Undertoad Sunday Apr 21 05:33 PM
4/21/2002: Inca mummy
According to New Scientist, "more than 2,200 Inca mummies have been discovered buried beneath a shantytown on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. This is the largest collection of Incan bodies ever found. Archaeologists say the excavations should transform their understanding of the civilisation - especially of the customs, health and religious beliefs of the people living just prior to the Spanish conquest."
The mummies are about 550 years old. The one in the picture is thought to be special because of its feather headdress. But the extra-special ones don't have heads at all. Instead, it gets spooky: they have a cotton wrapping in the <i>shape</i> of a head... sitting where the head would be. And in the wrapping can be multple bodies and other artifacts. Whoa.
sapienza Thursday May 2 03:06 PM
Alright, I got a bachelor's in archaeology (and one in Computer Science -- couldn't make up my mind) and I'm going back in a year to get some more edu-muh-cation, and I just have to say that the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this was "why isn't he wearing gloves while handling those old textiles?! Who knows what sort of contamination he could be causing, hell, maybe even degradation by finger oils and acids!"
Neat pic, though.
Did it say anything about whether that was a child's skeleton?
Undertoad Thursday May 2 04:51 PM
Archaeology vs CompSci - you could combine them and document the first uses of the ctrl key, the origin of the mouse ball joke, first use of recursion (shortly followed by the first slap on the forehead with the exclamation "holy shit, it works"), etc.
Seriously, though, archaeology has to be the coolest science going.
sapienza Thursday May 2 05:34 PM
It was cool as an undergrad, that's for sure. I actually got to work in the function of a grad student for a lot of it, too. Research, digging, research, digging, papers, fun. Being stuck inside an office geeking off all day long is something I don't think I'm going to be able to do for much longer, either.
I'm going insane!
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