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Old August 25th, 2007 #1
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Default Tocharians: The Whites of Ancient China

THE CAUCASIANS OF CHINA
SECRETS OF THE REDHEAD MUMMIES

Interestingly enough, Christian Identity Theology has long before the discovery of these mummies, asserted that the Tarim Basin was the homeland of the Aryan and that the flood of Noah also was centralized to and took place in this basin.


How could an ancient mummy found in remote China have red hair and Caucasian features? The answer has sparked a battle over smuggled DNA, Western imperialism, and history as we know it.

Until he first encountered the mummies of Xinjiang, Victor Mair was known mainly as a brilliant, if eccentric, translator of obscure Chinese texts, a fine sinologist with a few controversial ideas about the origins of Chinese culture, and a scathing critic prone to penning stern reviews of sloppy scholarship. Mair's pronouncements on the striking resemblance between some characters inscribed on the Dead Sea Scrolls and early Chinese symbols were intensely debated by researchers. His magnum opus on the origins of Chinese writing, a work he had been toiling away at for years in his office at the University of Pennsylvania, was eagerly anticipated. But in 1988, something profound happened to Mair, something that would touch a nerve in both the East and the West, raising troubling questions about race, racism, and the nature of history itself.

That year, Mair had led a group of American travelers through a small museum in Ürümchi, the capital of China's remote northwestern most province, Xinjiang. Mair had visited the museum several times before, but on this occasion a new sign pointed to a back room. "It said something like 'Mummy Exhibition,' " recalled Mair, "and I had the strangest kind of weird feeling because it was very dark. There were curtains, I think. Going in, you felt like you were entering another world."



In a glass display case so poorly lit that visitors needed to use flashlights to look at its contents, Mair spied a bizarre sight. It was the outstretched body of a man just under six feet tall, dressed in an elegantly tailored wool tunic and matching pants, the color of red wine. Covering the man's legs were striped leggings in riotous shades of yellow, red, and blue, attire so outrageous it could have come straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss. But it was not so much the man's clothing that first riveted Mair's attention. It was the face. It was narrow and pale ivory in color, with high cheekbones, full lips, and a long nose. Locks of ginger-colored hair and a graying beard framed the parchment-like skin. He looked very Caucasian: indeed he resembled someone Mair knew intimately. "He looked like my brother Dave sleeping there, and that's what really got me. I just kept looking at him, looking at his closed eyes. I couldn't tear myself away, and I went around his glass case again and again and again. I stayed in there for several hours. I was supposed to be leading our group. I just forgot about them for two or three hours."

Local archaeologists had come across the body a few years earlier while excavating in the Tarim Basin, an immense barren of sand and rock in southern Xinjiang. The region was not the kind of place that generally attracted well-dressed strangers. At the height of summer, temperatures in the basin soared to a scorching 125 degrees Fahrenheit, without so much as a whisper of humidity, and in winter, they frequently plunged far below freezing. The desert at the basin's heart was one of the most parched places on Earth, and its very name, the Taklamakhan, was popularly said to mean "go in and you won't come out." Over the years, the Chinese government had found various uses for all this bleakness. It had set aside part of it as a nuclear testing range, conducting its blasts far from prying eyes. It had also built labour camps there, certain that no prisoner in his right mind would try to escape.

The Taklamakhan's merciless climate had one advantage, however. It tended to preserve human bodies. The archaeologists who discovered the stranger in the striped leggings marveled at the state of his cadaver. He looked almost alive. They named him Cherchen Man, after the county in which he was found, and when they set about carbon dating his body, they discovered that he was very, very old. Indeed, the tests showed that he had probably roamed the Tarim Basin as early as the eleventh century bc. When Mair learned this, he was astonished. If the mummy was indeed European in origin, this would undermine one of the keystones of Chinese history.

Scholars had long believed that the first contacts between China and Europe occurred relatively late in world history — sometime shortly after the mid-second century bc, when the Chinese emperor Wudi sent an emissary west. According to contemporary texts, Wudi had grown tired of the marauding Huns, a nomadic people whose homeland lay in what is now southwest Mongolia. The Huns were continually raiding the richest villages of his empire, stealing its grain and making off with its women. So Wudi decided to propose a military alliance with a kingdom far to the west, beyond Mongolia, in order to crush a common foe. In 139 bc, the emperor sent one of his attendants, Zhang Qian, on the long trek across Asia. Zhang Qian failed to obtain the alliance his master coveted, but the route he took became part of the legendary Silk Road to Europe. In the years that followed, hundreds of trading caravans and Caucasians plied this route, carrying bundles of ivory, gold, pomegranates, safflowers, jade, furs, porcelain, and silk between Rome and the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an.

Nationalists in China were very fond of this version of history. It strongly suggested that Chinese civilization, which had flowered long before Zhang Qian headed west, must have blossomed in isolation, free of European influence, and it cast early Chinese achievements in a particularly glorious light. In one popular book, The Cradle of the East, Chinese historian Ping-ti Ho proudly claimed that the hallmarks of early Chinese civilization — including the chariot, bronze metallurgy, and a system of writing — were all products of Chinese genius alone. According to Ping-ti Ho, those living in the ancient Celestial Kingdom had never stooped to borrowing the ideas of others and their inventive genius surpassed that of the West.

Mair, a professor of Chinese in the department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, had long doubted this version of history. He suspected that the Chinese had encountered Westerners from Europe long before the emperor Wudi dreamed up his military alliance. Several early Chinese books, for example, described tall men with green eyes and red hair that resembled the fur of rhesus monkeys. Most scholars dismissed these accounts as legendary, but Mair wasn't so sure. He thought they were descriptions of Caucasian men. During his studies of Chinese mythology, he had found stories strikingly similar to those in early Greek and Roman tales. The parallels were too frequent to be mere coincidences. And he kept stumbling across words in early Chinese texts that seemed to have been borrowed from ancient languages far to the west. Among these were the words for dog, cow, goose, grape, and wheel. But though Mair repeatedly argued the case for early trade and contact between China and the West, he had no hard archaeological evidence of contact, and no one took him very seriously. "People would laugh at me. I said that East and West were communicating back in the Bronze Age and people just said, 'Oh yeah? Interesting, but prove it.' "

Never for a moment did Mair expect to find the kind of flesh-and-blood vindication that Cherchen Man promised. Still, he was wary of a hoax. The man's tailored woolen clothing, with all the complex textile technology it implied, was unlike anything Mair had ever seen from ancient Asia, let alone a remote outpost like Xinjiang. The mummy itself seemed almost too perfectly preserved to be true. "I thought it was part of a wax museum or something, a ploy to get more tourists. How could they have such advanced textile technology three thousand years ago? I couldn't put it into any historical context. It didn't make any sense whatsoever."

Mair began asking his Chinese colleagues about Cherchen Man. He learned that European scholars had unearthed several similar bodies in the Tarim Basin almost a century before but had regarded them as little more than oddities. In 1895, for example, the British-Hungarian scholar Marc Aurel Stein exhumed a few Caucasian bodies while searching for antiquities and old Central Asian texts in the Tarim Basin. "It was a strange sensation," noted Stein in his later writings, "to look down on figures which but for the parched skin seemed like those of men asleep." However, Stein and the Europeans who followed him were far more interested in classical-era ruins than in mummified bodies, and failed to investigate further.

