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The mummy of the six month old boy.

Qilakitsoq is an archaeological site on the southwestern shore of the Nuussuaq Peninsula in western Greenland. Formally a settlement, it is famous for the discovery of eight mummified bodies in 1972. The bodies were found in an icy tomb and date to the 15th century. Four of these bodies were preserved in extremely good condition due to being buried under a rock in cold temperatures with a steady cold breeze always blowing. In essence, they were freeze dried.

The mummies in the first grave included three women stacked on top of each other with a boy on top and a beautifully preserved baby on top of them all. A nearby grave contained three more women piled on top of each other.

Both pits were covered in stones, the placement of which alerted a pair of brothers who were out hunting. After turning over a few stones, the brothers found the mummies, re-closed the grave and alerted authorities. However, it took until 1977 before the authorities investigated the find.

Along with the mummies in the graves were 78 pieces of clothing made from seal, reindeer and other skins, some of which displayed a sense of fashion. The boy had features which may have been symptoms of down syndrome, and five of the six adult females bore faint facial tattoos. The baby is the now famous representative of the group, and may have been placed alive into the grave if its mother had died, as was customary in Eskimo culture.

See also


  • Hansen, Jens P. Hart; Meldgaard, Jørgen and Nordqvist, Jørgen (1985) "The Mummies of Qilakitsoq" National geographic 167(2): pp. 191-207

External links

Coordinates: 70°36′31″N 52°10′55″W / 70.60861°N 52.18194°W / 70.60861; -52.18194



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