Archaeology Magazine

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Unknown Mummy Examined in Germany

Thursday, February 27, 2014

(Panzer et. al, PLOS ONE 2014)MUNICH, GERMANY—A CT scan of a mummy of a woman in the collection at the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection shows that she had been killed by blunt-force trauma to the head. “She must have received a couple of really severe hits by a sharp object to her skull just before her death. The skull bones that had been destroyed fell into her brain cavity, and they are still there today,” Andreas Nerlich of Munich University told Live Science. Isotopes in her hair, which had been held with bands made of alpaca or llama hair, indicate that she lived near the coastline of Peru or Chile, and ate a diet high in seafood and maize. She was dying from Chagas disease, caused by parasites, when she was killed. She was probably then buried in the dry sands of the Atacama Desert, which preserved her body.