Xinjiang mummies were Celts

Nicholas Widdows nicholas.widdows at
Tue Jan 26 10:55:02 UTC 1999

The textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber has identified the
European-appearance mummies found in the Xinjiang desert as Celts from
Central Europe, according to a report in yesterday's _Guardian_. I don't
know how much of this is new, but the report presented it as a major
reassessment in the history of Eastern and Western civilizations, so
here goes. In her book _The Mummies of Urumchi_, to be published next
month, she says that their woollen plaids could only have been woven on
warp-weighted looms, which orginated in "Europe via the Middle East"
(whatever that means: Europe first then ME?). They date from about 1000
BCE, in an inhospitable region never settled by steppe nomads. There was
no mention in this article of Tocharian.

Nicholas Widdows

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