University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

The Tarim Basin Mummies by Victor Mair


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Film Description:The exhibition Secrets of the Silk Road explores the history of the vast desert landscape of the Tarim Basin, located in Western China, and the mystery of the peoples who lived there. Located at the crossroads between East and West, oasis towns within the Tarim Basin were key way stations for anyone traveling on the legendary Silk Road. Extraordinarily well-preserved human remains found at these sites reveal ancient people of unknown descent. Caucasian in appearance, these mummies challenge long-held beliefs about the history of the area, and early human migration. The material excavated suggests the area was active for thousands of years, with diverse languages, lifestyles, religions, and cultures present. This exhibit provides a chance to investigate this captivating material to begin to uncover some of the secrets of the Silk Road. Dr Victor H. Mair, Curatorial Consultant for "Secrets of the Silk Road," and co-author, The Tarim Mummies, discusses the ongoing discovery of these extraordinary mummies, what we have learned-and what remains to be uncovered.

Find out more about Secrets of the Silk Road, opening February 5, 2011 at the Penn Museum at http://www.penn.museum/silkroad
Video Category:Lecture
Video Date:11/03/2010
Contributor: Victor H. Mair
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