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The Tulli
Human Mummy
Tuli
Biographical Information
Name(s) Tuli or Tulli
Age 50 +
Sex Male
Status Unknown
Height Unknown
Source
Culture sub-saharan african
Date(s) AD 1500 to 1800
Site Unknown
Current Location
Location Botswana
Catalog # Unknown

The Tulli mummy is the first mummy found in Botswana, found alone in a shallow grave at the base of the Cut Line Rock in a flexed position in 2008. The body had been wrapped in a dark animal skin. A long plant fibre was then used to tie the remains into a bundle for burial. The animal skin had been turned so that the hair side was in direct contact with the body.

Much of the skin was preserved and adhered to the bones. Some tendons were also noted. Hair and nails were also present. The hands are clamped together making it difficult to observe the palms but toe prints are still clearly visible as was a beard and side burns on the face.

Mummification

The Tulli remains were not intentionally mummified, dry conditions led to desiccation of the remains. This contributed to the mummification of soft tissues.

Studies

CT Scans revealed that there weren't any preserved organs meaning that they were either removed or degenerated before burial, the former being unlikely as it was not part of the cultural practice to remove organs. DNA analysis showed the body belonged to a black African who was older than 50 when he died, related to modern day Sotho-Tswana and Khoesan peoples.

He lived during the Late Iron Age, and suffered from degenerative disease of the spine evidenced by osteophytes along his spine.

Examination of the mummy’s teeth showed show signs of moderate dental wear.

Additional

The rescued remains are currently housed at the Botswana National Museum in Gaborone, in humidity, light and temperature controlled storage facility.


Reference

Africa, T. C. (2016, March 17). Scans and DNA tests reveal the secrets of a rare African mummy. Retrieved November 09, 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-conversation-africa/scans-and-dna-tests-revea_b_9483150.htm

Field and Technical Report:THE TULI MUMMY: A PRELIMINARY REPORT FROM NORTHEASTERN BOTSWANA MORONGWA N. MOSOTHWANE Department of Anatomy, University of Pretoria, https://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/19039/Mosothwane_Tuli(2011).pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

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