Otzi the Iceman
Found in 1991, Otzi was an amazing dig. Otzi’s body had been frozen in the Otztal Alps since the Neolithic period, and he was found with his clothing and personal belongings intact! Over the years, he has been scrutinized closely, and has become one of the most studied mummies. But since he has been frozen for millennia, special precautions to keep him cold needed to be put in place. Along with his 61 tattoos, and what he ate for his last meal, it was found that Otzi’s cause of death was foul play.
Lindow Man is an Iron Age big body who was found in 1984, near Manchester. Bog bodies from the Iron Age are rare and shocking finds, and many of them show signs of ritualistic death. Once they were dumped in the peat bogs, they were tanned and preserved naturally along with most of the clues to how they died. Lindow Man was in his 20s, and had a particularly brutal death. He was beat over the head, his throat slit, and then strangled.
Juanita the Ice Maiden
Found on Mount Ampato, Peru in 1995, this little girl was part of an Incan sacrifice. She was roughly 12 years old when she was drugged, led up the mountain, and then hit over the head. Due to the massive trauma, her brain was found squished up to the side of her skull.
Juanita was declared as one of the most important finds of 1995, and since then she has not only been one of the most studied mummies, but a window into Incan life and religion.
Hailed as being one of the biggest finds in the 20th century, lady Zin Zhui was found in 1971 after being interred for more than 2,000 years! She was the wife of the marquis of Dai during the Han dynasty, and her remains are some of the most well preserved in Chinese history.
Because of her high station, her tomb has offered previously unknown facts about the Han dynasty. And because of her excellent preservation, her body has been studied a lot. Unlike others on this list, her death was completely natural: a rich, gluttonous life gave her a heart attack when she was 50 years old.
The Qilakitsoq Mummies
These are the oldest found remains from Greenland. A total of 7 bodies were found, mostly woman and a few children, and one of them an infant.
Found near an old Inuit village in 1972, some of the mummies were found to be related. It’s very possible that the infant was alive when the burial happened. When a mother died, her children were sometimes buried with her because no one could care for them.
Bonus: King Tutankhamun
How could I write a list about the most studied mummies and not include the Boy King?
Howard Carter and George Herbert cracked open the world-changing discovery in 1922, but the life and death of King Tutankhamun is still shrouded in mystery. This may have to do with the religious and political shifts happening when the boy became pharaoh.
His tomb and body are still subject to research and tests, making him the king of the most studied mummies ever found.