10 Ancient Faces – best preserved bodies of the last 5,000 years

10 Ancient Faces – best preserved bodies of the last 5,000 years

Still eerily recognisable as they were in life, here are 10 of the best preserved bodies of the last 5,000 years.

 

 

 

 

1.         92 years ago – Rosalia Lombardo

Rosalia Lombardo was an Italian child born in 1918 in Palermo, Sicily.  She died of pneumonia on 6 December 1920.  Her father was so grief-stricken that he had her body embalmed to preserve her.  Rosalia’s body was one of the last corpses to be admitted to the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily, where it is kept in a small chapel encased in a glass covered coffin.

 

2.         500 years ago – La Doncella Inca Maiden

La Doncella was found in 1999 in an icy pit at the summit of Mount Llullaillaco, a volcano in north-west Argentina on the border with Chile.  She was aged 15 when she was sacrificed to the Inca gods, along with a younger boy and girl.  DNA tests revealed that they were unrelated, and CT scans showed that they were well nourished and had no broken bones or other injuries, although La Doncella had sinusitis and a lung infection.  Before being chosen as sacrificial victims, the children spent much of their lives eating a typical peasant diet composed primarily of vegetables, such as potatoes.  Their diet then changed markedly in the 12 months up to their deaths when they started to receive maize, a luxury food, and dried llama meat.  A further change in their lifestyle about 3-4 months before they died, suggests that is when they began their pilgrimage to the volcano, probably from the Inca capital, Cuzco.  They were taken to the summit of Llullaillaco, drugged with maize beer and coca leaves, and, once asleep, placed in underground niches.  La Doncella was found sitting cross-legged in her brown dress and striped sandals, with bits of coca leaf still clinging to her upper lip, and a crease in one cheek where it leaned against her shawl as she slept.  At such a high altitude, it would not have taken long for her to die from exposure.

 

3.         537 years ago – Inuit baby

The Inuit baby was part of a group of 8 mummies (6 women and 2 children) found in 1972 at a gravesite near the former coastal settlement of Qllakitsoq, a desolate area of Greenland.  The graves were dated to 1475 AD.  One of the women had a malignant tumour near the base of her skull which most likely caused her death.  The Inuit baby, a boy aged about 6 months old, appeared to have been buried alive with her.  Inuit custom at that time dictated that the child be buried alive or suffocated by its father if a woman could not be found to nurse it.  The Inuit believed that the child and its mother would travel to the land of the dead together.

 

4.         2,190 years ago – Xin Zhui

Xin Zhui was the wife of the Marquis of Han and died near the city of Changsha in China around 178 BC, when she was around 50 years old.  She was found in 1971 in an enormous Han Dynasty-era tomb more than 50 feet below the earth containing over 1,000 well-preserved artefacts.  She was tightly wrapped in 22 dresses of silk and hemp and 9 silk ribbons, and was buried in 4 coffins, each inside the other.   Her body was so well preserved that it was autopsied as if recently dead.  Her skin was supple; her limbs could be manipulated; her hair and internal organs were intact; the remains of her last meal were found in her stomach; and type A blood still ran red in her veins.  Examinations have revealed that she suffered from parasites, lower back pain, clogged arteries, had a massively damaged heart (an indication of heart disease brought on by obesity) and was overweight at the time of her death.

 

5.         2,200 years ago – Grauballe Man

The Grauballe Man lived during the late 3rd century BC on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark.  His body was discovered in 1952 in a peat bog near to the village of Grauballe.  He was around 30 years old, 5 ft 9 in tall, and entirely naked when he died.  He had dark hair, altered by the bog to a reddish colour, and stubble on his chin.  His hands were smooth and did not show evidence of hard labour such as farming.  His teeth and jaws indicated that he had suffered periods of starvation, or poor health during his early childhood.  He also suffered arthritis in his spine.  His last meal, eaten right before his death, consisted of a porridge or gruel made from corn, seeds from over 60 different herbs, and grasses, with traces of the poisonous fungi, ergot.  The ergot in his system would have induced painful symptoms, such as convulsions and a burning sensation in the mouth, hands, and feet; it may also have induce hallucinations or even a coma.  He was killed by having his neck cut open, ear to ear, severing his trachea and oesophagus, in either a public execution, or as a human sacrifice connected to Iron Age Germanic paganism.

