August 6, 2012 12:00
Altai Princess, "in fact, is not the ancestor of the modern peoples of Altai, and extract it from the land of mummies could cause natural disasters. About the real stories of unique finds said one of its authors, academician Vyacheslav Molodin.
How to find your princess
Mummy "Altai Princess" was found on the Ukok plateau in the far south of the Altai Republic, at the junction of the borders of Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and Russia. Today it is a plateau has been declared a World Heritage Site. The discovery was made as part of an international research program "Pazyryk", dedicated to the study of archaeological Pazyryk culture of the Iron Age (VI-III c. BC. E.) That are listed as "Scythian circle." In the early 1990s, we have been working on the Ukok with Natalia Polosmak, managed by different units, and mound complex Alakha Ak-3, which was found "princess," as it was called journalists dug Natalia.
It should be noted that the Pazyryk kurgans on Ukok complexes are of two types. Small belonged to ordinary members of the community, and the large, up to 40 meters in diameter, were constructed for people of higher social status. Mound, which found a female mummy, the size was normal, also disturbed and looted in antiquity.
This was evidenced by a pit dug by looters in the center of the mound, which in addition was damaged guards — they were taken from her stone in the construction of fortifications.
Take up this obviously plundered and mutilated monument seemed pointless, but to convince Natalia failed. After much debate, decided that if the embankment damaged, permafrost inside can always melt gradually destroying all organic, so findings must be saved. That is, in fact, to guard excavations. But, to everyone's surprise, the grave was untouched, and the pit, which was mistaken for a robber hole, was let in the burial of another culture — Kara-kobintsev.
They often buried their compatriots in barrow, apparently arguing, so its superiority over its neighbors.
About finding and the upcoming opening of the ice lens of the burial chamber was quickly known foreign colleagues, and a few days we came to the experts from the Zurich team of archaeologists from the Belgian Royal Museum, a graduate student at Harvard, a student from Japan and corresponding National Geographic. The expedition has been internationalized. Each day, the ice thawed excavation of the burial chamber and brought new finds. First, there were the skeletons of six horses, which preserved wooden jewelry harness, and on some — seat of colored felt. On a bed of one of the seats was a winged lion jump — one of the best pieces found on Ukok for all the years of excavation. Then thawed and the burial chamber itself, cut down of larch logs. Instead of the floor to the bottom of the pit bed was black felt, on which stood three vessels — clay, wood and horn. These vessels poured cult drink not for the deceased, and for the deity to whom the deceased appear in another world. He also designed and lamb rump with a knife stuck in it on a wooden platter. A feeding dead at Pazyryk happened during the funeral ceremonies.
Massive wooden block with lid, hammered bronze nails, stood along the walls of the burial pit. Usually buried in a pack of rich and noble representatives Pazyryk society. Burial in the deck — in the trunk of the tree — an ancient rite. In the hollow of a tree buried babies Turks southern Siberia and Nanai, as if returning to the bosom of their mother. Inside the pack was all filled with ice.
Thawed out first hand with preserved tanned skin.
It became clear that in the deck are the remains of a woman dressed in a pose sleeping on your side with knees slightly flexed. She was wearing a long shirt of Chinese silk, a belt with red tassels (Indo-Iranian cultural element), and on the legs — long felt stockings, boots with floral pattern. Prior to that, Chinese silk found only in the "royal" barrow as he valued more than gold and was a sign of great wealth. Inside the pack were the only things buried — jewelry, glass and crockery, and next to the body was a cup of coriander seeds — An ancient incense used for ritual fumigation.
The beauty of Pazyryk tombs on Ukok that they are in a frost, and ice lens preserves all organic.
