“Caucasian” Mummies found in the Tarim Basin

I had to echo this from author Dara Sorensen’s blog, Tales from the Writing Front.

I had encountered the tales of the mummies with Caucasian features in my research, but hadn’t seen this program before. This tidbit was one of my inspirations for Across the Silk Road and Butterfly Swords where my barbarians settled in the Gansu corridor at the western edge of the Tang Empire, just east of the Tarim Basin.

Great video on Hulu:



  1. Dara
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 09:16:07


    I figured you may have come across that while writing. The moment I saw the program, I instantly thought of your books!

  2. Jeannie Lin
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 12:59:21

    I had come across the discovery of the mummies and also the references of red hair and blue eyes. Many of the eastern and central Asian people actually have light hair and light eyes.

    I thought it was interesting how the show continued to portray the Tarim people as European even when it was found that they were central Asian or Eurasian mostly.

  3. Elise Logan
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 09:13:51

    Too cool. plot bunnies!

  4. Lisa and Laura
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 18:43:38

    This is so cool! Makes me so excited to read your book Jeannie!

  5. Dara
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 10:05:53

    Yeah, that was a little odd. But I thought it was cool that it showed that the area was such a mix of cultures–from Europe to Eastern Asia down towards India. It does make me wonder what happened to those people and why they disappeared. My best guess is a combination of environmental and possibly political changes that made them migrate elsewhere.

  6. Jeannie Lin
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 15:22:18

    Elise – The plot bunnies are definitely hopping!

    LiLa – Always glad to hear that. 🙂

    Dara – My theories would also stray toward migration and intermixing with other cultures and tribes that passed through that area. The shifting desert would change the availability of water over time and force people to migrate to different locations within that whole region.