China striving for mummy identification

Dec 25, 2006

A group of Chinese scientists is attempting to identify a 2,800-year-old mummy of an apparently Caucasian man found in an ancient tomb.

The well-preserved mummy, that experts said is likely of a shaman in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has been under examination since being found in 2003, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Especially intriguing to the scientists was the presence of a sack of marijuana leaves that archaeologists found buried with the leather-coat bound mummy.

"From his outfit and the marijuana leaves, which have been confirmed by international specialists to be ingredients for narcotic, we assume the man had been a shaman and had been between 40 and 50 years old when he died," noted historian Li Xiao explained.

Xinhua said that by examining the mummy, that was one of 600 found during the 2003 exploration of 2,000 area tombs, the scientists said they are hoping to learn more about the mysterious lives of historical shamans.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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