Andean Mummified Head
Dated 6'000 Years Old
Virtual Laboratory for Archaeometry
dubal @ archaeometry.org
A well preserved naturally mummified human head has been found in 1936
with two other mummies at the site of Inca Cueva #4, level 1A,
at 3680 m.o.s.l., in the Quebrada of Chulin (Prov.of Jujuy, Argentina)
by Justiniano TORRES APARICIO, MD and folkmusic composer.
His "Clavelito blanco", interpreted by Thomas Lipan,
is the sonor background. It requieres the use of IE.
A sample of temporal skin from the head of Chulina
has been radiocarbon dated at the AMS Radiocarbon Laboratory
of the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zürich. The resulting calibrated
age of Chulina is 6'080 ± 100 years (within 82% probability).
Compared with Ötzi (the paleoalpine mummy found in Ötztal),
the age of this paleoandean head is 5'260 ± 50 years BP,
i.e., older by 724 ± 53 years BP.
Those results have been presented at the XVth World Congress
UISPP 2006, Lisbon, see Proceed. Session C04, Vol 37, pp.111-114
The sample studied:
For this study, was available a piece of temporal
skin of about 3 cm2 area and of a weight of 120 mg.
The sample of left temporal skin on millimetric paper (Photo: L. Dubal)
This sample was been carefully collected at the
Museo J. TORRES APARICIO in Humahuaca (Prov. Jujuy, Argentina),
on the "Cabeza J.T.A.-240"
The naturally mummified human head labelled J.T.A.-240
in the Museum TORRES APARICIO (Photo: L. Dubal)
The three mummies (Chulina, Chulinita & Rosalia) found by J. TORRES APARICIO
were desiccated naturally, and therefore suitable for radiocarbon dating.
(let us remind that radiocarbon dating of embalmed
Egyptians mummies is meaningless).
The skin sample has then been thoroughly degreased and washed from
Then, the standard ETH 14C-AMS dating method, which has been applied for Ötzi
and results released on July, 8th, 2005 as ETH-30630.
The δ13C = -19.5 ± 1.1 °/°° which is what one could expect for human skin.
The 14C-AMS Age is 5'260 ± 50 y BP
The calibrated age is BCE 4170 - 3972 with 82.5% probability
(while the age range BCE 4224 - 4180 has 17.5% probability).
Click to learn more about Chulina, Chulinita & Rosalia
We would like to thank here Mrs. Alicia TORRES,
the owner and director of the Museo TORRES,
in Humahuaca (Jujuy, Argentina)
who authorized this study.