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CrunchyMama
January 9th, 2012, 10:12 AM
I stumbled across a thread talking about the Danish Elling woman's long hair (here: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=14032&highlight=prehistoric), and did a quick search to see if anything came up, but I came up empty-handed. So I'm starting a new thread. :)

Last summer my DH and I spent a month in Peru, which I highly recommend, it is an incredible country! While we were there, we visited Chauchilla Cemetery near the city of Nazca (famous for the Nazca Lines historic site). (For more info, check out the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chauchilla_Cemetery). There were tombs with the mummified remains of a prehispanic society starting from 200 A.D., and most of these mummies had perfectly preserved long hair. At the time I thought it was neat, but kind of gross. I guess I still do, a little. But they're totally fascinating.

My DH was editing our photos from the trip to get ready to make a photobook and jokingly said I should share them on my "Long Hair Extremist Forum Thing." Little did he know I would take him seriously. ;)

Without further ado, I present to you some truly ancient long hair :cheese: (sorry that my photos are large, I can't be bothered to shrink them down as they were already posted on my travel blog at this size):

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_09smf49dQhI/TDpEehHQkUI/AAAAAAAAAHQ/lmuElvVSUM8/s1600/SAM_1619.JPG

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QTO9rc0G6Gc/TwsRea5p3NI/AAAAAAAAAbc/qXHbVo1JKHk/s1600/two.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RJSm7Caa4pE/TwsRd-wYyBI/AAAAAAAAAbQ/EGYeLk0ws5s/s1600/one.jpg

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-81q-gmJohvI/TwsRenUwc0I/AAAAAAAAAbo/x-AMpl40JfA/s1600/three.jpg

jacqueline101
January 9th, 2012, 11:02 AM
Wow that's amazing. Love the pictures.

princessp
January 9th, 2012, 11:17 AM
Wow that is so cool and interesting!

PinkyCat
January 9th, 2012, 11:18 AM
Wow creepy. Especially the foot in the first pic.

Madora
January 9th, 2012, 11:22 AM
Thanks for sharing, CrunchyMama. Very interesting!

moxamoll
January 9th, 2012, 11:28 AM
Very cool! I wonder what their hair care tricks were?

Snippety
January 9th, 2012, 11:33 AM
I absolutely love these pics ! I don't know why but when I find something I do (tattoos, piercings, long hair, crystals &c) represented in an ancient culture I feel strangely validated:)

Quetiepi
January 9th, 2012, 12:41 PM
She must have never cut her hair in her life for it to be that long. Any idea on how old she was when she died? Or the cause of death? I guess I ought to check out the link you posted!

Very interesting pictures. Thank you for sharing!

moon2dove
January 9th, 2012, 12:48 PM
Absolutely amazing photos, Thanks for sharing.

Amber_Maiden
January 9th, 2012, 01:02 PM
Really cool! Keep in mind regarding the hair though that hair keeps growing even after the person dies, so therefore the hair might be longer than it originally was when the person was alive.

Aeltt
January 9th, 2012, 01:23 PM
Really cool! Keep in mind regarding the hair though that hair keeps growing even after the person dies, so therefore the hair might be longer than it originally was when the person was alive.
I've read that it's actually the skin that shrinks when you die which makes the hair appear a bit longer.

But anyway, impressive pictures !

HairFaerie
January 9th, 2012, 01:30 PM
That is very fascinating! I would love to go there someday (amongst other places)! Thank you very much for sharing the pics.

Panth
January 9th, 2012, 01:57 PM
Really cool! Keep in mind regarding the hair though that hair keeps growing even after the person dies, so therefore the hair might be longer than it originally was when the person was alive.

It doesn't. For your hair to grow, you need to produce more hair cells and have them attach onto the bottom of the hair shaft - that is impossible if you / the hair cells are dead.

This is actually what happens:


I've read that it's actually the skin that shrinks when you die which makes the hair appear a bit longer.

Same happens with nails.

hanne jensen
January 9th, 2012, 02:00 PM
It's amazing that the hair is so well preserved after all this time. Really amazing length!

Kosmos
January 9th, 2012, 03:11 PM
That is spectacular and amazing! Thanks for sharing. I love looking at archeological stuffs.

Velvet Smoke
January 9th, 2012, 03:25 PM
Eek this is scary :p They should have watched some youtube videos and learnt some updos ;)

Nae
January 9th, 2012, 03:34 PM
Hmmm, very cool.

