The mystery of the Mummies in Mexico, which are the object of analysis with state-of-the-art technology

12/04/2021

Scientific findings have shown that mummified or semi-mummified bodies in Mexico date back to pre-Hispanic practices. Most of them come from sites with dry climates; from caves, crypts, or places where the corpses dry quickly, avoiding the natural process of putrefaction.

The states with the greatest number of mummy specimens are the northern states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, and Tamaulipas. This is due to the semi-desert ecosystem in this region, with many arid areas and little rainfall during the year, which protected the corpses from decomposition.

In the case of Mexico, the mummification process is associated with two circumstances, the first of a ritual-ceremonial type. Although the ecosystem allowed embalming, studies conducted over the years have concluded that it was intentional, since the social groups that practiced the burials were fully aware of the situations conducive to the process and applied it to their dead with that intention, i.e., the knowledge of the mummification process was acquired empirically.

The second circumstance is partly a product of chance: at the end of the pre-Hispanic era and the beginning of the colonial era, corpses were buried in church atriums or caves where natural conditions favored their preservation. So far it has been possible to identify the origin, temporality and recover some archaeological data of the specimens that make up the collection, which is stored in the warehouses of the National Museum of Anthropology for its proper conservation.

By Mexicanist