|The Spirit Cave Mummy|
Description: In 1940, husband-and-wife archaeological team, Sydney and Georgia Wheeler found a mummy in ‘Spirit Cave’ thirteen miles east of Fallon, Nevada. Upon entering Spirit Cave they discovered the remains of two people wrapped in tule matting. One set of remains, buried deeper than the other, had been partially mummified (the head and right shoulder). The Wheelers, with the assistance of local residents, recovered a total of sixty-seven artifacts from the cave. These artifacts were examined at the Nevada State Museum where they were estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 years old. 54 years later in 1994, University of California, Riverside anthropologist R. Erv Taylor examined seventeen of the Spirit Cave artifacts using mass spectrometry. The results indicated that the mummy was approximately 9,400 years old — older than any previously known North American mummy. Further study determined that the mummy exhibits Caucasoid characteristics resembling the Ainu (an Ethnic Japanese people), although a definitive affiliation has not been established.