Mummy Forensics continues with a forensics humdinger: a fisherman mummy. The run time for this episode is 47:29 and is called the Fisherman Mummy.
Joann Fletcher and her team are back on the case, this time they are investigating an Ancient Peruvian mummy. This mummy has been hidden for 100 years and is unusual for a mummy from Peru. Normally Peruvian mummies are buried bundled together in a fetal position or laid out flat. However, this mummy was found buried in a cross-legged position. This is one puzzle that the team will have to unlock.
Joann takes the lead and does an initial examination of the mummy. The mummy itself looks more skeleton than a mummy however, there are remains of soft tissue. In Peru, the mummies were bundled together with wrapping. Unfortunately not much is known about the mummy other than it came from South America, possibly Peru. There are no hints to the culture it came from. No records as to how it came to England.
The first thing Joann notices is the condition of the rib cage, headdress, and fishing net. Joann starts her examination and nicknames the mummy “The Fisherman.” The forensics team will have a challenge on their hands as they attempt to unwrap the mummy’s story. Joann shows the team the photographs she took and immediately thinks of the Chinchurro culture. They would have resided in South America and they lived on the sea and were fishermen. They are considered the world’s oldest mummy makers.
Stephen, a team member, gathers samples from the mummy to do a chemical analysis. These investigations may hint at where the mummy came from, the mummy’s status, and the cause of death. The chemical analysis will further this mummy’s story. Duncan, another team member is off and is looking to create a 3D Model of the mummy. He is intrigued by how the mummy was buried.
How did this mummy end up in London? It seems that it was brought over by a philanthropist Sir Henry Welcome. Welcome started using the profits from his pharmacy to cultivate a collection of historical wonders. He financed expeditions around the world and collected hundreds of thousands of objects each month. With the number of objects coming in, it was impossible to get all the objects cataloged. The mummy was bought for one hundred pounds. Other than an entry in an inventory, the team will have to rely on the body to tell its story.
Joann brings in a bone expert for a more thorough examination. This bone expert has worked with Peruvian mummies. The expert’s first impression is that the mummy is male, she points to bones in the face. However, it would have been a delicate male. The mummy would have been over twenty and at a minimum was at least thirty to forty. He had no teeth and his jaw shows signs of serious infection. This infection would have been released the infection into the bloodstream. However, this infection was not the cause of death for this mummy.
The Peruvians used natural methods for mummies. They wrapped their mummies and left them to dry in the desert. However, Joann seems to think that this mummy was mummified with artificial means. She points to several features on the mummy that hint at this artificial intervention. So was this mummy mummified by artificial means? The chemical analysis will reveal that.
In the mean time Duncan has his scan and animation done. With this animation, he is able to stretch the mummy out. The mummy was small.
The next item to tackle on the list is to identify the culture where this mummy came from. For this Joann talks with an expert in the Chinchurro culture. She shows the expert the photos and he immediately points out that the mummy did not come from the Chinchurro people. The weaving techniques and the colors used in the cloth hint at a more sophisticated culture. This culture would have had fishing village origins but would have been further inland and come from Central Peru. Who was this man? Where did he come from? Continue to watch this episode to find out more!
So this episode would be more appropriate for an American History class. If I remember rightly, in seventh grade we talked about the ancient cultures of Central and South America. Additionally, this could be shown in a science class or a forensics science class.
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