 

6.         2,300 years ago – Tollund Man

Like the Grauballe Man, the Tollund Man lived during the 4th century BC on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark.  He was found in 1950, buried in a peat bog.  At time of death he was around 40 years old and 5 ft 3 in tall.  His body was in a foetal position.  He wore a pointed skin cap made of sheepskin and wool, fastened under his chin, and a smooth hide belt around his waist.  A noose made of plaited animal hide was drawn tight around the neck, and trailing down his back.  Other than these, his body was naked.  His hair was cropped short and there was short stubble on his chin and upper lip, suggesting that he had not shaved on the day of his death.  His last meal had been a kind of porridge made from vegetables and seeds, and he lived for 12 to 24 hours after eating it.  He died by hanging rather than strangulation.

 

7.         3,000 years ago – Ur-David

Ur-David is part of a group of mummies, discovered at the start of the 20th century in the Tarim Basinin in present-day Xinjiang, China, which date from 1900 BC to 200 AD.  Ur-David was tall, red-haired, basically of a European appearance and a likely speaker of an Indo-European language.  Y-DNA analysis showed that he was Haplogroup R1a, characteristic of western Eurasia.  He was wearing a red twill tunic and tartan leggings when he died around 1,000 BC, probably at the same time as his 1-year-old baby son.

 

8.         3,000 years ago – Tocharian female

Like Ur-David, this Tocharian female is a Tarim mummy and lived around 1,000 BC.  She was tall, with a high nose and long flaxen blond hair, perfectly preserved in ponytails.  The weave of her clothing appears similar to Celtic cloth.  She was around 40 years-old when she died.

 

9.         3,335 years ago – Tutankhamen

Tutankhamen was an Egyptian pharaoh who lived approximately 1341 BC – 1323 BC.  The 1922 discovery of his nearly intact tomb received worldwide press coverage.  He was slight of build and roughly 5 ft 11 in tall at the time of his death aged 19.  DNA tests showed that Tutankhamen was the result of an incestuous relationship; his father was Akhenaten and his mother was one of Akhenaten’s 5 sisters.  CT images discovered congenital flaws common among the children of incest.  He had large front incisors and the overbite that was characteristic of his royal line.  He also had an elongated skull, a slightly cleft palate, and possibly a mildly curved spine.  He was buried with 2 mummified foetuses who were probably his 2 stillborn children with wife (and half-sister) Ankhesenamun.  The exact cause of Tutankhamen’s early death is unknown; as well several genetic defects caused by inbreeding, he was infected with the most severe strain of malaria several times in his short life, and possibly suffered from a crippling bone disease. A CT scan showed that he had badly broken his leg shortly before his death, and that the leg had become infected.

 

10.       5,300 years ago – Ötzi the Iceman

Ötzi the Iceman lived about 3,300 BC and was found in 1991, frozen in a glacier in the Ötztal Alps, on the border between Austria and Italy.  He is Europe’s oldest natural human mummy and has been extensively examined by scientists.  At the time of his death Ötzi was approximately 5 ft 5 in tall, weighed about 110 lb and was about 45 years of age.  Analysis of pollen, dust grains and the isotopic composition of his teeth indicates that he spent his childhood near the present village of Feldthurns, in northern Italy, but later went to live in valleys about 30 miles further north.  The sequencing Ötzi’s full genome shows he is most closely related to southern Europeans, particularly geographically isolated populations of Sardinia and Corsica.  He also has a higher degree of Neanderthal ancestry than modern Europeans

Analysis of Ötzi’s intestines showed 2 full meals (the last one consumed about 8 hours before his death), one of chamois meat, the other of red deer and herb bread.  Both were eaten with grain as well as roots and fruits (probably sloes – small plumlike fruits of the blackthorn tree).  Pollens in the first meal showed that it had been consumed in a conifer forest and indicated that events leading to Ötzi’s death occurred in the spring.  Further analysis of his stomach contents revealed the partly digested remains of ibex meat, eaten less than two hours before his death.