I admit though that I am befuddled. Did only the one skeleton have hair? Was the hair preserved somehow. It seems strange to me that the clothes and the hair are fine but there is no mummification of the remains. Shouldn't clothes rot as well? Especially if on a body?

Or is this some kind of display where the clothes and hair was treated differently? I don't know a thing about ancient burial practices or really what part of bodies disappear first. Any ideas? Or is this totally normal?

It would be kinda nice to think that I could be buried and about 2000 years from now my rocking duds and my hair could still be around.

Amber_Maiden
January 9th, 2012, 04:30 PM
It doesn't. For your hair to grow, you need to produce more hair cells and have them attach onto the bottom of the hair shaft - that is impossible if you / the hair cells are dead.

This is actually what happens:



Same happens with nails.

Ahhhh... now that makes sense.

julliams
January 9th, 2012, 04:44 PM
I'm with Nae, I think it's done for the purpose of display. I did notice in one photo that there are two skeletons with long hair (last photo) and the second one does look set up to me - almost like the headbands were put on so that they could attach the hair. Sorry - now I sound like a cynic. They are very cool photos and the hair is extremely long. Thanks for sharing.

CrunchyMama
January 9th, 2012, 09:16 PM
Hmmm, very cool.

I admit though that I am befuddled. Did only the one skeleton have hair? Was the hair preserved somehow. It seems strange to me that the clothes and the hair are fine but there is no mummification of the remains. Shouldn't clothes rot as well? Especially if on a body?

Or is this some kind of display where the clothes and hair was treated differently? I don't know a thing about ancient burial practices or really what part of bodies disappear first. Any ideas? Or is this totally normal?

It would be kinda nice to think that I could be buried and about 2000 years from now my rocking duds and my hair could still be around.

Nae, I don't know what you mean "did only the one skeleton have hair"--those photographs are all of different tombs, and different skeletons, all having hair. There were about 8 different tombs, if I remember correctly.

In answer to your questions about the preservation and mummification, here is some information about their preservation: "The Nasca people wrapped their deceased in finely embroidered cotton clothes before coating them with a resin and placing them into tombs in crouched positions. Grave offerings were stored beside them, possibly in anticipation of their need in the next realm. The resin, textiles, and aridness of the climate, kept out insects, while also limiting bacteria, slowing the decay process. All while the hot climate and arid soil created an environment suitable for natural mummification." (from http://www.nazcamystery.com/nazca_chauchilla.htm)


I'm with Nae, I think it's done for the purpose of display. I did notice in one photo that there are two skeletons with long hair (last photo) and the second one does look set up to me - almost like the headbands were put on so that they could attach the hair. Sorry - now I sound like a cynic. They are very cool photos and the hair is extremely long. Thanks for sharing.

julliams, sadly, you are partially correct. The tombs were ransacked by grave robbers, leaving much of the remains scattered across the desert. I believe that is why much of the skin did not stay perfectly preserved (although you can see one foot with its skin intact). The tombs were reconstructed, although in keeping with tombs made by the same people that were discovered untouched. From the same website cited above, "Although the arid desert protected the remains from time and decay, it could not safeguard them from "huaqueros", or grave robbers. Over the years, poles were stuck into the ground to locate the tombs and mummies were ripped apart in the search for anything thought to be of value. Nothing exemplified this tragedy more than a simple gaze across the ground where, until 1997, in a scene more fitting for forensic anthropologists than tourists, broken pot shards and litter, human rib bones, shoulder blades and skull fragments lay scattered across the grayish-brown desert floor. Today, the burial sites have been reconstructed although many “scars” remain in the sand."

PixxieStix
January 9th, 2012, 09:19 PM
That's pretty bloody fascinating! So cool, I wonder what their reasons for having their hair that long were?

CrunchyMama
January 9th, 2012, 09:21 PM
That is very fascinating! I would love to go there someday (amongst other places)! Thank you very much for sharing the pics.

It is well worth the trip, HairFaerie, should you ever decide to go. Peru is a beautiful country, filled with history!

Mommyof4
January 9th, 2012, 09:31 PM
This probably seems like a completely dumb question.. but was their hair worn in dreads or is that just part of the decay process that it looks like it is in dreads?

Knotted
January 9th, 2012, 09:32 PM
That is so cool! Thanks for sharing, CrunchyMama!