Early Chinese archaeologists in the region also came across some of the bodies, but they were no more interested than the Europeans. They thought it likely that a few ancient foreigners had strayed into this outlying territory of ancient China by chance. But in the 1970s, while surveying along proposed routes for pipelines and rail lines in Xinjiang, Chinese archaeologists happened upon scores of the parched cadavers, so many that they couldn't excavate them all. Most of the bodies were very Caucasian-looking — a major discovery that went unreported outside a small circle of archaeologists in China. The mummies had blond, red, or auburn hair. They had deep-set eyes, long noses, thick beards, and tall, often gangly, frames. Some wore woolens of what looked like Celtic plaid and sported strangely familiar forms of Western haberdashery: conical black witches' hats, tam-o'-shanters, and Robin Hood caps. Others were dressed only in fur moccasins, woolen wraps, and feathered caps, and buried with small baskets of grain. This last group, it transpired, contained the oldest of the Caucasians. According to radiocarbon-dating tests, they roamed the northwestern corner of China in the twenty-first century bc, the height of the Bronze Age, just as Mair had long been suggesting.

Not only had they wandered the Tarim Basin, they had also settled there for a very long time. Cherchen Man had walked the Tarim deserts in the eleventh century bc, a millennium after the earliest Caucasians. Moreover, murals from the region depict people with fair hair and long noses in the seventh century AD, while some local texts of the same era are inscribed in a lost European language known as Tocharian. If the writers were descendants of the Caucasian-looking people who arrived in Xinjiang nearly 2,800 years earlier, one can only conclude that this was a very successful colony.

Convinced now of the authenticity of the mummies, Mair began puzzling over their meaning. Who were these ancient invaders, he wondered, and where exactly had they come from?

Victor Mair is a big, rugged-looking man in his mid-fifties, a shade over six foot one, with size-fourteen feet and the clean-cut good looks that one often sees in former pro-football players. The American-born son of an Austrian immigrant, he stands nearly a head taller than most of his colleagues in China, a physical advantage that he often tries to minimize in group photographs by stepping down off a curb or onto a lower step. He has short, neatly combed grey hair, a large aquiline nose, observant blue eyes, and a jesting wit he uses to particularly good effect, laughter being the best way of bridging any awkward cultural gap. He neither smokes nor drinks, and never did, and is, by his own admission, a born leader. Possessed of an uncommon self-confidence, which sometimes comes across as arrogance, he is also a man of many surprising quirks.

I got my first glimpse of this quirkiness in a downpour in Shanghai, in June of 1999. I had arranged to meet Mair in the Chinese city, where, eleven years after first seeing the mummies, he was hoping to begin a new round of DNA testing on them. In our early phone conversations, Mair had told me that he would be traveling with a geneticist who hoped to take tissue samples from the Tarim Basin mummies stored at the Natural History Museum in Shanghai.

It sounded as if everything had been arranged. But as I quickly discovered upon my arrival in Shanghai, Mair was still a long way from gathering the samples. Housed in a small guest house for foreign lecturers at Fudan University, he strode the hallways like a weary giant. He had just spent two full days in meetings with his Chinese colleagues, trying to hammer out a deal. But the talks were stalling. To clear his head, Mair invited me to join him for a walk. In the downpour, I struggled to keep up with him, dodging flocks of cyclists in their shiny yellow rain slickers, and black pools of nearly invisible potholes. Mair wove around them absently. Instead of a raincoat, he wore two long-sleeved plaid shirts, one inside the other. He didn't seem to care that he was getting soaked.



Nothing, he explained as we walked in the rain, was ever simple when it came to the Xinjiang mummies. Dead as they had been for thousands of years, they still managed to stir strong feelings among the living. In China, a restive ethnic minority known as the Uyghurs had stepped forward to claim the mummies as their own. Numbering nearly seven million, the Uyghurs viewed the Tarim Basin as their homeland. Largely Muslim, they had become a subjugated people in the late nineteenth century. During the 1930s and 1940s, their leaders managed to found two brief republics that later fell under Chinese control.

But Uyghur guerillas continued fighting stubbornly, until their last leader was executed in 1961. Since then, the Chinese government has dealt harshly with any sign of separatist sentiment. Amnesty International's 1999 report for Xinjiang made grim reading. "Scores of Uyghurs, many of them political prisoners, have been sentenced to death and executed in the past two years," it noted. "Others, including women, are alleged to have been killed by the security forces in circumstances which appear to constitute extra-judicial executions."

Still the Uyghurs refused to give up, and when they caught wind of mummies being excavated in the Tarim Basin, they were keenly interested. Historians had long suggested that the Uyghurs were relative latecomers to the region, migrating from the plains of Mongolia less than two thousand years ago. But Uyghur leaders were skeptical. They believed that their farmer ancestors had always lived along the thin but fertile river valleys of the Tarim, and as such they embraced the mummies as their kin — even though many scholars, Mair included, suspected that Uyghur invaders had slaughtered or driven out most of the mummies' true descendants and assimilated the few that remained. Still, in Xinjiang, Uyghur leaders picked one of the oldest mummies as an emblem of their cause. They named her, with some poetic licence, the Beauty of Loulan and began printing posters with her picture. That she was so Caucasian-looking was not a problem in Uyghur eyes: some Uyghurs had Caucasian features. People in Ürümchi, the province's capital, were captivated. Musicians began writing songs about her that subtly alluded to the separatist cause.

This sudden outburst of mummy nationalism alarmed the Chinese government. Before long, everything related to the Xinjiang mummies was considered a matter of state security. No one in government was in any hurry to authorize a genetic test on them. If the mummies' DNA revealed even a partial link to the Uyghurs — a not unlikely prospect, given the Uyghurs' mixed heritage — it would further strengthen the separatists' claims to the region in the eyes of the world. This was something the Chinese wished to avoid, especially after the international condemnation of their treatment of another ethnic minority, in Tibet. Adding to the problem was the Chinese sensitivity to any matter touching on the Tarim Basin. Beyond the wispy river valleys and beneath the Tarim's bleak desert plains lay immense oil fields. According to Chinese geologists, they contained nearly 18 billion tons of crude, six times more than the known reserves of the United States.

Chinese officials were not the only ones worried about genetic testing. Western scholars fretted, too. Some hated the thought that Europeans could have succeeded in planting settlements so far into Asia thousands of years ago. Not only did such a migration threaten the Chinese version of history; it seemed vaguely to smack of ancient colonialism, a notion that many historians abhor. "There's a lot of Western guilt about imperialism and sensitivity about dominating other people," said Mair. "It's a really deep subconscious thing, and there are a lot of people in the West who are hypersensitive about saying our culture is superior in any way, or that our culture gets around or extends itself. So there are people who want to make sure that we don't make mistakes in our interpretation of the past."

Certainly, the presence of ancient Europeans in China — even in its outer reaches — could be twisted and distorted to political ends: people with racial agendas had long been searching for just such evidence. During the 1930s, for example, Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler had taken an unhealthy interest in Genghis Khan, the most famous leader of the Mongols, who in the thirteenth century had conquered vast stretches of Central Asia, from southern Siberia to Tibet, and from Korea to the Aral Sea. "Our strength," observed Hitler in a thundering speech to the commanders of Germany's armed forces in 1939, "is in our quickness and brutality. Genghis Khan had millions of women and children killed by his own will and with a gay heart. History sees in him only a great state builder. . . ."

But Hitler's admiration of the ancient Mongol presented a serious problem for a party that placed great stock in racial purity. Genghis Khan, after all, was not Caucasian. He belonged to an Asian race that the Nazis heartily despised as inferior. Himmler, who fancied himself a historian, finally came up with a solution based on pure whimsy. He told one anthropologist that Genghis Khan and his elite Mongol followers were actually Caucasians, descended from the citizens of Atlantis who had decamped from their mythical island home before it sank, cataclysmically, beneath the waves. These Mongol Caucasians, Himmler claimed, were a special kind of Caucasian: German blood flowed through their veins.

One recent book suggests that Himmler went so far as to request a collection of mummies from Central Asia. But Mair doubted it. "In all of my reading of works emanating from these expeditions," he said, "I have never come across any indication that they brought such corpses back to Europe."

Even so, the bizarre racial ideas of the Nazis troubled Western scholars. They worried about where genetic testing of the Xinjiang mummies might lead, and worse still, about who might ultimately try to profit from the research. Testing the mummies was like taking a stroll through a minefield: there was no telling what might explode in the traveler's face.

