Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mummy Dearest -- “Mysterious Mummies of China” On NOVA

Date:
January 7, 1998
Source:
NOVA/WGBH
Summary:
Chinese archaeologists in the remote deserts of Central Asia are exhuming perfectly preserved 2,400- to 4,000-year-old mummies that shed startling new light on the contact between East and West in the ancient world. In the first in-depth coverage of these remarkable discoveries, believed to be some of the most important human remains ever found, NOVA follows the ongoing excavations and the unexpected controversy surrounding them, in "Mysterious Mummies of China,” airing Tuesday, January 20, 1998 at 8pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

Tuesday, January 20, 1998 at 8pm ET on PBS

Chinese archaeologists in the remote deserts of Central Asia are exhuming perfectly preserved 2,400- to 4,000-year-old mummies that shed startling new light on the contact between East and West in the ancient world.

In the first in-depth coverage of these remarkable discoveries, believed to be some of the most important human remains ever found, NOVA follows the ongoing excavations and the unexpected controversy surrounding them, in “Mysterious Mummies of China,” airing Tuesday, January 20, 1998 at 8pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

Preserved from decay by extreme summer heat and aridity, bitter winter cold, and salty soil, the fully-clothed corpses look astonishingly lifelike. Most surprising of all, their physical features and clothing do not in the least resemble those of the Chinese of the period. In fact, they are almost certainly Europeans, with features like blonde or red hair, prominent noses, mustaches and beards, tartan-weave garments, and jaunty feathered caps.

The physical evidence flies in the face of long-held Chinese views that their own civilization developed independent of outside influences. Consequently the new discoveries are being downplayed and even suppressed by the present Chinese regime.

Nonetheless, intense speculation focuses on what the “mummy people” were doing so far from their homeland, and what became of them and the isolated civilization they built over the course of many centuries.

NOVA tours the excavations with the scholar who first called the mummies to the world’s attention, Professor Victor Mair, an expert in early Chinese history at the University of Pennsylvania. Accompanying him are Chinese archaeologists as well as American specialists in ancient nomads and physical anthropology.

With Dr. Mair, NOVA also investigates evidence of the probable successors of the mummy people, called the Tocharians, who left a written language that is clearly Indo-European in origin. The Tocharians also created enigmatic cave paintings that show distinctly Celtic-looking people venerating a Buddha, a sign of the multicultural aspects of their society, one which signalled the crossroads of East and West.

NOVA viewers also learn how the mummy people and the Tocharians lived along a key portion of what became the Silk Road, a trading link connecting China with the West that developed about 2,100 years ago. As the great imperial powers of East and West reached outward, they met here, in this windswept, rocky plain, home to a lonely vanguard of wanderers…a people who are just now coming vividly to light.

“China’s Mysterious Mummies” is a co-production of NOVA and Channel 4 by Union Pictures Ltd, written, produced, and directed by Howard Reid. Executive producer for Channel 4 is Charles Furneaux.

Now in its 24th season, NOVA is produced for PBS by the WGBH Science Unit. The director of the WGBH Science Unit and executive producer of NOVA is Paula S. Apsell.

Major funding is provided by the Park Foundation, Inc., dedicated to education and quality television. Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.

Press contact:
Paul Marotta, WGBH Boston, 617-492-2777 x4427
paul_marotta@wgbh.org

Photography contact:
Lisa Cerqueira, WGBH Boston, 617-492-2777 x5334
lisa_cerqueira@wgbh.org


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NOVA/WGBH. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NOVA/WGBH. "Mummy Dearest -- “Mysterious Mummies of China” On NOVA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980107084900.htm>.
NOVA/WGBH. (1998, January 7). Mummy Dearest -- “Mysterious Mummies of China” On NOVA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980107084900.htm
NOVA/WGBH. "Mummy Dearest -- “Mysterious Mummies of China” On NOVA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/01/980107084900.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: MD Church Built in 1773 Ravaged by Fire

Raw: MD Church Built in 1773 Ravaged by Fire

AP (July 22, 2014) Authorities say a 241-year-old church on the National Register of Historic Places has been ravaged by fire in Maryland. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins