This thread may have already had a response; if so, I apologize for any redundancy. The Tarim mummies were Caucasoid, some of them being over 6 feet in height. All had reddish-brown or red hair; many had blue eyes. Textile experts trace their garments' weave patterns to Eastern Europe (present-day Bulgaris, Romania, and Hungary). They vary in age, from 3000 to 4000 years BP. The best source of information for this subject is the book by Elizabeth Wayland Barber: "The Mummies of Urumqi." It was published by W.W. Norton (NY and London) in 1999.
These guys seem so Arian. First of all, they are dolicocephalic, which has nothing to do with the Altaics. And, they do not seem to be Sinoid. These mummies are pure Caucasoids and IMHO, they are somehow Celtic origin. But I can not understand what did Celts do in Taklamakan.
"We run after meat as the possessed And we kill without pity We rejoice and we laugh when the deer falls Hunting's more than just killing for the food "
The various physical types notwithstanding, when we know of the region of the mummies is that in a later period when we have linguistic evidence, the language is what we call Tocharian. It is related to western European IE languages but because it displayed archaic features long discarded by western IE languages the original bearers of this language must have separated from the main branch of western IE speakers sometime in the remote past long before such languages as Celtic, Germanic, and Italic had formed. Now, the earliest of these mummies, the "Lady of Loulan" (where the Tocharian dialect known as Kroranic was discovered) dates from about 2000 BC. This was probably already too late for the separation of Tocharian from the rest of the centum languages, and thus could have been present when this earliest mummy lived in that region of the eastern Taklamakan. The local mountains known as the Kunlun bare an Indo-European dtymology, meaning "heavenly".
"The Tarim Mummies" by J.P. Mallory and Victor H. Mair.
From this book pages: 317-318 Conclusions We may now offer as a working hypothesis the following model of ethnolinguistic development in East Central Asia. 1. The earliest Bronze Age settlers of the Tarim and Turpan basins originated from the steppelands and highlands immediately north of East Central Asia. 2. These colonists were related to the Afanasevo culture which exploited both open steppelands and upland environments employing a mixed agricultural economy. 3. The Afanasevo culture formed the eastern linguistic periphery of the Indo-European continuum of languages whose centre of expansion lay much farther to the west, north of the Black and Caspian seas. This periphery was ancestral to the historical Tocharian languages. 4. By about 2000 BC the Afanasevo culture, which was at that time being absorbed by the Andronoro culture from its west and other cultures in the Yenisei region, pushed southwards and came into contact with settled Indo-Iranians to the northwest of the Tarim Basin. Here they gained both the rudiments of irrigation agriculture and some of the I Indo-Iranian terminology associated with it before they entered the Turpan and Tarim basins as the Proto-Tocharians. 5. Many of the Bronze Age mummies preserved in the archaeological record of East Central Asia may he assigned a probable (Proto-) Tocharian identity. 6. The descendants of these earliest Bronze Age colonists occupied the northern and eastern portions of the Tarim Basin and survived in their oasis settlements to emerge later as the occupants of Kucha, Qarashahar and Turpan, leaving a residual linguistic legacy in Kroran. 7. Subsequent movements from the steppelands carried other peoples into the Tarim Basin. Those who settled in oases occupied by the Tocharians or in their vicinity were linguistically absorbed by them, while those who maintained a nomadic social structure moved with their herds around the peripheries of the Tarim and Turpan basins to be recorded in Han documents as Yuezhi, Wusun and other possibly nomadic peoples. These were at least in part Iranian-speaking populations, although remnants of and combinations with the initial colonization by Tocharians may also have been part of these societies. It is entirely possible that the ancestors of some of the mummies derived from these later intrusions. 8. Throughout the 1st millennium BC other Iranian populations, historically ancestral to the Saka languages, entered the Tarim Basin from the west and ensured that the western and southwestern portions of the Silk Road were Iranian-speaking. This population maintained its mobility and secured the spread of Iranian loanwords throughout East Central Asia which were adopted by the earlier Tocharians. This can be seen most clearly in the vocabulary of commerce and warfare.
These movements of both Tocharians and Iranians into East Central Asia were not a mere footnote in the history of China but were part of a much wider picture involving the very foundations of the world's oldest surviving civilization.
Last Edit: Nov 11, 2008 15:43:12 GMT 3 by jstampfl