Image: Peruvian mummy, cat scan
Composite cat scan of Peruvian mummy. Courtesy of Estelle Lazer
- Estelle Lazer
- © Estelle Lazer
The earliest evidence for mummification in the central Andean region of South America (parts of present-day Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador) dates back 9000 years. However, the origins of mummification are unclear. Most of the mummies found to date are naturally mummified but this region is also home to the oldest deliberately preserved mummies in the world - the Chinchorro mummies of northern Chile which date back about 7000 years ago.