"It would be especially bad news if any of the mummies were German," observed Mair later, in the guest house where he was staying. "They've had two world wars in which they were the perpetrators and if any of these mummies were even remotely Germanic, forget it. People just wouldn't want to talk about it."

As amazed as Mair had been by the mummies back in 1988, he hadn't had the time to study them. In September, 1991, however, he picked up a newspaper and read about the discovery of a frozen, partially preserved corpse of a 5,300-year-old man in a glacier along the Austrian-Italian border. This became Europe's famous iceman, known as Ötzi.

The news startled Mair. His own father had grown up in Pfaffenhoffen, a small Austrian village just a short distance away from where scientists had dug the iceman from a glacier. His father's family had grazed their herds in the same alpine meadows where Ötzi had probably wandered. The iceman, he realized, might well be a distant relative. Might he also have had some connection to the ancestors of Cherchen Man, who looked so much like Mair's own brother? "I saw the headlines and I jerked," Mair recalls. "I looked at that iceman and I said, 'These guys out in the Tarim are just like him.' One's in ice and the others are in sand. It didn't take half a second."

Austrian scientists planned on performing sophisticated scientific tests, including DNA analysis, on the iceman. It occurred to Mair that similar tests on Cherchen Man and his kin could do much to trace the ancestry of the mummies. He immediately wrote to Wang Binghua, one of the foremost archaeologists in Xinjiang, outlining the project that was forming in his mind. He also called Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, a distinguished geneticist at Stanford University who was an expert on ancient DNA. Cavalli-Sforza instantly saw the possibilities. He recommended that Mair contact one of his former students, Paolo Francalacci, at the University of Sassari, in Italy. Mair did just that, and working closely with Wang over the next months he managed to hammer out a deal with the Chinese government. Beijing finally gave the team a green light in 1993.

Francalacci thought it best to collect samples from mummies left in the ground, as opposed to bodies already stored in museums. This would reduce the possibility of contamination with modern DNA. So in Ürümchi, he set off, along with Mair and Wang Binghua, for the well-documented grave sites found during the Chinese pipeline and railway surveys of the 1970s and in archaeological studies since. Dozens of these mummies, many lying in relatively shallow underground tombs, had been left alone because of the enormous cost to curate them.

At each chosen grave, the young geneticist donned a face mask and a pair of latex gloves, and docked tiny pieces of muscle, skin, and bone from the mummies, often choosing tissue along the inside of the thighs or under the armpits because these regions had been less exposed to the excavators. He sealed each sample in a plastic vial. After several days, he had collected twenty-five specimens from eleven individuals, enough for a modest study. But there was little time for celebration. In a stunning about-face, Chinese authorities suddenly demanded Francalacci's samples, refusing to allow them out of the country.

Then a mysterious thing happened. Just shortly before Mair departed for home, a Chinese colleague turned up with a surreptitious gift. He slipped five of the confiscated, sealed samples into Mair's pocket. These had come from two mummies. The grateful Mair passed the samples on to Francalacci, who began toiling in Italy to amplify the DNA.

For months, the Italian geneticist labored on the mummy samples, trying to extract enough DNA for sequencing. The nucleic acids had badly degraded, but still, Francalacci kept trying various methods, and in 1995 he called Mair with a piece of good news. He had finally retrieved enough DNA to sequence, and his preliminary results were intriguing. The two Xinjiang mummies belonged to the same genetic lineage as most modern-day Swedes, Finns, Tuscans, Corsicans, and Sardinians.

The genetic studies were promising, but they only whetted Mair's curiosity. It was not just that Cherchen Man bore an uncanny resemblance to his own brother Dave (whom he had taken to calling Ur-David), it also had to do with Mair's own deeply rooted beliefs. "Everything that I've done," he explained, "even though it's been running all over the map, it's all been tied into making things accessible to the everyday guy, the worker. That's what it's all about and that's why I looked at these mummies. They were just everyday guys, not famous people."

Mair had acquired this outlook at an early age. His immigrant father, whom he adored and deeply admired, was a lathe operator for a ball-bearing company in Canton, Ohio. His mother was a poet and songwriter. Growing up in a working-class family, Mair was continually reminded of the importance of ordinary people, who sweated on the assembly lines or who bent over mops and brooms at night. These were the kinds of people history tended to ignore.

Now, with this same instinct for the common man, Mair redoubled his efforts to trace the mummies' ancestry. In Xinjiang, a Chinese colleague had slipped him another parting gift: a swatch of blue, brown, and white cloth taken from a twelfth-century-bc mummy. The fabric looked like a piece of Celtic plaid. Mair passed it over to Irene Good, a textile expert at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Good examined it under an electron microscope. The style of weave, known as a "two over two" diagonal twill, bore little resemblance to anything woven by Asian weavers of the day. (Indeed, it would be almost another two millennia before women in central China turned out twill cloth on their looms.) But the weave exactly matched cloth found with the bodies of thirteenth-century-bc salt miners in Austria. Like the DNA samples, the mysterious plaid pointed straight towards a European homeland.

Excited by the textile connection, Mair organized a new expedition to Xinjiang with Good, her fellow textile expert Elizabeth Barber, and her cultural anthropologist husband, Paul Barber. As the two women pored over the mummies' clothing, Barber examined the bodies themselves, studying their mummification. Mair hoped this might offer clues to the origins of the people themselves. But the ancient desert dwellers, he discovered, had not taken any of the elaborate measures favored by the Egyptians or other skilled morticians. Instead, they had relied on nature for a few simple tricks. In some cases, family members had buried their dead in salt fields, whose chemistry preserved human flesh like a salted ham. Often, they had arranged the cadaver so that dry air flowed around the extremities, swiftly desiccating the flesh. Cherchen Man, for example, had benefited from both techniques.

Mair, too, assisted in the work. In his spare time, he translated key Chinese reports on the mummies and published them in his own journal, The Sino-Platonic Papers. This gave Western archaeologists access to the scientific findings for the first time. He wanted to make the mummies the focus of a lively scientific and scholarly investigation. So he set about organizing a major international scientific conference on the mummies, bringing leading archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists, geneticists, geographers, sinologists, historians, ethnologists, climatologists, and metallurgists to the University of Pennsylvania to discuss their ideas. After everyone left, Mair dutifully edited and translated two large volumes of their papers, clarifying their arcane prose until everyone interested in the field could understand it. "If I have grey hair," he joked, "it was because I was sitting there slaving over this stuff."

Last edited by Alex Linder; March 25th, 2008 at 07:42 PM.
 
Old August 25th, 2007 #2
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When he had finally finished, he sat down in his office with a pad of paper and a pen. He sifted through hundreds of studies on matters as diverse as linguistics, pottery styles, methods of tomb construction, and metallurgy across Eurasia over the past seven thousand years, searching for cultures whose core technologies and languages bore clear similarities to those of the ancient Caucasian cultures of Xinjiang. These he recognized as ancestral societies. Slowly, patiently, he worked his way back through time and space, tracing the territories of these ancestral groups. Eventually, after months of work, he sketched a map of what he concluded was their homeland. The territory stretched in a wide swath across central Europe, from northern Denmark to the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. But its heart, some six thousand years ago, lay in what is now southern Germany, northeastern Austria, and a portion of the Czech Republic. "I really felt that that fit the archaeological evidence best," Mair later told me.

