Chinchorro Mummies: The World’s Oldest

When we say mummies, we think Ancient Egypt. Indeed, Egypt has some of the most famous mummies in the world, such as Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. But the ancient Egyptians were not the first culture to practice mummification. The Chinchorro people of Chile's Atacama Desert were the first to mummify their dead.

The Chinchorro people inhabited the Pacific coastal region of present-day northern Chile and southern Peru some 9,000 years ago until about 3,500 years ago when they disappeared. The Chinchorro derived their livelihood from the sea and were expert fishermen. They developed extensive and sophisticated fishing equipment such as fishing hooks made of shells and cactuses, and stone weights for nets made of mesh fabrics. The Chinchorro were also famous for their detailed mummification and funerary practices.

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