Chile's Chinchorro mummies receive heritage listing

The world’s oldest mummies are now on the UN World Heritage List

Location: Arica, Chile

The Chinchorro culture mummified bodies 3,000 years before the Egyptians

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CHILEAN CULTURE MINISTER, CONSUELO VALDES, SAYING:

"This is a recognition of a culture of gatherers, fishermen from the coast of the regions of Arica, Parinacota and Tarapaca, with the conditions of a desert where it's driest in the world. Nevertheless this culture, without agriculture nor ceramics, developed a process of artificial mummification of bodies that is unique in the world and it is the oldest. It is 7,000 years old. So it precedes other mummies known in the history of humankind."

The technique included skinning the body and removing all organs and muscles

The body was dried and filled with dirt, feathers, wool and plants

Extremities were reconstructed with clay

Chile has seven sites recognized on the World Heritage List

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