When he finally showed his map to some of his colleagues, though, they were deeply dismayed. Elizabeth Barber, one of his closest collaborators, angrily demanded that he redraw it, insisting that linguistic evidence, particularly the ancestry of ancient words for looms, pointed to a homeland much farther east. Realizing that he had gone too far for the comfort of his colleagues, and that he had yet to find the proof he needed, he bowed to their pressure. He redrew the map, placing the homeland in a broad arc stretching from eastern Ukraine and southern Russia to western Kazakhstan. Then he published it in the conference proceedings. "I thought, for this book, it wouldn't be too bad," he confessed, shaking his head. "I decided I wouldn't go against the flow that much, because that is a big flow with some really smart people." Then he looked down at the map in front of him. "But in my own integrity and honesty, I'd want to put it in here." He sketched a narrow oval. Its centre fell near the Austrian city of Salzburg.

All of which brought us to Shanghai, and the rain, and the final arbiter, hopefully, of more DNA testing. Convinced he was right, and desperately wanting to find the proof that would dispel all doubt, Mair believed genetics still offered the best hope of vindication. If DNA testing was sufficient to convict or exonerate men in a court of law, it would surely be strong enough to persuade even the most skeptical of his colleagues. He needed samples for another, more powerful type of DNA testing, but as he had just discovered, the Chinese officials had upped the ante again. Japanese researchers had recently paid $100,000 to acquire samples of the ancient matter for DNA testing, and officials at Shanghai's Museum of Natural History now wanted a similar sum from Mair.

Mair didn't have it, and he was running out of time. Still, he remained surprisingly upbeat. During a break in the negotiations one afternoon, he invited me to follow Xu Yongqing, the head of the Shanghai Museum of Natural History's anthropology department, down the stairs to a basement room in the museum. Unlocking the door to a small room behind the employees' bicycle racks, Xu led the way inside. Along three of the walls, mummies in glass cases reclined luxuriously on red velvet cloth. Stacked three high in spots, they looked much like train passengers bedded down for the night in their berths. Mair stood quietly, scanning the room. Then he saw what he wanted to show me. In one of the lower glass cases, a young woman lay stretched out on her back, stripped of her fine woolens. Her knees were pressed demurely together, her arms rested comfortably at her sides, and her breasts lay round and full, as if she had perished in the midst of nursing a child.

But it was the hair that caught my attention. A long wavy golden-brown mane twisted down her back. Standing in that room, I felt an unexpected sense of kinship with her, surrounded as she was by strangers. And I wondered just what had prodded her ancestors to exchange the cool greenness of Europe for the scorching barrens of the Tarim Basin.

As always, Mair had some ideas. He believed a new invention had spurred this woman's forebears to embark on this eastern exodus: horseback riding. Some 5,700 years ago, he explained, Eurasians had begun rounding up wild horses, and sometime later they started sliding bits into their mouths and swinging their bodies onto their backs. These seemingly simple acts led them to conquer terrestrial space. For the first time ever, human beings were able to travel swiftly over immense distances, an accomplishment so exhilarating and adrenalin-charged that they suddenly gave full rein to their wanderlust.

So equipped, Mair went on with growing enthusiasm, early Europeans had easily spread out across Eurasia, their brisk progress recorded in the ancient campsites they left behind. Some of the invaders swept northward, becoming the Germanic tribes; others journeyed west to become the Celts of the British Isles. But the ancestors of the Xinjiang people had headed east across the grassy steppes of Asia, repelling any who tried to bar their path, and four thousand years ago, a small group of latecomers rode into the vacant river valleys of the Tarim Basin. Finding sufficient land to make a life there, they stayed, passing on their love and knowledge of fine horses to their descendants. When mourners buried Cherchen Man, they arranged a dead horse and a saddle atop his grave, two essential things he would need in the next life.

In all likelihood, observed Mair, some of these European invaders rode even further to the east and north, beyond the reach of desiccating deserts. And there they brought with them such new Western inventions as the chariot, a high-performance vehicle designed for warfare and sport, and bronze metallurgy, which made strong weapons that retained their killing edge. Very possibly, a few of these invaders carried with them the secret of writing. While examining the hand of an ancient woman exhumed near Cherchen Man, Mair had noticed row upon row of a strange tattoo along her hand. Shaped like a backward S, it clearly resembled the early Phoenician consonant that gave us our modern S. Mair has also found the identical form of S — which resembles an ancient Chinese character — along with other alphabet form signs, on artifacts of this era from western China.

Chinese scholars, it occurred to me, were unlikely to take much comfort in the thought of these invaders. And they were unlikely to be pleased by the pivotal role these intruders may have played in ancient Chinese life. Western inventions, after all, shaped the course of history. Fleet chariots enabled Chinese armies to vanquish their enemies, and sturdy bronze swords reinforced dreams of empire. And a secret system of writing bequeathed Chinese officials the means to govern the conquered lands effortlessly.

But invention is only one small part of the story. What societies make of technological leaps forward is as important as the act of creation itself. It was the genius of others, after all, who unwittingly made the West strong. It gave Europeans the compasses that guided mariners overseas to Asia and America. It provided the printing presses that disseminated knowledge of these new lands to the masses. It bestowed the gunpowder that fuelled conquest. Indeed, all these came from Chinese inventors.

There are many ironies joining East and West in the inseparable embrace of history. Mair savours them. His trip to Shanghai in the rain ended in disappointment. He left China empty-handed. But he is now raising funds and fervently seeking permission to conduct further DNA tests on the mummies of Xinjiang. Until that day, Ur-David waits in a museum storage room in China, unclaimed as a long-lost brother.

© Copyright June 2002 by Heather Pringle, Journalist
Excerpted from The Mummy Congress

Last edited by Alex Linder; March 25th, 2008 at 07:44 PM.
 
Old August 25th, 2007 #3
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That was very interesting! I never knew Genghis Khan was not caucasian! I have always thought that he was pure white blood. But he was actually asian. Since german blood flowed thru their veins they 'considered' themselves caucasian. I also did not know Hitler was infatuated with Genghis. That doesn't surprise me though, as Genghis was one of the most ruthless men of his time. No mercy whatsoever did he show. Good articles, thanks for the info.
 
Old August 25th, 2007 #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgbrashear3@aol.com View Post
That was very interesting! I never knew Genghis Khan was not caucasian! I have always thought that he was pure white blood. But he was actually asian. Since german blood flowed thru their veins they 'considered' themselves caucasian. I also did not know Hitler was infatuated with Genghis. That doesn't surprise me though, as Genghis was one of the most ruthless men of his time. No mercy whatsoever did he show. Good articles, thanks for the info.
Kitibuq Noyen the commander of the Mongol Army at Ain Jalut was descended from an Arsacid Parthian family, some of which had apparently became squaw men.
 
Old September 3rd, 2007 #5
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Default The Riddle of the White `Mummies' Of Ancient China

The Riddle of the White `Mummies' Of Ancient China

By Dr. Alexander Jacob

Traditionally archeologists and historians have supposed that the civilization of China, with an origin at approximately 1700 B.C. (give or take a century or so), evolved almost in isolation from the rest of the world. In recent years, however, amazing evidence has emerged that white people were present in eastern Turkestan (where Red China in recent times has tested its thermonuclear weapons) at an even earlier date. And these Caucasian people gave China the chariot, as well as metallurgical and textile technology. They may even have given Chinese civilization its start.

One of the most extraordinary anthropological revelations of the 20th century was the re cent discovery of 4,000-year-old Euro poid desiccated human remains (generally, though not very accurately, called "mummies") in the Tarim Basin of Cen tral Asia. The mummies, as we shall re fer to them, were found in Sinkiang, also known as the Uighur Autonomous Region, located north of Tibet and southwest of Mongolia, in an area that has been claimed by China since the 19th century.
The bodies are those of white people, who did not undergo an Egyptian-style mummification process but were preserved by the extreme dryness of the local climate.

These archeological finds demonstrate a very ancient Aryan (Indo-European) presence in an area we now call part of China, which may have been responsible for the transmission of chariot use, metallurgy and weaving techniques to the various other peoples of the region, including the Chinese themselves.

