Uan Muhuggiag: North African Black Mummy

Published on June 25, 2020 by

In 1958, an Italian archaeologist discovered the mummified remains of a two-and-a-half-year-old boy in a cave in southwestern Libya. But this was a mummy with a difference: it was far older than any comparable examples found in Egypt.

The culture that produced the mummy were cattle herders, and occupied much of North Africa, at a time when the Sahara was a savannah. Possible links with later Egyptian culture have also been found, including the representation in rock art of dog-headed human figures (resembling Anubis), and a type of pottery decoration later found in the southern Nile valley.

The mummy of a young boy, Uan Muhuggiag was destined for controversy. He was older than any comparable Egyptian mummy and his mere existence challenged the very idea that Egyptians were the first in the region to mummify their dead. Uan Muhuggiag was no one off. The sophistication of his mummification suggested he was the result of a long tradition of mummification.

The discovery raised some profound questions. Who were the ancient inhabitants of the Sahara Desert who put the mummy there? And what influence might those people have had on the glittering civilization that later emerged in the land of the pharaohs?

This fascinating film follows Italian professor Savino di Lernia and his colleagues on a trek through the Sahara in the search for answers — a journey that leads to some astounding conclusions.

Content licensed by East West to Little Dot Studios

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