P.L. Parker

P.L. Parker

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Urumchi Mummies - and Fiona

"Fiona" (my debut novel) evolved from watching a segment of the Discovery Channel about the discovery of Caucasian Mummies in the Taklamakan Desert of Northern China. These mummies, possibly Tocharian Celts, existed in that part of the world long before Caucasians were thought to have made their appearance. No one knows where they came from or where they went. Maybe they subsequently interbred with the nearby Uyghur tribes, which could account for the lighter skin and rounder eyes of the peoples in the area. It is a question whose answer is lost in time. After I set the parameters of my story, I purchased a copy of Elizabeth Wayland Barber's The Mummies of Urumchi. She discusses textiles, basketry, weaving and carding, and other aspects of these people's daily life, things I needed to give color to my slant on life 4,000 years B.C. My heroine, Fiona, is based on the discovery of one such mummy, a young blonde woman, possibly a sacrificial victim. Dismemberment was a common form of torture to the ancients. In almost every culture, there is mention of this horrific end result. There wasn't much I could do to alleviate her suffering, but perhaps I could write her a better end.



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