Good morning, we are going to be exploring Mummy Forensics with Joann Fletcher. This time her team is looking at a mummy from South America who may have been the victim of a crime. This episode is called the Pierced Skull. The run time for this documentary is 46:55.
Egyptians were not the only ones who mummified their dead. There are many examples of mummies found in South America. Joann Fletcher goes to a museum in Northwest England to learn more about her new case: a mummy with a pierced skull. This mummy was from Peru and may have been linked to one of the early cultures of South America. Where did this mummy come from? Why did it have a pierced skull? What will the Mummy Forensics team learn about this mummy?
Joann Fletcher catches up with Mike Townsend who is the keeper of the history at the museum. Joann’s eye is immediately drawn to the elongated skull and it was gifted to the museum in 1913. The man who gifted the mummy as a result of working in South America. Townsend points out the hole in the mummy’s head. Fletcher gets good news; she can take the mummy back to the University of York. This will provide the team with unprecedented access to a mummy.
Once the mummy is in York, the team sets to work immediately. The mummy is nicknamed “Cloud Man.” The museum believes that the mummy belongs to the Chachapoya people. The Chachapoya were warrior people and were famous for burying their dead high up in the mountains. The mummy forensics team will try to learn whether or not the mummy was naturally preserved. In South America, mummies were either preserved in hot dry sand or dry cold air. Today’s technology enables the team to see if embalming was used.
Gill Scott will need to learn more about the Chachapoya people. Joann sums up the Chachapoya culture for Gill. The Chachapoya were suppressed by the Incas, who admired their culture. Joann comments that they were also tall, however, the remains hint that the person was shorter. Stephen wants to learn why the skin was so pale. The mummy is also bound with a large number of ropes. The hole in the head will also be carefully examined.
Joann then presents Gill with the journal of the man who donated the mummy to the museum. The journal may provide clues about the mummy as to where the mummy came from. Duncan works on getting a virtual model of the mummy done. Since the mummy was found in a fetal position, scanning and creating a virtual model will be able to allow the team to stretch out the mummy. Will the scans reveal Cloud Man’s place of origin? The results of the scan and stretch surprised both Joann and Duncan. Where did this mummy come from? Was he a Chachapoya person?
Stephen will do a chemical analysis of the mummy. This analysis will establish where it came from, what he ate, and how it was preserved. He will also take other samples to send in for carbon fourteen dating. Stephen believes the mummy was preserved with something additional because of the pale skin. Joann talks with another expert: Don Brothwell and he will see if any internal organs remain in the mummy. Don and Stephen work together to gather more samples from the mummy.
Gill meets with an expert to talk about the journal and the mummy. Nic Saunders talks about the cranium and how the cranium would have been created after birth. They turn to the journal that was kept about the discovery of the mummy. Nic goes through the journals carefully and then drops a bombshell on the investigation. What was this bombshell? How does this throw off the investigation? Who is this mummy? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more!
Mummy Forensics continues to deliver excellent episodes to show in science class. It is a good application of the scientific method when it comes to history. It was fun to see how one thing can throw off an investigation and it shows that you cannot make any assumptions when it comes to investigations. This would be one for the sub to show in the classroom.
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