500 years ago, a family of eight including a six-month-old baby boy were buried alive, their bodies preserved as mummies
A family of eight Inuit including a six-month-old baby boy are pictured frozen in time from 500 years ago.
Three sisters with their three daughters and their sons, four and six months old were discovered at the abandoned Qilakitsoq encampment which lies on the Nuussuaq Peninsular near Uummannaq, Greenland.
Grouse hunters Hans and Jokum Grønvold uncovered the group in 1972 in a shallow cave beneath a rocky outcrop. Because the mummies were so well-preserved the men reported their findings to the police.
Incredible pictures show the mummies with their skin, hair, eyebrows and fingernails intact and bundled in animal fur to prepare them for hunting in the afterlife.
Archaeologists believe the family died around 1475AD and the accidental mummification process resulted from the ice-cold temperatures, according to The Sun.
The shocking discovery found six women with tattoos on their foreheads and chins in the settlement on the west coats of Greenland, 280 miles north of the Arctic.
And the Inuit culture meant that if the mother passed away, her children must be buried with her, even if they were alive, to ensure the family passed peacefully to the afterlife together.
Hunters found the bodies stacked on top of each other with layers of skin and fur between them.
The eerie close-up of the baby boy shows the infant swaddled in a fur hood with dark brown hair poking out.
It was not uncommon for the infant to be buried alive after the mother had died to prevent it dying a painful death through starvation.
All of the women were believed to have died from natural causes including kidney stones, constipation and poor health. The three sisters were believed to be aged 50 with their three daughters aged between 18 and 30.
Researchers also believe the four-year-old boy had Down’s Syndrome, where it was a custom to bury these children alive.
A total of 78 items of clothing including the skins of seal and reindeer allowed the bodies to undergo the mummification process.
Four of the Inuit are now displayed at the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk.