The renowned Chinchorro mummies, which have survived in Chile for over 7,000 years, are currently under risk because of levels of dampness. Moist air, caused by global warmimg is enabling microbes to develop, bringing about the mummies’ skin to go dark and jelly-like, according to Ralph Mitchell, professor emeritus of applied biology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who analyzed the decaying mummies.
The quick disintegration started sometime in the previous 10 years, and has affected a percentage of the 120 mummies that are kept at the University of Tarapacá’s archeological exhibition hall in the northern port city of Arica, the analysts reported.
Since it was not known why some of these mummies began turning into dark flow jelly, the Chilean preservationists asked Mitchell and his team to study the microflora, or the microorganisms, on the mummies’ bodies.
Tests demonstrated that the bacteria aren’t from old organic entities. They are just microorganisms that regularly live on humans’ skin, Mitchell explained. He called the microscopic organisms “opportunist” as when the right temperature and right dampness occurred, they began to utilize the skin as food.
The researcher warned that unless the mummies can be preserved under the right temperature and moisture conditions, the local microorganisms are going to consume them all.
In their investigations, Mitchell and his colleagues balanced the air’s mugginess levels from dry to damp, reviewing how every moistness level influenced the skin of the mummies. The specialists did their introductory tests on pig skin, to limit the mummy skin they needed to use.
Marcela Sepulveda, professor of archaeology at the University of Tarapacá also stated:
“In the last ten years, the process has accelerated. It is very important to get more information about what’s causing this and to get the university and national government to do what’s necessary to preserve the Chinchorro mummies for the future.”
Sepulveda clarified that the 7,000-year-old procedure was very meticulous and time-consuming . The Chinchorro would first remove the brains and organs, then fill the body with fiber, top off the head hole with straw or fiery debris and employ reeds to sew it together again, including connecting the jaw to skull. A stick kept up the spine and fastened it to the skull. The embalmer then repaired the skin, now and again fixing the body using the skin of ocean lions or different other animals.
At long last, the mummy was covered in a mixture, which archaeologists allot to different periods in the more than 3,000 years of Chinchorro mummy-production: dark produced using manganese was employed for the most ancient ones, red produced using ocher in later specimens, and brown mud had been connected to the most recent mummies.
Image Source: International Business Times