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December 2, 1974

Xeroradiography of a Pre-Columbian Mummy

Author Affiliations

El Paso, Tex

JAMA. 1974;230(9):1256. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240090016010

To the Editor.—  An amateur archaeologist, knowing of my interest in pre-Columbian studies, gave me a mummy (Fig 1) that had been recovered from a cave southwest of the city of Durango, Mexico, preserved by burial in bat guano. The mummy had been previously x-rayed and exhibited locally.The mummy was from the Chalchihuites culture, and is 1,000 years old, plus or minus 350 years. The mummy is a child, 32 cm in length, in the flexed position, with the head in marked dorsi-extension. The abdominal cavity is sunken and the knees are flexed within it to below the diaphragm. Hands are present. Only one foot is present.Xeroradiography (Fig 2) showed a female child, age 3 to 3 1/2 years, with hydrocephalus. In the left lower thorax, an amorphous mass was best defined by the xeroradiographs as less dense in contrast to the bone.Microscopic examination of the material