Cherchen Man or Chärchän Man or Ur-David is the modern name given to a mummy found in the town Cherchen, located in current Xinjiang region of China. The mummy is a member of the group known as Tarim mummies. His naturally-mummified remains were discovered in Tomb 2 at the Zaghunluq cemetery, near the town of Qiemo (Chärchän) in the Taklamakan Desert of north-west China.
Like the rest of the Tarim Mummies, he is famous for European-like facial features and clothing. It is believed that the Cherchen man like the other Tarim mummies are evidence of the Afanasevo culture's descent from the Indo-European language speakers who migrated into the Russian Steppes around 3300 BCE. Other such remains have also been recovered at sites throughout the Tarim basin, including Qäwrighul, Yanghai, Shengjindian, Shanpula (Sampul), and Qizilchoqa.
His height is not known even approximately since estimates range from around 165 cm (5′ 5″) all the way up to 198 cm (6′ 6″). His hair was "reddish brown flecked with grey, framing high cheekbones", he had an "aquiline" "long nose, full lips and a ginger beard", and was wearing "a red twill tunic" and leggings with a pattern resembling "tartan". Yellow and purple spiral and sun patterns on the mummies face have been misidentified as tattoos in some sources; they are actually an ochre paint.
The name Cherchen Man was popularized by a musician from the same region.
Like other mummies from the Tarim, Cherchen Man was buried in a tomb made of mud bricks topped with reeds and brush. The Cherchen man and the other female mummy were placed on multiple branches, with small mats underneath them that reduced the moisture in the tomb, adding to their preservation. The Cherchen man also appears to have a had a piece of wood holding his legs up in the bent position which would have increased the amount of air circulation, slowing the rate of decomposition.
The Cherchen man and his companions were natural mummies meaning that unlike the well known Egyptian mummies, they became mummies from exposure to their ambient environment, as opposed to intentional human practices.
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- "Tahir Burhan". personal website. Tahir Burhan is a world-music performer originally from Cherchen.