Copper Man
Biographical Information
Name(s) Copper Man
Age Young
Sex Male
Status Melted Corpse
Height Unknown
Culture Chilean
Date(s) 550 A.D. ± 40 years
Site Chuquicamata
Current Location
Location American Museum of Natural History
Catalog #

Copper Man also known as the Chuquicamata Mummy, was a miner who was initially discovered at a depth of two meters inside an ancient mining tunnel. The young man had been trapped by a cave-in and he was identified as a miner because of the discovery of the tools and instruments he had with him that were used to collect copper minerals.


The mummified human body was found saturated with copper salts leading it to be well preserved but with a green tint.


The miner's hair was braided. The body of the miner is missing one little finger and a toe. An x-ray, made by Joseph H. Kraus, revealed that there is minimal breakage of the bones. The x-ray also shows the artificial occipital flattening deformation of the skull. 

Copper Man was found in 1899 and dated at about AD 550.


The effect of copper salts on the mummy


Copper has been mined for centuries at Chuquicamata and still is.

External Links


Fuller, D. R. (2004). The production of copper in 6th century Chile’s chuquicamata mine. Jom, 56(11), 62-66. doi:10.1007/s11837-004-0256-6

Bird, Junius B, 1979: The "Copper Man": A Prehistoric Miner and His Tools from Northern Chile. In Pre-Columbian Metallurgy of South America, ed. Elizabeth P. Benson, pp. 105-132. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.

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