Tello's Theory Of Artificial Mummification

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Upon investigation, Tello concluded the Paracas culture used an artificial preservation technique that he formulated because of a suspected carbonization of the bundles. Tello inferred that there was a form of incineration that the Paracas people used in their preservation (Guillén 2004) and concluded that this may have been ceremonial or accidental. Yet, in a study by Yacovleff and Muelle, they argue that mummification was caused by natural desiccation (Vreeland Jr 1998). They cite the aridity of the environment as a reason not to have to artificially mummify. The external wrappings around the corpses were held tight with a combination of salty seawater and sun exposure (Guillén 2004). This provided an extra layer of covering for protection from the elements. Tello also hypothesized that the body cavities were eviscerated and the extremities were …show more content…
These findings were also contested. Tello’s findings concluded that Paracas practiced both intentional natural (Type 2) and artificial mummification (Type 3) types. There is contention amongst archaeologists whether or not the Paracas used artificial mummification. A later study (a nearly 70 year gap) by Vreeland Jr. (1998) suggests that Tello confused decomposition stages with those of burning (Guillén 2004). Now that there is 70 years of development in the scientific community and technology it is likely Paracas did not practice artificial preservation. The vast Inca civilization (1438-1533) also incorporated mummification in their culture. In his writings of life in Cusco, Garcilaso de la Vega ([1609], 1987) notes how Inca mummies were in the “perfect state of preservation”. The Inca practiced both spontaneous and anthropogenic mummification. It is a common misconception that only Inca

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