Ötzi’s lifestyle included long walks over hilly terrain (with a degree of mobility not common in Copper Age Europe), indicating that he may have been a high-altitude shepherd.  His lungs were blackened, probably from breathing the smoke of campfires.  He was probably old for his 45 years and suffered from a number of ailments, including whipworm (an intestinal parasite), dental cavities, and wear and tear on his back, his knee and his ankle joints.  DNA analysis also showed him to be the earliest known human with Lyme disease.  One of his fingernails indicates that he was sick 3 times in the 6 months before he died; the last bout, 2 months before he died, lasting about 2 weeks.  Ötzi had several carbon tattoos including groups of short, parallel, vertical lines on his back, a cruciform mark behind his right knee, and various marks around both ankles.  The tattoos may have been related to pain relief treatments.

Ötzi’s clothes were sophisticated.  He wore a cloak made of woven grass, and a coat, belt, leggings, loincloth and shoes, all made of leather of different skins.  He also wore a bearskin cap with a leather chin strap.  His bearskin and deer hide shoes were waterproof and designed for walking across the snow.  Soft grass inside the shoe functioned like modern socks.  His belt had a pouch sewn to it that contained useful flint and bone tools.  He was also in possession of a copper axe, a flint-bladed knife, a longbow and a quiver of arrows, 2 birch bark baskets, a firestarting kit, as well as berries and mushrooms for medicinal purposes.

Ötzi died a violent death.  He had an arrowhead lodged in his left shoulder, though the arrow’s shaft had been removed before death.  He also had bruises and cuts to the hands, wrists and chest, and a blow to the head which probably caused his death.  One of the cuts to the base of his thumb reached down to the bone.  DNA analysis apparently revealed traces of blood from 4 other people on Ötzi’s gear: one on his knife, two from the same arrowhead, and a fourth from his coat.  Ötzi may have killed 2 people with the same arrow, retrieving it on both occasions, and the blood on his coat may be from a wounded comrade he carried over his back, suggesting that he was part of a group that was out of his home territory – perhaps an armed raiding party involved in a skirmish with a neighbouring tribe.  Whatever the sequence of events, this skirmish went badly wrong for Ötzi.

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33 Comments

  1. United States bet they won’t put Tut’s dna results up there lmao fux me up. White people and their insecurities still making egyptians light skinned. The world is discovering the truth though. Why not take what’s yours and leave ours alone. Now they’re making the top of Africa part of Southern Europe Funny Crackers

    • United States He wasn’t white or black fool, he is from Egypt, part of Saharan desert…Arabic/berber and so forth…they are all obviously darker than most Caucasian and lighter than most Sub-saharans (i.e. albino’s)…and their ancient counterparts, all natives were the same as now in the bronze age…what a fkn african propagandist tool….tools in general especially fascist tools need a swift kick in the balls

    • United States Okay, I’m sorry, but tut was neither black nor white. No Egyptian was white until the invasion from Greece, in which case they were mixed. Most were of mild skin tone and red or black hair. You can look at the art from the Egyptians and see what they looked like. This isn’t some big guessing game, there are facts. No need to guess, just go look at the bust of ANY EGYPTIAN.

    • United States you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about sul baby. Quit trying to make a hole in the wall a racist issue and get the fuck over yourself. This was a unique article about preservation and you’re trying to make it a race thing :|

  2. Israel @sul baby — just how the fk do you know better than the scientists do? if he were of darker complexion, he would’ve been drawn/made up with a darker complexion.

