New research has questioned long-held archaeological theories on the royal status of the Canary Islands’ pre-Hispanic mummies. A new study of 20 mummy specimens housed in the Museo Canario in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria revealed that there was little difference in how pre-Hispanic royalty was treated at the time of burial when compared to other aboriginal Canary Islanders, the Guanches.
According to researchers, new findings have raised questions on whether the renowned mummies were royal at all. They claim that Canary Island mummies had previously been examined as individual cases, without a comparative context.
The study also confirmed that, rather than undergoing an intentional mummification process, many of the bodies became mummified because they had simply been buried in environments with temperature and humidity levels ideal for the preservation of skin, internal organs, soft tissue, hair and nails.
Plans are in hand to create at least three “digital mummies” using high definition 3-D photography, which will allow scientists as well as curious enthusiasts to see the mummies from all angles, including under the skin and the cloth lining, on their computer or tablet. Artemi Semidan, the Guanche nobleman famous for liberating the Canary Island natives from Jean de Bethencourt’s Norman troops in 1405, will be one of the first mummies to be investigated.