It is known that the Chinese borrowed a number of words dealing with wheels and chariots from Indo-European sources. Archeology tells us that the art of making spoked wheels, and thus chariots light enough to be drawn by horses, was developed at the western end of Asia, around the southern Urals, in the third and early second millennia B.C. We do not know for certain that the mummy people used chariots, but given the known facts, it seems likely that they did, and that they transmitted this know-how to the Shan tribe of Chinese. There is no doubt that a sizable chunk of ancient Chinese vocabulary came from Indo-European—not only to do with chariotry, but also in architecture, divination, healing and other matters.

Continuing excavation turned up a few bronze trinkets, plus the marks left by metal tools used to shape wood found in the mummy graves. Since it is believed the bronze age began in the Near East around 3000 B.C., a date of 2000 B.C. would tally for a bronze age site in the Tarim Basin. Current archeological evidence indicates that the bronze age in "China proper" didn't get under way until nearly 1500 B.C. If the use of bronze began centuries earlier in the Tarim country next door, it throws into doubt the doctrine that Chinese civilization grew up entirely separately from Near Eastern innovation on all fronts, that the Chinese invented such seminal crafts as metalworking and writing quite independently.

Unfortunately the mummy people put little in the way of metal or pottery into their graves, possibly having a taboo against such use of newfangled items. However, we have a wealth of textiles from the graves, and cloth and the words associated with it can tell many tales. In our own English language, such words as "weave" and "sew" are very ancient, coming down to us from the Proto-Indo-European language. Other words, like "felt," were borrowed from other sources along the way. The situation with the mummy people seems to be similar. Their cloth has survived well enough (notably from a series of mummies found near Hami, or Qumul) to show an uncanny resemblance to a series of textiles of the same age from Central Europe, woven by the ancestors of the Kelts, fellow Indo-Europeans living at the other end of Eurasia.

The Tarim bodies did not undergo a mummification process similar to that of the ancient Egyptians, but simply were preserved by the extreme dryness and saltiness of the climate and soil, much like the similarly misnamed Inca "ice mummies" and the Siberian (Paz ryk) "mummified ice maiden."

Much mystery still surrounds this early central Asian tribe, whose name is unknown. Scholars have not yet been able to ascertain precisely whether these "mummy people" were proto-Scythians, proto-Kelts or both.

The earliest of the mummies found in the Tarim Basin can be dated to around 2000 B.C., that is, before either the earliest Indic Mitanni kingdom in Western Asia (ca. 1600 B.C.) or the first flowering of the Indic culture in the Indus Valley (ca. 1500 B.C.). The mummies bear no records of their linguistic or religious status, and the Indo-European Tokhar ian (also spelled Tocharian) language of the region is attested from a much later date (3rd-8th centuries A.D.) than the mummies, which can only tentatively be identified as belonging to the ancestors of the Tokharian speakers. (See pages 8-9 for a sidebar article on the Tokharians.)

Tokharian is a "centum" language, un like the "satem" Indo-Iranian languages.1 The pictorial representations of the historical Tokharians, however, exhibit Indo-Iranian attire, while the To kharian texts themselves are related to the Buddhist religion, which the Tokharians may have been instrumental in conveying to their Chinese neighbors.

The collection of scholarly essays edited by Prof. Victor Mair in The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Peoples of Eastern Central Asia sheds some focused light on the mysterious origins of the Tarim Basin mummies. These two volumes continue an earlier collection of essays edited by Prof. Mair, which appeared in the Journal of Indo-Euro pean Studies, 23 (fall/winter 1995) on the same subject of the Europoid mummies and their possible links to the Tokhar ians. The earlier collection contains some valuable studies by J.P. Mallory, D.Q. Adams and D. Ringe on the archeological and linguistic affiliations of the Europoid peoples of eastern Central Asia and of the Tokharians, as well as an intriguing article by James Opie on the probable connection between the To khar ians and the Guti and Tukri tribes of what is today called Iran.2

The Mair volumes are unfortunately too technical for the average lay reader, who would profit more from reading Elizabeth Barber's Mummies of Ürümchi. (See our ad on the back inside cover.)

One of the scenarios explored by Miss Barber is that the Uighurs may be the descendants of the Tokharians, despite the language difference. (Uighurs speak a Turkic language; Tokharians of course used an Indo-European tongue.)

FOOTNOTES
1 What have sometimes been called the "western" and "eastern" groups of the Aryan family of languages are distinguished, roughly, by their use of "c" (pronounced "k") in the west or "s" in the east, in words like "centum"/ "satem" (from the Avestan, pronounced "shatem") (= "hundred"). Most linguists no longer automatically divide the family in two in this way, partly because they wish to avoid implying the Indo-Europeans underwent an early split into two branches—although the terms are still used. Also, this trait is only one of several patterns that cut across the lines of the 11 or so different subfamilies of Indo-European.—Ed.

2These people were called, in ancient Greek records, the Getae.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
The Mummies of Ürümchi, Elizabeth W. Barber, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1999.
The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Peoples of Eastern Central Asia, two vols., clothbound, 899 pp., ed. V.H. Mair, Institute for the Study of Man, 1133 13th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005, 1998.
The Silent Past, Ivar Lissnar, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1962.

Last edited by Alex Linder; March 25th, 2008 at 07:51 PM.
 
Old March 11th, 2008 #6
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Arrow Two documentaries about the Tocharians (and Scythians)

A 1998 PBS documentary and a 2007 Nat'l Geographic documentary on the Indo-European — Aryan — people the Tocharians, as well as covering the similarly Aryan Scythians (although briefly). The latter mentioned documentary, I should note, was directed by the multi-racialist “part2 pictures,” so check the 1998 first.

As I said, the 1998 PBS documentary is more authentic, more truthful and [because of that] less multi-cult'ized, it also shows frescoes and other artifacts that were partially destroyed (like the eyes literally gouged out of frescoes in caves; revealing European features and characteristics).

The embedded videos (cut in three), below, are from the 2007 documentary of Nat'l Geographic.

  • http://podblanc.com/?q=node/14064
  • http://podblanc.com/?q=node/14068
  • http://podblanc.com/?q=node/14073

Last edited by Mark Kerpolt; March 11th, 2008 at 08:26 PM.
 
Old March 12th, 2008 #7
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I am still downloading the big screen version but this should be good.

This is another pertinent chunk of our history and another reason to destroy the gooks.
 
Old March 12th, 2008 #8
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You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to psychologicalshock again.”
...
 
Old March 25th, 2008 #9
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Arrow [VIDEO] After almost 10 years of silence, new documentary on White mummies of China

Divided into three parts, hosted at podblanc.
  • http://podblanc.com/?q=node/14064
  • http://podblanc.com/?q=node/14068
  • http://podblanc.com/?q=node/14073


«China's Mystery Mummies»
· producer: part2 pictures (for National Geographic)
· production date: 2007
· release date: 2007-2008

This is a truly fascinating documentary about the Tocharians, an Indo-European — Aryan — people that lived in the Tarim Basin, a part of nowadays' Xinjiang, western China. Xinjiang [新疆/شىنجاڭ/Xīnjiāng; ڑīn·jāŋ], which literally means: “New Frontier” in Chinese; suggesting not only that it's a very militaristic possession of China, but most of all that it's a new province, which indeed is the case.

This documentary is very much like PBS' «The Mysterious Mummies of China», from 1998. However, unlike PBS' 1998 documentary, this documentary features reenacted reconstructions, better angled and more extensive footage and all at a much higher graphical resolution (as it was broadcast in HD format also). It also more goes into a greater depth on certain archeological finds, such as artifacts like cloth and tools that were found. It also analyses the mummification practice, that they applied, which is particularly interesting since it more or less suggests that Aryans possessed [roughly] the same knowledge as the ancient Egyptians (which is — at any rate — very telling for the Egyptians' origins). Although it doesn't go delve into language and writing systems, it's still very interesting

Unfortunately though, despite the truly interesting and beautiful footage with the equally fascinating information, this documentary got a very political angle; a very unfactual angle really, to conform with the nowadays' trend of so-called “multi-culturalism” and “[race] mixing.” The documentary lays, for such ‘multi-cultural’ reasons, also a lot of emphasis on DNA finds. The DNA ‘results’ were cunningly used to ‘conclude’ that Tocharians were partly “Asians,” and of “mixed race,” and not “Europeans” in the end of the documentary. They went even as far as to claim the Tocharians and their environment were similar to Manhattan and its citizens today!