    Obviously the experts know a helluva lot more than you do. Get over yourself – not everyone in Africa was black. My God, you’re so pathetically ignorant.

    • United States Rashir “EVERYONE” IN AFRICA WAS BLACK UNTIL THE INVASIONS AND THE ANCIENT MANIFEST DESTINY TOOK A HOLD OF AFRICA! PEOPLE STOP SEPARATING EGYPT FROM AFRICA AS IF IT IS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT COUNTRY! EVEN TODAY MY FRIENDS YOU CAN SEE THE LINEAGE OF BLACK WITHIN THE FEATURES OF THE PRESENT DAY EGYPTIANS,OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM LIBYA,IRAN,AND SO ON!IT’S NOT A BLACK THING, THESE ARE FACTS! EVERY LIVING HUMAN CAME FROM ADAM IN AFRICA THE FIRST KNOWN HUMAN TO EARTH! FROM THERE AS OUR ANCESTORS TRAVELED AND SPLIT UP INTO DIFFERENT GROUPS, THERE SETTLEMENTS, AND ENVIRONMENT DETERMINED THERE COMPLEXION, AS THEY ALSO BEGAN TO CREATE THERE OWN LANGUAGES! LOOK IT UP DON’T JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! AN OPINION IS AN OPINION , THEN THERE ARE FACTS!

      • Israel You’re incredibly wrong and ignorant. You only wish that the BS you’re writing was true. Those that lived in Northern Africa were not necessarily black at all and most likely were not. Again the professionals and experts who were able to reconstruct Tutankhamen would’ve reconstructed him as Negro if he were Negro. Obviously he was not. Get over yourself for crying out loud.

      • United States You were almost making a point until you decided to throw your own religious beliefs into the mix. The “story” of Adam is from the Bible; a book written many centuries later that has zero relevance to the facts behind the skin tone of our ancestors.

        If you’re going to make a point then do so without bias. This is not about religion. Its about facts discovered through scientific analysis. What you are posting is based on nothing but religion-based rhetoric you were raised with.

        This article is for comments from people with common sense and logic, not ignorance.

        • United States While I disagree with Negra Latina, I don’t think she is talking about biblical Adam. Rather, it seems she is talking about Y-chromosomal Adam (or Y-MRCA), the most common recent ancestor from whom all currently living humans have descended (patrilineally). There is also a matrilineal most common recent ancestor, named Mitochondrial Eve.

          However, Negra Latina seems to have made a common mistake in thinking that Y-MRCA is a single individual. However, Y-MRCA is a designation given to a male, human ancestor who had “at least two sons who both have unbroken lineages that have survived to the present day. If the lineages of all but one of those sons die out, then the title of “Y-chromosomal Adam” shifts forward from the remaining son through his patrilineal descendants, until the first descendant is reached, who had at least two sons who both have living, patrilineal descendants.” (That’s from Wikipedia, which is admittedly not a very good academic resource, but is easy to pull up while I’m responding to you.) She also seems to think that Y-MRCA is the oldest male human ancestor, which is impossible to determine as Y-MRCA’s is not an individual, and the species classification is not clearly defined (meaning, Y-MRCA is not necessarily homo sapiens sapiens). Some scientists are now considering getting rid of the designation of “Adam” so that people will be less confused by the concept.

    • United States Sam and Rashir, thank you. I guess what gets me is sul is calling out “white people” for what’s going on in Egypt today calling white people insecure racists over DNA FACTS about Tut…as if that isn’t ridiculous enough, but than acts racist towards white people himself/herself! Honestly, I’m so damn sick of people accusing all the white people as a whole as racists! I am in a lot of ways discriminated against more so than my black, Arabic, or Asian brothers and sisters for stuff that my ancestors MAY HAVE done to their ancestors! Just shut the F up because there was nothing written about this article that had to do w race in the first place, you racist! You, Sul, made it that way. Egypt isn’t fighting a battle bout skin color, it’s a religious factor wholly playing into it. So just shut up.

