Archeology and History of the Silk Road

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Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Siberian Ice Maiden

First, if you haven't seen this Nova documentary on the Siberian Ice Maiden, do it now and view this documentary, it is a must for any anyone seriously interested in ancient civilizations, mummies and the empowerment of women.
It gives absolute credence to the existence of Amazons and warrior class women.

The discovery is from 1993.
Unfortunately there are no good images of the Ice Maiden, as her nearly perfection preservation and magnificent tattoos began to deteriorate as soon as she was discovered, and she is now pickled in Russia along with Stalin and Lenin.

The attached image is an artist interpretation by Jason Beam based on the descriptions from the Nova special.









Documentary "The Siberian Ice Maiden"

The Pazyryk burials are a number of Iron Age tombs found in the Pazyryk Valley of the Ukok plateau in the Altai Mountains, Siberia, south of the modern city of Novosibirsk, Russia. The tombs are of Scythian type, an ancient Indo-European people of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists that is known to have dominated the Pontic-Caspian steppe throughout Classical Antiquity.



Although some scholars sought to connect the Pazyryk nomads with modern-day ethnic groups of the Altay, Rudenko summed up the cultural context: "All that is known to us at the present time about the culture of the population of the High Altay, who have left behind them the large cairns, permits us to refer them to the Scythian period, and the Pazyryk group in particular to the fifth century BCE. This is supported by radiocarbon dating." The most famous undisturbed Pazyryk burial so far recovered is the "Ice Maiden" found by archaeologist Natalia Polosmak in 1993, a rare example of a single woman given a full ceremonial wooden chamber-tomb in the 5th century BCE, accompanied by six horses.



She had been buried over 2,400 years ago in a casket fashioned from the hollowed-out trunk of a larch tree. On the outside of the casket were stylised images of deer and snow leopards carved in leather. Six horses wearing elaborate harnesses had been sacrificed and lay on the logs which formed the roof of the burial chamber. The maiden's well-preserved body, carefully embalmed with peat and bark, was arranged to lie on her side as if asleep. She was young; her hair was still blonde; she had been 1.68 metres (5 ft 6 in) tall, (see LINK).



Even the animal style tattoos were preserved on her pale skin: creatures with horns that develop into flowered forms. Her coffin was made large enough to accommodate the high felt headdress she was wearing, which had 15 gilded wooden birds sewn to it. On a gold buckle retrieved from another tomb, a similar woman's headdress intertwined with branches of the tree of life are depicted. Her blouse was originally thought to be made of wild "tussah" silk but closer examination of the fibers indicate the material is not Chinese but was a wild silk which came from somewhere else, perhaps India. She was clad in a long crimson woolen skirt and white felt stockings.



Near her coffin was a vessel made of yak horn, and dishes containing gifts of coriander seeds: all of which suggest that the Pazyryk trade routes stretched across vast areas of Iran. As recently as January 2007, tombs are still discovered at various locations, such as the timber tomb of a blond chieftain warrior that was unearthed in the permafrost of the Altai mountains region close to the Mongolian border (LINK) The body of the presumed Pazyryk chieftain is tattooed; his sable coat is well-preserved, as are some other objects, including what looks like scissors. A local archaeologist, Aleksei Tishkin, complained that the current population of the region strongly disapproves of archaeological digs, prompting the scientists to move their activities across the border to Mongolia.



For more information, go to the site of Sheridon Rayment.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

im doing a ancient history report for year 11 and this helped me out so thank you for posting these video :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much im also doing a report for ancient history and this helped me allot :)