What isn't told, or stressed rather, that “Asian” — the type of marker found in the DNA — as in Indian wasn't necessarily non-European in the Indo-European — Aryan — sense. In fact, as historically well-versed people know, India at the time was completely different from what it is now; unlike what most people might know or even suspect (thus deceiving people greatly). A cunning conclusion, not based on facts, not mentioning several other aspects — such as language, as I mentioned earlier; they spoke Indo-European languages — and not even fully researched yet (as they even admit).

The conclusion was made by a very ‘multi-culturally driven’ American ‘geneticist’Spencer Wells — and several Chinese ‘researchers,’ one that normally works on forensic cases and with such methods. The conclusion was all very noticably to their ‘delight,’ particularly to the Chinese ‘researchers’ working on this project, that were featured in the documentary. The Chinese don't give this out of hands, and the reason why since 1998 until now nothing was made on this mummies, is because of China's reluctance and the Chinese nature and mentality. The facts remain, however.

The documentary was furthermore produced by “part2 pictures,” for National Geographic. “part2 pictures” is a commercial video production company, unlike the non-profit PBS, with a very ‘multi-culti’ orientation. Their orientation has without doubt played a gigantic part in the whole tone and conclusion in the end.

Despite the non-factual, deceiving and very obviously childish quasi-‘refutation’ attempt of the ‘European'ness’ (read: White'ness and Aryan'ness) of the Tocharians, it's still extremely worth watching and people will know — especially if they've seen the 1998 PBS version as well — what is truthful and what isn't. Which goes even more for people interested and aware of history, genetics and [physical] anthropology.

— references & resources


HD quality version available via BitTorrent and eMule now!

  • «China's Mystery Mummies»
    · region: NTSC
    · resolution: 720p (HD)
    · format: DVD-video
    · medium: ISO image
    Get the NTSC version here!

  • «China's Mystery Mummies»
    · region: PAL
    · resolution: 720p (HD)
    · format: DVD-video
    · medium: ISO image
    Get the PAL version here!
 
Old February 6th, 2011 #10
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Mystery of the mummy's Chinese travel ban

By Clifford Coonan in Beijing

Saturday, 5 February 2011


The 'Beauty of Xiaohe', which China has pulled out of an exhibition in the US

For her advanced years, she looks remarkable. Despite nearing the ripe old age of 4,000, long eyelashes still frame her half-open eyes and hair tumbles down to her remarkably well-preserved shoulders.

But the opportunity for new audiences in the United States to view the "Beauty of Xiaohe" – a near perfectly preserved mummy from an inhospitable part of western China – has been dealt a blow after it was pulled from an exhibition following a sudden call from the Chinese authorities on the eve of opening. The reason for pulling the mummy and other artefacts from the show remained unclear yesterday (Chinese officials were on New Year holiday) but there were suggestions that the realities of modern Chinese politics may have had a part to play.

The mummy was recovered from China's Tarim Basin, in Xinjiang province. But her Caucasian features raised the prospect that the region's inhabitants were European settlers.

It raises the question about who first settled in Xinjiang and for how long the oil-rich region has been part of China. The questions are important – most notably for the Chinese authorities who face an intermittent separatist movement of nationalist Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people who number nine million in Xinjiang.

The government-approved story of China's first contact with the West dates back to 200BC when China's emperor Wu Di wanted to establish an alliance with the West against the marauding Huns, then based in Mongolia. However, the discovery of the mummies suggests that Caucasians were settled in a part of China thousands of years before Wu Di: the notion that they arrived in Xinjiang before the first East Asians is truly explosive.

Xinjiang is dominated by the Uighurs, who resent what they see as intrusion by the Han Chinese. The tensions which have spilled over into violent clashes in recent years.

Whatever the reason for the Chinese decision, it has caused great disappointment at the Pennsylvania museum where the "Secrets of the Silk Road" were due to go on show after successful exhibitions in California and Texas without major reproductions.

"It's going to be the rebirth of this museum," Victor Mair, a professor of Chinese language and literature, told the Associated Press last month. "It's going to put it back on the map."

Professor Mair declined to comment on the current controversy.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...n-2205033.html
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Old February 6th, 2011 #11
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Quote:
Whatever the reason for the Chinese decision...
As has been said elsewhere, the reason for them pulling the exhibit is their massive inferiority complex.

They don't want it to be known that all knowledge, culture, & widom was handed down to them by allmighty Whitey. And not 'the great chinese culture this' & 'the mystical oriental claptrap that' bullshit that is always pushed by the jew media.


Stupid fucking monkeys are too dumb to realise, the jew system & the liberal scum working in it would never publish, or even draw such conclusions.
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Old February 18th, 2011 #12
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We have enough information to summarize: The White Population after the last ice age was slowly exterminated and pushed into a corner in Europe.
We were present everywhere in the Americas, Eurasia and North Africa and there is clear evidence to show this.
 
Old June 24th, 2011 #14
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Secede. Control taxbases/municipalities. Use sanctions, boycotts, strikes.
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Old June 25th, 2011 #15
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"Ancient Greek and Chinese historians had long referenced a unique cultural and ethnic group with red or blonde hair and blue eyes since the 3rd century BCE, that settled Afghanistan and forged a vibrant Buddhist empire that spread Buddhism to much of the the world through China and India.

Mysterious 4,000-year-old mummies in the deserts of China with "white Europoid" features and clothing, Aryan Proto-Indo-European/Iranian."




"His 2.00 meter (six-foot, six-inch) long body and the clothes and artifacts discovered in the surrounding tombs suggest the highest level of civilization in the ancient Tarim Basin region.

Yingpan Man, a nearly perfectly preserved Caucasoid mummy, discovered in the region that bears his name, not only had a gold foil death mask -- a Greek tradition -- covering his blonde bearded face, but also wore elaborate golden embroidered red and maroon garments with seemingly Western European designs. Thousands of years before the Silk road, the earliest inhabitants to the area."


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Old June 25th, 2011 #16
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2,700-year-old marijuana found in Chinese tomb

Dean BeebyTHE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA – Researchers say they have located the world's oldest stash of marijuana, in a tomb in a remote part of China.
The cache of cannabis is about 2,700 years old and was clearly ``cultivated for psychoactive purposes," rather than as fibre for clothing or as food, says a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany.
The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China.
The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green though it had lost its distinctive odour.
"To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent," says the newly published paper, whose lead author was American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.
Remnants of cannabis have been found in ancient Egypt and other sites, and the substance has been referred to by authors such as the Greek historian Herodotus. But the tomb stash is the oldest so far that could be thoroughly tested for its properties.