      • Israel Pleasure. What you write is so true. Those two (sul & negra latina) are so bloody ignorant that it’s almost a crime. They’re just screaming, shouting and blaming whites. Pathetic, isn’t it? As I mentioned to both of those idiots, if the expert anthropologist painted King Tut with light skin, it was because he more than likely had light skin. Unfortunately, the Blacks who still sport the slave-mentality thing like to think of all of the ancients as Black with the White man ruining some fantasy of theirs. You see where ignorance brings them?

        • United States Blaming anyone in this post is irrelevant. Bringing race into question is not only ridiculous, but also juvenile. Racism is bad and many people of colour would appreciate not being victimized for it just as whites would like to not be the focus of being racist as they are not the only contributors. However, if people keep bringing it up into every simple post it will continue to plague our world. History is meant to be learned from, not abused to place blame on others.
          Also, I would like to point out to Negra Latina that Africa is not a country. So yes, people should separate Egypt and Africa. Egypt is IN Africa, but so is every country within the CONTINENT of Africa. Learn some geography before you post ignorant comments on websites. It negates everything you say when you don’t know the simplest of information.
          Thanks.

  3. United States FOR EXAMPLE TO ALSO SUPPORT THE CLAIM OF INVASION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, I AM HONDURAN , FROM A BELIZEAN MOTHER, AND A HONDURAN FATHER WE ARE BLACK, DARK SKIN, KINKY HAIR, AND SPEAK SPANISH! “THE TAKE OVER” CHANGES HISTORY, HIDES THE TRUTH, DISMISSES CREDIT TO ALL THE ORIGINAL PEOPLE OF THAT LAND, WHETHER IT BE AFRICA, ASIA, OR INDIA! ANOTHER GOOD EXAMPLE IS IN EUROPE MANY BLACK PIRATES, LONERS, BLACKS WHO WERE “NOT” SLAVES, BUT WERE WARRIORS , WELL RESPECTED, FOUGHT ALONG SIDE GREAT WHITE LEADERS, SUCH AS SPARTACUS! DO YOUR RESEARCH LOOK IT UP, SEVERUS” GREAT AFRO-EURO WARRIOR! WE HAD THOUSANDS OF GREAT STORIES, ADVENTURES, DISCOVERIES, AND RICHES WELL BEFORE SLAVERY. THE WHITES AND BLACKS DID NOT ALWAYS HATE ONE ANOTHER, THE NEW WORLD ORDER OF POWER CHANGED THAT CENTURIES AGO! WHITES AND BLACKS WERE SIDE BY SIDE IN BATTLE AS PIRATES, SOLDIERS,AND FELLOW COUNTRY MEN! (SEE SPAIN, AFRO EURO ERA)

  4. United States This is amazing to me! Science amazes me! Being able to find out the blood types, the food they ate, their sicknesses, their injuries and more…. its just so fascinating. Cant we just appreciate that we can find information like this out, that we have the opportunity to read about it online ( at all) and just stop “one up’ing” each other with race arguments? geez, its exhausting.

  5. United States I am of R1a descent, low melanin skin, tall robust frame. Part of my ancestry is native American. Please accept the fact that what we are is the product of our ancestral gene pools. The modern ideas of race was formulated in the 15th century and should be laughed at. No population is pure anything.
    King Tut was probably the result of inbreeding because of efforts to maintain a royal line. We can say that modern racism is the result of ancient prejudices. Just as the myth of the Arian ancestors was promoted by the Nazis all populations seem to have their better than thou members. If you can appreciate your multi-ethnic ancestry and be proud that they were the survivors. Just over come that.

