As far as rehabilitation and community service programs go, this one might just prove to be the most significant yet. A group of students enrolled in an archeology workshop, stumbled upon a preserved mummy that could date back thousands of years.
The group consisting of children that were classified as ‘at-risk’, enrolled in an archeology workshop, found a strange shape under dog droppings. They were excavating at El Laucho beach at the foothills of Morro de Arica, La Tercera. Upon closer inspection, a senior member confirmed the students had found a relatively well-preserved mummy.
The students belonged to the Escuela America School which works with troubled youth and offers them opportunities to engage themselves in activities where they can feel connected with the society. The school regularly conducts such excursions because it firmly believes that such outdoor activities are a much better way to positively utilize the youth and ensure they are physically engaged.
The site was of particular interest to the group because on April 1st a powerful earthquake measuring 8.2-magnitude on the Richter scale had rocked the region. Though there was no reported loss of life, the region witnessed major upheaval of the land mass. Due to the same, locals believed ancient artifacts could have been forced to the surface, reported Yahoo.
The region was once home to Chinchorro culture. Found only in the South American regions, now known as Chile and Peru, the culture is famous for mummifying their departed members in a practice that allows the remains to stay beautifully intact through ages. The Chinchorro culture managed to perfect the art of mummification more than 4000 years before the Egyptians began to mummify the members of the royal family.
The mummy that the youth discovered resembles the others that have been discovered earlier and hence preliminary observations indicate that the mummy could be about 7,000 years old, reported SBS. Though Authorities from the Chilean National Heritage Office have arrived at the site to investigate the remains, experts have indicated that the process that the Chinchorro culture followed to prepare the body for mummification seems to have been followed.
The Chinchorro culture mainly consisted of fishermen villages located in the coast of Atacama desert, from Ilo in Peru in the north to Antofagasta in the south between 7020 BC and 1500 BC. Interestingly, unlike Egyptians, who had strict laws dictating who was eligible to be mummified, the Chinchorro culture performed mummification on all deceased members of their society.
The discovery of the relatively well-preserved mummy by the youth should certainly have a positive impact on the students, while at the same time, encourage more such excavations in the regions.
[Image Credit | Claudio Santana /AFP/Getty Images]