Was there communication between the ancient Chinese and the early Celts?
The discovery of European corpses dating back to the Bronze Age in western China suggests that there might have been.
Mummies known as ‘Cherchen Man and Family’ (three women and a baby) who were members of the ancient Caledonii tribe of central Scotland, have been unearthed in a burial site thousands of miles east of where the Celts established their biggest European settlements in France and the British Isles.
They were found in the Taklamakan desert in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, in whose language the word “Taklamakan” means, “you go in and never come out.”
The mummies are currently housed in glass display cases in a new museum in the provincial capital of Urumqi.
The male mummy had hair of reddish brown, high cheekbones, a long nose, full lips and a ginger beard; hardly Oriental in any way. He stood six feet tall and was buried wearing a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. Even his DNA indicates that he was indeed Celtic in origin.
One of the women sharing his tomb has light brown hair, which appears to have been freshly brushed and braided. Her face is painted with curling designs, and her striking red burial gown is still lustrous even after three thousand years under the sand of the Northern Silk Road.
The bodies are far better preserved than Egyptian mummies. The baby was wrapped in a beautiful brown cloth tied with red and blue cord, and a blue stone was placed on each eye. Beside the child was a milk bottle made from a sheep’s udder.
The Cherchen appear to have been a peaceful folk, as there are few weapons among the mummies find and there is little evidence of a caste system.