The 18 researchers, most of them based in China, subjected the cannabis to a battery of tests, including carbon dating and genetic analysis. Scientists also tried to germinate 100 of the seeds found in the cache, without success.
The marijuana was found to have a relatively high content of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, but the sample was too old to determine a precise percentage.
Researchers also could not determine whether the cannabis was smoked or ingested, as there were no pipes or other clues in the tomb of the shaman, who was about 45 years old.
The large cache was contained in a leather basket and in a wooden bowl, and was likely meant to be used by the shaman in the afterlife.
"This materially is unequivocally cannabis, and no material has previously had this degree of analysis possible," Russo said in an interview from Missoula, Mont.
"It was common practice in burials to provide materials needed for the afterlife. No hemp or seeds were provided for fabric or food. Rather, cannabis as medicine or for visionary purposes was supplied."
The tomb also contained bridles, archery equipment and a harp, confirming the man's high social standing.
Russo is a full-time consultant with GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine approved in Canada for pain linked to multiple sclerosis and cancer.
The company operates a cannabis-testing laboratory at a secret location in southern England to monitor crop quality for producing Sativex, and allowed Russo use of the facility for tests on 11 grams of the tomb cannabis.
Researchers needed about 10 months to cut red tape barring the transfer of the cannabis to England from China, Russo said.
The inter-disciplinary study was published this week by the British-based botany journal, which uses independent reviewers to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of all submitted papers.
The substance has been found in two of the 500 Gushi tombs excavated so far in northwestern China, indicating that cannabis was either restricted for use by a few individuals or was administered as a medicine to others through shamans, Russo said.
"It certainly does indicate that cannabis has been used by man for a variety of purposes for thousands of years."
Russo, who had a neurology practice for 20 years, has previously published studies examining the history of cannabis.
"I hope we can avoid some of the political liabilities of the issue," he said, referring to his latest paper.
The region of China where the tomb is located, Xinjiang, is considered an original source of many cannabis strains worldwide.

http://www.chaoticfate.com/2011/04/2...-found-in.html
 
Old November 20th, 2011 #17
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Green Glow represented the Money Gawds IMO.
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Old February 9th, 2013 #18
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A meeting of civilisations: The mystery of China's celtic mummies


Quote:
The discovery of European corpses thousands of miles away suggests a hitherto unknown connection between East and West in the Bronze Age. Clifford Coonan reports from Urumqi


Solid as a warrior of the Caledonii tribe, the man's hair is reddish brown flecked with grey, framing high cheekbones, a long nose, full lips and a ginger beard. When he lived three thousand years ago, he stood six feet tall, and was buried wearing a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. He looks like a Bronze Age European. In fact, he's every inch a Celt. Even his DNA says so.

But this is no early Celt from central Scotland. This is the mummified corpse of Cherchen Man, unearthed from the scorched sands of the Taklamakan Desert in the far-flung region of Xinjiang in western China, and now housed in a new museum in the provincial capital of Urumqi. In the language spoken by the local Uighur people in Xinjiang, "Taklamakan" means: "You come in and never come out."

The extraordinary thing is that Cherchen Man was found - with the mummies of three women and a baby - in a burial site thousands of miles to the east of where the Celts established their biggest settlements in France and the British Isles.

DNA testing confirms that he and hundreds of other mummies found in Xinjiang's Tarim Basin are of European origin. We don't know how he got there, what brought him there, or how long he and his kind lived there for. But, as the desert's name suggests, it is certain that he never came out.

His discovery provides an unexpected connection between east and west and some valuable clues to early European history.

One of the women who shared a tomb with Cherchen Man has light brown hair which looks as if it was brushed and braided for her funeral only yesterday. Her face is painted with curling designs, and her striking red burial gown has lost none of its lustre during the three millenniums that this tall, fine-featured woman has been lying beneath the sand of the Northern Silk Road.

The bodies are far better preserved than the Egyptian mummies, and it is sad to see the infants on display; to see how the baby was wrapped in a beautiful brown cloth tied with red and blue cord, then a blue stone placed on each eye. Beside it was a baby's milk bottle with a teat, made from a sheep's udder.

Based on the mummy, the museum has reconstructed what Cherchen Man would have looked like and how he lived. The similarities to the traditional Bronze Age Celts are uncanny, and analysis has shown that the weave of the cloth is the same as that of those found on the bodies of salt miners in Austria from 1300BC.

The burial sites of Cherchen Man and his fellow people were marked with stone structures that look like dolmens from Britain, ringed by round-faced, Celtic figures, or standing stones. Among their icons were figures reminiscent of the sheela-na-gigs, wild females who flaunted their bodies and can still be found in mediaeval churches in Britain. A female mummy wears a long, conical hat which has to be a witch or a wizard's hat. Or a druid's, perhaps? The wooden combs they used to fan their tresses are familiar to students of ancient Celtic art.

At their peak, around 300BC, the influence of the Celts stretched from Ireland in the west to the south of Spain and across to Italy's Po Valley, and probably extended to parts of Poland and Ukraine and the central plain of Turkey in the east. These mummies seem to suggest, however, that the Celts penetrated well into central Asia, nearly making it as far as Tibet.

The Celts gradually infiltrated Britain between about 500 and 100BC. There was probably never anything like an organised Celtic invasion: they arrived at different times, and are considered a group of peoples loosely connected by similar language, religion, and cultural expression.

The eastern Celts spoke a now-dead language called Tocharian, which is related to Celtic languages and part of the Indo-European group. They seem to have been a peaceful folk, as there are few weapons among the Cherchen find and there is little evidence of a caste system.

Even older than the Cherchen find is that of the 4,000-year-old Loulan Beauty, who has long flowing fair hair and is one of a number of mummies discovered near the town of Loulan. One of these mummies was an eight-year-old child wrapped in a piece of patterned wool cloth, closed with bone pegs.

The Loulan Beauty's features are Nordic. She was 45 when she died, and was buried with a basket of food for the next life, including domesticated wheat, combs and a feather.

The Taklamakan desert has given up hundreds of desiccated corpses in the past 25 years, and archaeologists say the discoveries in the Tarim Basin are some of the most significant finds in the past quarter of a century.

"From around 1800BC, the earliest mummies in the Tarim Basin were exclusively Caucausoid, or Europoid," says Professor Victor Mair of Pennsylvania University, who has been captivated by the mummies since he spotted them partially obscured in a back room in the old museum in 1988. "He looked like my brother Dave sleeping there, and that's what really got me. Lying there with his eyes closed," Professor Mair said.

It's a subject that exercises him and he has gone to extraordinary lengths, dodging difficult political issues, to gain further knowledge of these remarkable people.

East Asian migrants arrived in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3,000 years ago, Professor Mair says, while the Uighur peoples arrived after the collapse of the Orkon Uighur Kingdom, based in modern-day Mongolia, around the year 842.

A believer in the "inter-relatedness of all human communities", Professor Mair resists attempts to impose a theory of a single people arriving in Xinjiang, and believes rather that the early Europeans headed in different directions, some travelling west to become the Celts in Britain and Ireland, others taking a northern route to become the Germanic tribes, and then another offshoot heading east and ending up in Xinjiang.

This section of the ancient Silk Road is one of the world's most barren precincts. You are further away from the sea here than at any other place, and you can feel it. This where China tests its nuclear weapons. Labour camps are scattered all around - who would try to escape? But the remoteness has worked to the archaeologists' advantage. The ancient corpses have avoided decay because the Tarim Basin is so dry, with alkaline soils. Scientists have been able to glean information about many aspects of our Bronze Age forebears from the mummies, from their physical make-up to information about how they buried their dead, what tools they used and what clothes they wore.

In her book The Mummies of Urumchi, the textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber examines the tartan-style cloth, and reckons it can be traced back to Anatolia and the Caucasus, the steppe area north of the Black Sea. Her theory is that this group divided, starting in the Caucasus and then splitting, one group going west and another east.

Even though they have been dead for thousands of years, every perfectly preserved fibre of the mummies' make-up has been relentlessly politicised.

The received wisdom in China says that two hundred years before the birth of Christ, China's emperor Wu Di sent an ambassador to the west to establish an alliance against the marauding Huns, then based in Mongolia. The route across Asia that the emissary, Zhang Qian, took eventually became the Silk Road to Europe. Hundreds of years later Marco Polo came, and the opening up of China began.

The very thought that Caucasians were settled in a part of China thousands of years before Wu Di's early contacts with the west and Marco Polo's travels has enormous political ramifications. And that these Europeans should have been in restive Xinjiang hundreds of years before East Asians is explosive.

