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In humid Lower Egypt practically all mummies have perished. C.) the art of embalming had reached its height, and it is possible to determine fairly accurately how the great pharaohs appeared in life, e.g., Amenhotep II (in his tomb near Thebes) and Thutmose III, Thutmose IV, Tutankhamen, Seti I, and Ramses II (all in Cairo).
Mummification was related to beliefs concerning the afterlife and was undertaken to safeguard the fate of the soul.
Western, or Russian, Turkistan extended from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Chinese frontier in the east and from the Aral-Irtysh watershed in the north to the borders of Iran and Afghanistan in the south...... Brothwell, The Bog Man and the Archaeology of People (1987); E. Preservation of the body after death was connected among many peoples with their concepts of life after death and the immortality of the soul.
), other exceptionally well-preserved mummies, dating back as far as 4,000 years and having European features, have posed a mystery to anthropolgists; some believe they may be Tokharians, members of a so-called lost tribe of Indo-Europeans known from later inscriptions. The mummification of people and sacred animals was widely practiced in ancient Egypt.
The custom was prevalent among many ancient peoples and still survives in many cultures. The word is of Arabic derivation and refers primarily to the burials found in Egypt, where the practice of mummification was perfected over the centuries to an extreme of elaboration.
Ancient people in the mountains of Peru revered their ancestors so much they mummified them and included their bodies in community activities, archaeologists say.
Natural mummification occurs in favorable soils and climates, particularly cold, arid areas, ice, and peat bogs. The oldest known mummy is the Egyptian Queen Hetepheres (third milennium ).
Peat bogs have revealed naturally preserved corpses dating from as long ago as 840 B. Bodies of Inuit women and children dated at 500 years old have been found frozen in Qilakitsoq, in W Greenland. The preservation of the bodies of the dead by fumigation was known to the ancient peoples of Peru, Mexico, and the Canary Islands.
The most exceptional frozen specimen is the 5,300-year-old "Ice Man," discovered during an unusual thaw in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991.
Another find of a man in a melting glacier was made in NW Canada in 1999.