The Tarim Basin Mummies in Perspective

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The Tarim Basin Mummies in Perspective, (appeared on June 30, 2000 on AMAZON.COM website as book review) By Izabella Horvath (Skokie, il USA) This review is from: The Tarim Mummies: Ancient China and the Mystery of the Earliest Peoples from the West (Hardcover) It was with great enjoyment that I read the Mummies of the Tarim. The book should be a milestone in its attempt to popularize early Indo-European pre-historiography, by trying to reduce--if not oversimplify--a formidable amount of theory, data, and material evidence into some sort of comprehensible format. The illustrations (maps, charts and color photos) help bring a little known cultural sphere to life. The style is easy to understand and the chapter headings eye-catching, though the reader needs to be versed in many of the particulars. Mair's and Mallory's overall reluctance to draw the conclusion that in 2000 BC there was an en masse migration of western European Celtic groups eastward into the Tarims oasis area (China's Xinjiang autonomous province), is commendable. I find the work's approach a refreshing relief from the frenzy of the past 4-5 years dominated by the press' sensationalizing a yet unproved hypothesis about the mummies of Xinjiang, their role in China's history and a supposed Indo-European cultural diffusion. The implication that these western Europeans brought technological innovations to the backward Chinese was unmistakable. Several points are worthy of mention here. 1. Based on the available evidence, Mair and Mallory cannot but conclude that direct migrations from western Europe are unwarranted since these Europoid populations of Asia, some of whose members were mummified after death in the Tarim Basin--have been living in Siberia and Central Asia at least since the Neolithic Age (4-3000 BC). However, they fail to mention that though they are anthropologically

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