Pictured: incredibly well-preserved mummies from a family of eight Inuits including a six-month-old baby boy who was buried alive in Greenland 500 years ago
- Six women with tattoos on their chin and two children were found in the Qilakitsoq settlement in Greenland
- Archaeologists believe the family died around 1475 AD and the mummification process was due to the ice climate
- Inuit traditions meant that when the mother died her children had to be buried with her, even if they were still alive
- Incredible photos show the mummies with their skin, hair, eyebrows and nails intact wrapped in fur
A family of eight Inuits including a six month old baby boy are depicted frozen in the time of 500 years ago.
Three sisters with their three daughters and their sons, four and six months old were discovered in the abandoned Qilakitsoq encampment on the Nuussuaq peninsula near Uummannaq, Greenland.
Grouse hunters Hans and Jokum Grønvold discovered the group in 1972 in a shallow cave under a rock. Because the mummies were so well preserved, the men reported their findings to the police.
Incredible photos show the mummies with their skin, hair, eyebrows and nails intact and bundled in animal fur to prepare them for hunting in the afterlife.
A six month old baby boy believed to be buried alive with his eyebrows and hair still intact. The family of eight was found by hunters in 1972 in the abandoned Qilakitsoq encampment, Greenland
Archaeologists believe the family died around 1475 AD and the accidental mummification process was due to ice-cold temperatures, according to The sun.
The shocking discovery found six women with tattoos on their foreheads and chin in the settlement on the west coast of Greenland, 280 miles north of the Arctic.
And the Inuit culture meant that if the mother died, her children would have to be buried with her, even if they were still alive, to ensure that the family would pass over peacefully to the hereafter.
One of the women shows her teeth and dark strands of hair preserved by the accidental mummification process caused by the ice cold temperatures (left). A close-up photo of the six month old baby with piercing eye sockets and wrapped in thick fur (right)
The woman's hands crossed over her body show fingernails and the skin is perfectly preserved. Archaeologists believe the family died around 1475 AD
Hunters found the bodies stacked on top of each other with layers of skin and fur in between.
Creepy baby boy closeup shows the child swaddled in a fur hood with dark brown hair protruding.
It was not uncommon for the child to be smothered after the mother died to prevent it from starving to death.
The women died of natural causes, including kidney stones, constipation and poor health. The three sisters are said to be 50 years old and their three daughters between 18 and 30 years old.
Researchers also believe that the four-year-old boy had Down syndrome, where it was common to bury these children alive.
A total of 78 items of clothing including the seal skin and reindeer made the bodies undergo the mummification process.
Four of the Inuits are now on display at the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk.
How are the mummies kept so well?
Thanks to the freezing temperatures in Greenland, the mummies can be stored with their skin and nails still intact.
A body decays after death by enzymes that break down the soft tissues. But when the temperatures drop, the enzyme activity also decreases.
In ice-cold climates, the bodies turn into ice mummies, but are only kept as long as they remain frozen.
For an ice mummy, the temperature around the corpse must not exceed 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).
And the bodies must be protected from the elements and other animals that can damage it, i.e., wrapped in layers of animal fur or enclosed in a glacier.
The rocky access allowed the group to be preserved by the balance of humidity, acidity and shade with a constant frost to keep their skin intact.
The rocks also allowed drainage and protection against the harsh elements of strong winds.
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) news