The Chinese historian Ji Xianlin, writing a preface to Ancient Corpses of Xinjiang by the Chinese archaeologist Wang Binghua, translated by Professor Mair, says China "supported and admired" research by foreign experts into the mummies. "However, within China a small group of ethnic separatists have taken advantage of this opportunity to stir up trouble and are acting like buffoons. Some of them have even styled themselves the descendants of these ancient 'white people' with the aim of dividing the motherland. But these perverse acts will not succeed," Ji wrote.

Many Uighurs consider the Han Chinese as invaders. The territory was annexed by China in 1955, and the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region established, and there have been numerous incidents of unrest over the years. In 1997 in the northern city of Yining there were riots by Muslim separatists and Chinese security forces cracked down, with nine deaths. There are occasional outbursts, and the region remains very heavily policed.

Not surprisingly, the government has been slow to publicise these valuable historical finds for fear of fuelling separatist currents in Xinjiang.

The Loulan Beauty, for example, was claimed by the Uighurs as their symbol in song and image, although genetic testing now shows that she was in fact European.

Professor Mair acknowledges that the political dimension to all this has made his work difficult, but says that the research shows that the people of Xinjiang are a dizzying mixture. "They tend to mix as you enter the Han Dynasty. By that time the East Asian component is very noticeable," he says. "Modern DNA and ancient DNA show that Uighurs, Kazaks, Kyrgyzs, the peoples of central Asia are all mixed Caucasian and East Asian. The modern and ancient DNA tell the same story," he says.

Altogether there are 400 mummies in various degrees of desiccation and decomposition, including the prominent Han Chinese warrior Zhang Xiong and other Uighur mummies, and thousands of skulls. The mummies will keep the scientists busy for a long time. Only a handful of the better-preserved ones are on display in the impressive new Xinjiang museum. Work began in 1999, but was stopped in 2002 after a corruption scandal and the jailing of a former director for involvement in the theft of antiques.

The museum finally opened on the 50th anniversary of China's annexation of the restive region, and the mummies are housed in glass display cases (which were sealed with what looked like Sellotape) in a multi-media wing.

In the same room are the much more recent Han mummies - equally interesting, but rendering the display confusing, as it groups all the mummies closely together. Which makes sound political sense.

This political correctness continues in another section of the museum dedicated to the achievements of the Chinese revolution, and boasts artefacts from the Anti-Japanese War (1931-1945).

Best preserved of all the corpses is Yingpan Man, known as the Handsome Man, a 2,000-year-old Caucasian mummy discovered in 1995. He had a gold foil death mask - a Greek tradition - covering his blond, bearded face, and wore elaborate golden embroidered red and maroon wool garments with images of fighting Greeks or Romans. The hemp mask is painted with a soft smile and the thin moustache of a dandy. Currently on display at a museum in Tokyo, the handsome Yingpan man was two metres tall (six feet six inches), and pushing 30 when he died. His head rests on a pillow in the shape of a crowing cockerel.
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Old July 9th, 2014 #19
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Chinese History: The White Tribes of Ancient China


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4,000 YEAR OLD LOST White TRIBE

One of the most fantastic finds in the last half of the twentieth century, has to be the discovery of a Northern European tribe found in the north east corner of Xinjiang province, near the Celestial mountains and the Taklimakan Desert. This is situated on the edge of the Gobi desert.

Actually, the chinks invaded "xinjiang" and took possession of "xinjiang" after WW2, after America defeated the japs and forced the japs to return china the land the japs had "taken". With America protecting the chinks easter sea border, the chinks were free to invaded its western neighbors. Or another way of viewing it is, after the "allies" started WW2 and killed millions of Humans to force Germany out of Poland, the chinks invaded and conquered "xinjiang", tibet, and manchuria. But the Bolshevik Soviets invaded and took control of Poland anyway. Make sense?

The story starts in 1978 when the Chinese archaeologist, Wang Binghus, began searching for ancient sites. He began by following stream beds, and asking the locals if they had ever come across any broken pots and artifacts. He eventually came across a few people who pointed out that there was a place called Qizilchoqa, or, as the local people called it, Red hill. Here he made the most amazing discovery, the first of the mummies. It had been placed in a grave on the side of the hill.

It was a simple site, rush mats were on the floor, and some of the bodies were buried in the foetal position. In effect, the mummies were not what you would call real mummies, in the sense that they were not embalmed. They had been preserved in an amazing way. They had been placed in the ground, which had been subjected to a very unique weather system. Heat, aridity, and bitter winter cold, mixed with a salty soil, had preserved them better than other mummies found around the world. Even the clothing was still perfectly recognisable.

The bodies were excavated and taken to the museum in the city of Urumqi. There were 113 bodies taken from the site. At the time the Chinese government did not have enough funds to excavate the find. Wang eventually discovered three more burial sites.

The faces of the mummies were very well preserved, so, on closer examination, they could see that the were not chinese. They had blonde hair , big eyes, and European noses.

At that time, Chinese tradition had always shown the fact that they believed china had developed independently from the rest of the world. Because of this, the government was reluctant to bring the finds to the public attention.

That tradition has been long discredited. Back to the start of civilization until now, the achievements of White Civilization has flowed into the land of the chinks. Just as is the fact today, historically, there is very little the chinks can claim to have discovered or created.

The most extraordinary thing about the mummies, was the fact that their clothes were in such good condition. A jacket belonging to one man, over three thousand years old, still had a crimson edge. And the women had artificial extensions in their hair.

This tribe was obviously very advanced for it's day. On one of the mummies, there is a scar which shows they had rudimentary skills at operating. It had been sown up with horses hair.

When the West was eventually allowed to visit the mummies , Dr Victor Mair, who was Professor of Chinese at Pennsylvania university, took a tour around the museum. Imagine his surprise when he saw these amazing mummies, which had been kept in a dark room, in glass topped boxes.

At this time, the Chinese authorities were still a bit reluctant to let anybody know about them, so it has taken quite a long time for the the west to be able to study them properly.

eventually in 1993, they were allowed back with a team of geneticists from Italy. And this is when they began to study them properly. They used the most up to date technology of the time to confirm the date of the mummies. They now believe that they are about 4,000 years old, and the youngest about 2,000. There are probably many more to be found, possibly in the same region of china, but it is also possible they could have settled anywhere across China, as long as the conditions were suitable to live in.

That right, this is a unique place only because the environment naturally persevered the White bodies. There is no reason to believe that White did migrate much further in the subsequent 4,000 years.

These people were from the Bronze age, they were Caucasian, and it is possible that they interacted with the indigenous people at that time. The local people probably taught them their traditions, and the Caucasians most likely introduced them to their way of life as well.

There were two cartwheels (White man invented the wheel) found at the burial sites, very similar to what you might find in Russia, or nearby countries. These amazing people were probably Scandinavian or German, it is amazing to think that they trekked across China all the way from Europe, 4,000 years ago, taking their traditions and language with them. How many other tribes were there? who knows.

I think that one of the most fascinating things about this story is that the local people, even today, that live in the area where the bodies were found, speak a language called Tocharian, the most eastern branch of Indo-European. This language is closely related to German and Celtic. I think the other most amazing thing about these people is that they walked all the way across China, taking with them their families, and a mixture of animals, probably goats and sheep. Feeling the cold, and the heat, catching diseases that they didn't know anything about, Not sure whether they would survive the different climate. Babies were born, people died, and all the time not knowing whether they would be safe or if the indigenous people would accept them. Their lust for adventure and discovering new places gave them strength and determination to survive. They were amazing people, and I hope that soon we will be able to see these wonderful discoveries, and learn more about these courageous human beings that came from the beginning of history.
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Old July 11th, 2014 #20
Karl Radl
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Anyone interested should read James Mallory's book on the Tocharians.
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