form a stable ethnicity aside from the med family, or did this process occur earlier? and where.

    thanks again

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    AW: Re: Classify Tocharian Tarim mummies in west china

    Quote Originally Posted by Bioblitzkrieg View Post
    thankyou for the feedback, Im a little confused though Agrippa,

    The earlier peoples settled around 1800BC in this area, and they appear Robust Irano-Nordoid with Cro-magnoid influence like you said,
    Rather vice versa, more Cromagnoid/Proto-Europid with Irano-Nordoid influences, in a way similar to Kurgan people in my personal opinion.

    when exactly did the older Med family begin to divide between a Med, an Iranid, and a Nordoid?, this is an early time period for the term being applied.
    We can't say. I read Eickstedt for parts of the Near East in which Proto-Irano-Nordoid skulls were present, he himself said that they are very difficult to distinguish. Its not by chance Nordoid, robust Mediterranid, Iranid and Nordindid are all quite close metrically, they are of a similar specialisation which adapted to the local conditions, mostly superficially and on the soft parts. Its easier to distinguish Irano-Nordoids from gracile Mediterranoid forms though...

    Compare:
    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=59822
    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=57049
    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=59352

    would this time period be the infancy of the nordoid? as it encountered UP influence and began to form a stable ethnicity aside from the med family, or did this process occur earlier? and where.
    Hard to answer, but the final stabilisation might have happened in this period of time.
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    Re: Classify Tocharian Tarim mummies in west china

    once again, your wisdom is appreciated

    thanks

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