I have to admit to a fascination with mummies that dates to when I first saw one at the Chicago museum as a child. I remember purchasing a slender volume at that time about mummies and their preparation, making myself a young "expert" on the subject. Over the years I have had the opportunity to see and read about other types of mummiform bodies including the wonderful collection of pharonic aristocracy at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Inca collection in Lima, Peru. I've read with interest the discovery of the Chalcolithic Tyrolean mummy, Otzi the Iceman, of Jaunita and her "siblings" abandoned on the peaks of the Andes, and of the Tarium mummies of the China deserts. The Chinchorro mummies of Chile are an even earlier group of preserved human remains with which I was only vaguely familiar by virtue of a mention of them on an educational program on TV. Arriaza's book elaborates on the subject in considerable detail. It discusses their accidental discovery, their place in the history of South America, the methods of their creation, and of considerable interest to me as a nurse, their health as a population. In particular I learned that naturally occuring arsenic may have seriously affected the health of the people of the area. I had recently read of efforts made decades ago to improve the safety of water in India that had inadvertently gone awry, subjecting the population using the wells created to provide biotically pure water to increased levels of arsenic from ground water. Issues of public health are of interest to me and both of these and the possible introduction of lead into the Roman water system by it's efforts to improve public access to water are similar.