Look at these pictures of mummies and read about the most famous mummified bodies found all around the world.
1. Juanita The Ice Maiden
Juanita “The Ice Maiden” is a mummy that was discovered on the summit of Mount Ampato in Peru when a nearby volcano melted the ice and snow. She was a young Inca girl between 12 and 14 years of age when she was sacrificed 500 years ago. She was almost entirely frozen and her skin, internal organs, hair, clothes, blood and even the contents of her stomach were all preserved.
For the Incas, being sacrificed was a great honor. It would guarantee eternal life with the gods. Juanita was chosen because she was the most beautiful, innocent and pure. A whole entourage of priests and villagers would have carried her up the mountain, with provisions and symbolic items used in the ritual carried on the backs of llamas.
They would have dressed her in the finest clothes and probably gave her a strong hallucinogenic drink called “chicha” before the ritual was performed. Then they probably killed her with a blow to the back of the head. The Incas believed that a human sacrifice to the Gods would protect them against avalanches.
2. Ötzi the Iceman
Ötzi the Iceman (also known as Similaun Man or Man from Hauslabjoch) is a well-preserved natural mummy of a man from about 3300 BC (53 centuries ago). The mummy was found in September 1991 in the Schnalstal glacier in the Ötztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch, on the border between Austria and Italy. The nickname comes from Ötztal, the region in which he was discovered. He is Europe’s oldest natural human mummy, and has offered an unprecedented view of Chalcolithic (Copper Age) Europeans. The cause of death was most likely a blow to the head. The body and his belongings are displayed in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, northern Italy.
3. Grauballe Man
Grauballe Man is a bog body that was discovered near Copenhagen. He died 2,300 years ago, around 290 BC. Scientists believe he was a human sacrifice to appease the Germanic gods. It probably happened after a bad harvest, and the people were starving. They believed that one of their fellow villagers had to be sacrificed so that the rest could survive. His friends and family would have led him to a nearby bog. Then, one of them pulled back Grauballe Man’s head and slit his throat from ear to ear with a small knife. Afterwards, they pushed him into the pit and his body was swallowed by the bog.
4. Yde Girl
Yde Girl is a bog body discovered in the Netherlands. She died 2000 years ago when she was only 16 years old. She was strangled with a woollen waistband that was slip-knotted and wrapped around her neck three times. She suffered from scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and was only 4 ft 6 inches tall. Scientist theorise that she may have been sacrificed because she was disabled and this meant that she was not favored by the gods. Workers who found her body in the bog were so terrified that they ran away, believing they had come face-to-face with the devil. Scientists reconstructed her face so we can see what she probably looked like at the time of her death.
5. Capuchin Monastery
In the catacombs beneath the Capuchin monastery in Palermo, Sicily, there are nearly 2,000 mummified corpses, many of them more than four centuries old.
6. Sleeping Beauty
This little girl’s name is Rosalia Lombardo. She was born in Sicily in 1918. She died of Pneumonia on December 6th 1920. Her father was so distraught by her death that he asked an embalmer to preserve her body. She was one of the last corpses to be admitted into the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo, Sicily. Her corpse is so well-preserved that those who have seen her say it looks like she is only sleeping. She was given the nickname “Sleeping Beauty”.
7. Lindow Man
Lindow Man was found in a peat bog in England known as Lindow Moss. He died between 50 and 100 AD. He was hit 3 times about the head with an axe and then strangled to death. There was a small rope still twisted tightly around his neck and he was naked. Scientists believe he was a human sacrifice. The ancient Celts would sacrifice someone during the festival of Beltaine (May) to make sure that the Summer’s crops would be successful.
8. Clonycavan Man
This Iron Age mummy was found in a peat bog near the town of Clonycavan in Ireland. His hair was still styled the way he wore it when he was alive. He was naked, his head was wrenched sharply to the left, his nose had been broken, his skull was shattered and his belly was sliced open.
9. Tollund Man
Tollund Man is the naturally mummified corpse of an Iron Age man who died in the 4th century BC. He was found in a peat bog in Denmark. The bog preserved his his body so well that when he was discovered, he was thought to be a recent murder victim. He actually died by hanging over 1,500 years ago and the noose left visible furrows in the skin around his neck.
10. Weerdinge Men
The Weerdinge men were two bog bodies discovered in the Netherlands. The man on the right has his arm across his stomach. There is a stab wound in his chest and his intestines have been pulled out through it. Scientists say he was probably a prisoner of war and he was sacrificed so that his entrails could be read to divine the future. That’s called Haruspicy and they would examine the size, shape and color of the entrails and make predictions based on that. Disgusting, but apparently this is how fortune tellers did it in those days.
11. Lady Dai
This woman’s name is Xin Zhui and she died between 178 and 145 BC. She was the wife of the Marquis of Han and was around 50 years of age. She was discovered when workers stumbled across a Han Dynasty tomb in China. Scientists gave her the nickname “Lady Dai”. Her body was so well-preserved that her skin was supple, her limbs could be manipulated, her hair and internal organs were intact, blood still ran in her veins and the remains of her last meal were found in her stomach. She died of clogged arteries and heart disease caused by obesity, lack of exercise and an overly rich diet.