    • Philippines I have to agree with you. No population is pure. I myself descends from a Mayan race yet part of me has European ancestry. And I live in Southeast Asia, so yeah, i’m like a product of mixed races. haha

  6. Australia Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy, Oi Oi Oi! bahahahaha!!!
    I feel so lucky living in a country where the majority of us just don’t give a sh*t.
    I guess cause our ancestors came from convicts, so our relaxed attitude may have derived from, “it can’t get any worse than this!” attitude.
    Good luck people, enjoy the world you live in cause Australia has a “XXXX” island, Bahahahahaha!!!! Succcckerrrrssssss:-)
    Life is awesome for the most us here!!!!!!! and for the rest….well….WE DONT GIVE A SH*T! hahahahaha!

    P.S The above comment is the opinion of one person and only speaking on behalf of oneself, hahahaha!!! Man I crack myself up

  7. United States I hope you people realize that most of our ancestors mixed before there were even ideas of race and ethnicity. For example they’ve found DNA relating a 24,000 year old Siberian mummy to both ancient Europeans and modern Native Americans showing that European DNA entered the Native American population far far before Christopher Columbus set sail for a new world. (http://m.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/fossil-indicates-eurasian-roots-for-native-americans/2013/11/20/2777ac24-51fa-11e3-a7f0-b790929232e1_story.html) So in all actuality before your ancestors were Australian or Italian, French, Russian, or Mexican; they were probably 25,000 other ethnicities first. Maybe you can trace your ancestry back a thousand years and your “purely European” Well humans have been on Earth for about 200,000 so your not. No one is purely anything. Please understand that the human race is and has mostly always been made up of humans with mixed ethnic backgrounds. This is not a new concept. Please educate yourselves and stop trying to compete “races” because in all actuality race is an invention of the human mind and is an outdated, counterproductive and ultimately destructive way at viewing ourselves and others.

    • United States This entire argument has left me entertained during school hours and I just have to say that the above comment is the only one I agree with out of like 50.
      k? k.

    • United States Thank you for being a voice of reason. Race is a human construct, a way for our ancestors to classify themselves and others – but it’s an archaic construct. All it does is further separate us and keep us from understanding each other and the world around us. The concept of race is the greatest hindrance to scientific discovery that has ever existed (greater, imo, than even the religious catalyst to the Dark Ages).

  8. United States There were many different races of Egyptians from Dark Egyptians that came from the south part of Africa to light skinned Egyptians. Egyptians are from Africa any way anyone puts it. Lets just stop with the race card and get along. :D

  9. United Kingdom Welcome humans, one and all. You’re all amazing. It took several million years to make every single one of you and every single one of you is different. Enjoy who are and realise how luck you are to be alive in such a beautiful world, a world that may be the only one capable of sustaining life in this solar system. Sit back, think about it and develop some respect for that notion alone and the rest, respect, tolerance, love and compassion, will come naturally.

  10. Greece You guys are fighting for no reason, with opinions and guesses and with no fact-based evidence, when all you have to do is read the earliest records as described by ancient Greek historians such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch and Pausanias. They describe in detail north Africa and its inhabitants. They refer to them as “Ethiopians” which in Greek means “dark skinned” but they also separate them from the “sub-Saharan Numidians” who they describe as “black skinned”. So it is obvious that ancient Egyptians were very much like today’s Berbers or light skinned Ethiopians(not like the muslim invaders), whereas sub-saharans were like today’s sub-saharans.

    • Puerto Rico Dimitri: Good argument! Thank you for placing your rational thoughts. I do not comprehend why a majority of the previous comments are son prodigious and lack of consciousness…”POLU KALA!

  11. United Arab Emirates I am surprised that no one picked up on the text that said the Grauballe Man (3rd century BC) had corn in his stomach. 3rd century BC, corn in Europe?? Either the analysis was wrong or the guy had a vacation in Mexico in 300 BC, right around the late Olmec and early Maya period. He should be praised as the only officially known European to have travelled to the Americas even before the Vikings.

    • United Kingdom You’re making a wrong assumption about the word ‘corn’. In British English, ‘corn’ can mean any cereal

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