Mystery unfolded when some mummies were excavated from the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountains near Xinjiang in China. These mummies date back to about 4,000 years and it was thought that there were no Westerners present in China during that time. However the discovery of the Tarim mummies proved this conception wrong. As the bodies excavated were of men from Caucasian origin. They were wearing Western outfits and had the facial features of the Caucasians. Moreover, they had neatly parted red hair. Though they dated four centuries but the mummies were in good shape.
First Tarim Mummy was discovered in 1978 by Wang Binghua while searching for ancient settlements in the northeast of Xinjiang. But as the news got through more people started taking interest in these mummies and they were discovered in four different sites across the Tarim Basin. There are hundreds of mummies present today. Though the mummies are well preserved but the people who buried them did not practice mummification. The Tarim mummies have been found on the edges of the Taklamakan desert and it is believed that rocky soil coupled with the hot climate of the area helped in preserving the bodies that should have been decomposed many centuries ago. Considering their state, the Tarim mummies can be compared to the Egyptian mummies.
Though the Tarim mummies had blue eyes and blonde hair but many refuted from accepting them as westerners settled in China. But the clothes these corpses had put on forced the sceptics to believe. Yingpan Man who is a six feet six inches tall man wore a red tunic with golden embroidery on his death bed. He also had a gold foil burial mask. The burial clothing bears more western influence than the eastern. All the other Tarim mummies unearthed till date have western outfits, the oddest of them being the Witches of Subeshi who is wearing a flat brimmed and pointy witch hat.
In depth studies of these Tarim mummies have revealed that they used chariots, rode on horses and had some amount of medical knowledge. As evidence the researchers have sited one mummy that has a deep cut mark which would have been stitched to heal the wound. Deep research work is going on at the moment to find a link between the nearby settlers and these Caucasian corpses. But not much has been learned. But one this is assured, these were the first Western settlers in China. Such a theory will out beat the earlier held dates of Western settlement by about one thousand years.