Friday, 24. October 2014
29. 05. 14. - 17:00
A bunch of school kid archaeologists in Chile found a 7,000 year old mummy after it was shaken free of its tomb in an earthquake - and then pooped on by a nervous dog.
The site of the dog mess on top of "something unusual" sparked one of the class pranksters to alert their teacher with the joke line 'hey sir, maybe that's a rare artefact'. And it was - so rare in fact that the whole region has been sealed off in the belief that it may contain not just one mummy, but actually the remains of an entire lost civilisation.
The mummy was found near the town of Arica, in the north west Chilean province of the same name. It dates back to the time of the Chinchorro culture and its discovery is being hailed as a major cultural event.
The Chinchorro mummies are mummified remains of individuals from the South American Chinchorro culture, found in what is now northern Chile and southern Peru. They are the oldest examples of artificially mummified human remains, becoming popular by up to two thousand years before the Egyptian mummies. To put this in perspective, the earliest mummy that has been found in Egypt dated around 3000BC.
The discovery was made by chance when children were part of the regular excursion of the Academy of Archaeology School America in the area led by teacher and tour guide Hans Neira, dubbed the Indiana Jones of the classroom for his pioneering work in archaeology with kids.
"There were some rumours about how one could see archaeological remains in that area after an earthquake on 1 April," said Hans.
"The discovery is a warning that great care must be taken to preserve this place because of what it represents. It could be a great pre colonial cemetery."
Hans created the Academy of Archaeology to help socially deprived children. He added; "The kids come from poor families and don't have a lot of chance to travel so this was both exciting and enriching for them. But I have to say that the mummy would probably not have been found had the dog not decided to relieve itself upon it."
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