Guanche Mummies of Necochea
Human Mummy
The female mummy, one of two Guanche mummies of Necochea at the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre in Tenerife.
The female mummy, one of two Guanche mummies of Necochea at the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre in Tenerife.
Biographical Information
Name(s) Guanche Mummies of Necochea
Age Male is 25-29; Female is 20-24
Sex One is male; other is female
Status Unknown
Height Female is 137 cm; Male is 173 cm
Culture Guanche, Ancient Berber, aboriginal community of the Canary Islands
Date(s) Date from about 2250 years
Site Tenerife, Canary Islands
Current Location
Location Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre (Santa Cruz de Tenerife)
Catalog #

The Guanche Mummies of Necochea belonged to the vanished Guanche aboriginal population of the Canary Islands. They date from about 2,250 years.

The Guanches are a native people of the island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. The community aggressively resisted attacks by Spanish colonizers. They were linked with the Berbers of Africa, rather than Europeans, due to their vocation for cultivation and mummy monuments.


According to anthropologists, the preservation of corpses from the Guanches community is reserved exclusively for the highest social caste of the people. This status is evident by the amount of laters of funerary bundle that the two mummies are wrapped in. The woman is wrapped in a shroud particularly made of pigskin. The state of conservation is considered to be very good; there are some loose pieces, but can easily be built into a whole. This suggests to anthropologists that these two mummies had a very high social status in the Guanches community.


The female mummy is about 20-24 years old, a height of 137 cm, and has a very low robust index. There are fragmentary remains of her internal organs, including clear signs of metabolic stress shown by the presence of marked hypoplasia of the tooth enamel. The reduced stature, slender shape of her body, and hypoplasia suggests that the woman suffered from nutritional or chronic diseases during her period of development.

The male mummy is about 25-29 years old, a height 173 cm, and is relatively robust. Remains of multiple internal organs (lung, liver, intestines) have been found in the thoracic and abdominal cavities of this male. Also, the presence of various plants (herbs, bark powder) have been found, perhaps used in the mummification process. The male's legs are flexed with his heels against his buttocks. Both mummies are wrapped in leather mantles joined by tidy seams. There is extreme flexion of the knees of the male mummy, without hip flexion, but there are no signs of tendon cut, except for slight stripping of fibers and ligaments. This suggests that the bending mechanism was made under pressure with the cadaver still fresh.


The two mummies belonged to a private museum in Tacoronte, however were sold to the La Plata Museum in Argentina in the nineteenth century, where it came under the possession of an unknown collector. The mummies were then moved to Necochea and remained there till 2003, when they were brought back to their native home of Tenerife. They were later transferred to the city of Necochea, until, in 2003, were returned to Tenerife. The return of these two mummies was the first of any mummified human remains from America to Europe in the history of archeology.


Another mummy from the ancient Guanches region which could be of interest is the Guanche mummy of Madrid.


(2003, August 27). They send two mummies from Necochea to the Canary Islands. La Nacion. Retrieved from

(2003, October 21). The guanche mummies of Necochea. Museo de Tenerife. Retrieved from

(2006, January 25). More than 53,000 people have already visited the mummies of Necochea. El Dia. Retrieved from

Wikipedia retrieved from

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