Ice Mummies

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History Documentary hosted by Nigel Le Vaillant and published by BBC broadcasted as part of BBC Horizon series in 1997 - English narration

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Image: Ice-Mummies-Cover.jpg

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Documentary special highlights the science of the frozen past. Includes a journey to the Andes in search of clues to the ancient rite of "capacocha" -- child sacrifice; a journey to Siberia to search for information on the nomadic Pazyrk people who ruled the steppes of Central Asia 2400 years ago; and the latest findings on the age, clothing, technology and way of life of a 5300-year-old Iceman discovered in the Alps near Austria and Italy in 1991.

[edit] The Ice Maiden

As the solid block of ice began to melt, the team of archaeologists gazed on the body of a young woman buried more than 2,500 years before. Lying around the Ice Maiden's ceremonial tomb, were six of her horses especially sacrificed for the occasion. The Ice Maiden had been laid to rest in the "Pastures of Heaven" high in the Altai mountains of Siberia. Water had entered the grave and frozen, preserving the contents.

For nearly twenty five centuries she remained at peace, until Russian archaeologist Natalia Polosmak discovered the tomb in 1993. Now the preserved body, her clothes and her belongings were about to open a window on the lost culture of the Pazyryk, the tribe she belonged to, fierce nomads who once roamed the Russian Steppes.

[edit] A Life in Ice

In 1991, two Germans on a hiking holiday in the Alps stumbled on what they thought was the victim of a climbing accident: a frozen body poking through the glacial snow. In fact, the body turned out to be that of a Neolithic farmer - a European contemporary of the builders of the first Egyptian pyramids. And the Iceman has turned out to be one of the most important archaeological finds of the century.

Tim Haines' film tells the story of how, in the last five years,research groups from across Europe have used him to shine a light on a time of archaeological darkness. They have investigated everything from his fingernails to his hair, from moss on his clothes to pollen grains in his cloak. He has even started new areas of research where there was nothing before.

Perhaps most significant of all, to archaeologists, is that he was not buried, no ceremony decided what artefacts he would be found with. Instead, it is now clear he was a man going about his everyday business, equipped with all he needed for daily life 5,000 years ago.

[edit] Frozen in Heaven

When the Spanish Conquistadors first conquered the Inca empire five hundred years ago, they wrote of the mysterious ceremony of capa cocha. Parents, they claimed, would voluntarily offer their children to their Inca priests, sending them to the top of the highest peaks for sacrifice to mountain gods.

In the past, historians have dismissed this as fanciful European exaggeration. But then archaeologists began to find the children's bodies. Perfectly preserved, with his head resting on his knees, the Plomo boy now crouches in a Santiago freezer. He was found at twenty thousand feet, high in the Andes, fully-dressed in ceremonial clothes and surrounded by a wealth of gold and silver offerings. He is so well- preserved that he seems to have simply fallen asleep.

The frostbite on his fingers suggests that he died of exposure, but the rough soles of his feet speak of a hard journey up the mountain to his death. Two other preserved bodies have been discovered since, and scientists are now finding clues as to how they died, and the manner of the sacrifice.

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: Divx 5.21
  • Video Bitrate: 1866 kb/s
  • Video Resolution: 688x512 (1.34:1)
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 4:3
  • Audio Codec: MP3
  • Audio BitRate: 131 kb/s (65/ch) VBR 48000 Hz
  • RunTime Per Part: 48m 50s
  • Part Size: 700mb
  • Subtitles: English
  • Ripped by jvt40

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