Ordinary Pazyryk burial is not too informative. As a rule, they find the remains of timbered ceilings, horse bones, clay pot, bronze or iron knife, a bronze mirror, iron bits and arrowheads. But permafrost stores all wooden items, clothing, felt, fabric, hides and skin. Moreover, the products do not lose their original color. Single A Noble Pazyryk representative of the population — not a typical situation. Pazyryk ancestral burial mounds built the chain, and, women were buried with the men. Separate burial can talk about her celibacy, characteristic of a shaman and priestess of the cult and to emphasize its independence and uniqueness. However, neither it is quite ordinary things, nor her tattoos do not support this hypothesis. Was she rich? Possible. But a sign of wealth can be considered only her silk shirt, a spacious burial chamber and more than one "companion" horse. Complete absence in her arms said that she really was not one of the Pazyryk "Amazons" — the leading women warriors. Rather, it had some special knowledge (storyteller, healer, witch) and was "chosen one spirit."
Inside, all the mummy, including a skull, was filled with dry grasses and roots.
On the shaved head of a woman was a wig made of horsehair.
At the top of the wig was attached symbol tree of life — vertical bar of felt, covered with black cloth and decorated with small figures of birds in gold foil. Front, as ensign, on the wig lay wooden figurine lying deer. On the face and neck skin is not preserved — eyes of archaeologists appeared normal skeleton. But a well-preserved skin on his left hand, which was visible tattoo Scythian-Siberian animal style. Initially tattoos covering both arms from the shoulders to the hands and a little bit — his fingers. Furthermore, all remaining fragments of skin on his right hand. Best tattoo is well preserved on the left shoulder, which depicts a fantastic deer with a beak griffin and ibex horns. Slightly lower — ram with head thrown back and his feet — spotted leopard.
Mounds in the Altai before finding mummies with tattoos.
Of the eight known pazyrkskih mummies they decorated three. Moreover, not all of them were nobles, and, conversely, not all the nobles had tattoos. This was the figurative language of Pazyryk, a kind of "text", bearing sacred information. In many ancient cultures, tattoos are associated with the rite of initiation, and boys and girls — the external signs of death and resurrection. In the mid-twentieth century, there was no reliable way of restoration and conservation of mummies, so those Altaic mummy, which are now exhibited in the Hermitage, not very well preserved. Actually a way to restoration and preservation of the Soviet Union existed, but an institution which they owned, was totally closed and inaccessible, because it was a research institute at the Lenin Mausoleum. The staff of the Institute engaged in restoration and research of our mummies.
As skin mummy scientists have determined that since the woman's death to the burial took about three months — Pazyryks often had months to keep their dead. Stomach contents of buried horses said that their deaths in early June. A woman died in March and April, when the frozen ground was impossible to dig to bury. For long-term storage than balms to wax and mercury — her skin mummy found in the Institute of Catalysis SB RAS.
No less interesting than the female mummy, represents the male, found on the Ukok later. She had not been embalmed, but the best preserved. That Pazyryks engaged not only cattle, but also in agriculture, say we have found millstones. Currently, we unfortunately are unable to work for Ukok, although prospects of finding more than one buried in the ice are very real. Unfortunately,
even respected ORT showed the film, where the female mummy is represented as the ancestor of the Altai people. Here, de, it dug up, and immediately began the earthquake, alcoholism and suicide — in general, archaeologists blame.
Certain political circles in the Altai beneficial to support this legend, and when starting any election campaign, she resuscitated, and then forget about it for long.
None of the kings and the ancestress to Ukok not lived. Genetic studies have shown that the Pazyryk were not Altai, and, basically, Samoyeds adding European-Iranian substratum, that is quite a different ethnic populations. Altai same ethnic group was formed in the best case, Turk time. Today, on the current situation, I am calm. We tried to overcome the lack of understanding by working with the Government of the Republic of Altai, but, unfortunately, it happens regardless of the local clans, who are striving for power, and has to listen to them. But the basic science can not be stopped. Information it needs, and the frost on the Ukok threatened by global warming, which will destroy many finds. Also today, ten years later, science has a completely new level of equipment. In addition, the currently planned gas pipeline through Ukok, and in the process we have to minimize the loss to archeology. Otherwise, the same UNESCO us understand. Any zone of peace anywhere in the world does not prohibit research. Another thing is that this company needs to mature.
LECTURER: Vyacheslav Molodin