The 7,000-year-old mummy is included in the World Heritage list

Appearing 2,000 years before the Egyptian mummies, the ancient mummies in Chile have just been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

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Chile's Chinchorro mummy, the world's oldest man-made mummy, was added to UNESCO's World Heritage list on July 27.

These mummies were found in northern Chile in the early 20th century, dating back to about 7,000 years old, predating the Egyptian mummies by 2,000 years.

The United Nations cultural organization announced on Twitter that it had added the Chinchorro culture's settlement and artificial mummification technique to a priority list during a virtual meeting hosted by China.

Bernardo Arriaza, a Chilean anthropologist, told the press: "Through a variety of experts, UNESCO is assessing at an international level the settlements and artificial mummification techniques of the Chinchorro culture as a possible special value, of global importance".

To date, more than 300 mummies have been found, including red, black and bandaged mummies. Photo: R6nationals.

The ancient Chinchorro were fishermen and hunter-gatherers more than 7,000 years ago, living at the junction of the desert and Pacific Ocean that is today south of Peru and north of Chile.

To date, more than 300 mummies have been excavated, including red, black and bandaged mummies.

The embalming process begins with the complete removal of the body's organs, intestines, and tissues. The skin was then stripped from the carcass, then stuffed with plant fibers and animal hair, and the head was sewn closed with a black wig. In the end, the mummies were painted red or black that were concocted from earth, pigments, manganese, and iron oxides.

Chichorro's mummification culture remains a mystery. In 2005, Arriaza, director of the Chinchorro Center at the University of Tarapaca in the city of Arica, suspected that drinking water in the area was high in arsenic contamination, leading to premature birth and miscarriage of the mother; low weight children and high infant mortality rates.

He said embalming is "the way parents deal with the pain of losing their children, so they paint and decorate them and the technique becomes even more elaborate".

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