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Relics Of Ancient Burial Rites Reveal Siberian Trade Route
Moscow Times ^ | 1-16-2004 | Charles Q. Choi

Posted on 01/16/2004 12:12:25 PM PST by blam

Friday, Jan. 16, 2004.

Relics of Ancient Burial Rites Reveal Siberian Trade Route

By Charles Q. Choi

New York Times Service YEKATERINBURG, Russia -- In a medieval Siberian graveyard a few miles south of the Arctic Circle, Russian scientists have unearthed mummies roughly 1,000 years old, clad in copper masks, hoops and plates -- burial rites that archaeologists say they have never seen before.

Among 34 shallow graves were five mummies shrouded in copper and blankets of reindeer, beaver, wolverine or bear fur. Unlike the remains of Egyptian pharaohs, the scientists say, the Siberian bodies were mummified by accident. The cold, dry permafrost preserved the remains, and the copper may have helped prevent oxidation.

The discovery adds to the evidence that Siberia was not an isolated wasteland but a crossroads of international trade and cultural diversity, Dr. Natalya Fyodorova of the Ural branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said during an interview in her office in this central Russian city.

Dr. William Fitzhugh, chairman of the department of anthropology and director of the Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian, who in 1997 took part in the first expedition to the site, said the findings filled "a gap we really need to know a lot about."

The medieval cemetery, named Zelyony Yar after a nearby village, is at the base of a peninsula called "the end of the earth" by the native Nenets people. Archaeological surveys in 1976 uncovered ceramic remains suggesting an ancient settlement. On the 1997 expedition, Dr. Fyodorova, Dr. Fitzhugh and their colleagues dug up a male in a wooden coffin with an iron combat knife, a silver medallion and a bronze bird figurine, from the 7th to 9th century.

Later digs turned up still more graves. Eleven of the 34 remains had shattered or missing skulls and chopped skeletons. This may have been done right after death, "to render protection from mysterious spells believed to emanate from the deceased," Dr. Fyodorova said in a report, or it may have been a result of ancient grave robbing.

Added evidence of what contemporary societies of the area consider "protective magic" include leather straps wrapped tightly around the bodies, as well as beads or chains and humanoid or birdlike bronze figures broken into pieces at time of burial, said Dr. Dmitry Razhev.

Nearly all the graves have traces of coffins made of logs or boat parts. Several were apparently warriors buried with iron knives; others apparently died in battle, as suggested by arrowheads lodged in eye sockets and stab wounds in their backs.

In 2000, the archaeologists found their first copper-shrouded mummy, a child with a face masked by copper plates. Three more copper-masked infant mummies were found in 2001, each bound with four or five tiny copper hoops. In the remains of a metalworking shop, the researchers excavated a wooden sarcophagus with the best-preserved mummy of all, a red-haired man covered chest to foot in copper plate and laid out with an iron hatchet, well-preserved furs and a bronze bear's head buckle.

Dr. Niels Lynnerup, director of the Laboratory of Biological Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen, who is not connected with the research, said in a telephone interview that the findings were remarkable. "Archaeology is most important in those places where you don't have good written records," Dr. Lynnerup said. "So here, archaeology is terribly important."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ancient; archaeology; burial; economic; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; mummies; relics; reveal; russia; siberian; sites; trade

1 posted on 01/16/2004 12:12:26 PM PST by blam
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To: farmfriend
Ping.
2 posted on 01/16/2004 12:12:54 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
SPOTREP - ANTHROPOLOGY
3 posted on 01/16/2004 12:18:56 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; Alas Babylon!; ameribbean expat; Andyman; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.

4 posted on 01/16/2004 12:22:39 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: farmfriend
Does this mean that the climate in Siberia is actually colder now than it was in prehistoric times?
5 posted on 01/16/2004 12:29:12 PM PST by Eva
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To: blam
Great article!!

The discovery adds to the evidence that Siberia was not an isolated wasteland but a crossroads of international trade and cultural diversity, Dr. Natalya Fyodorova of the Ural branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said during an interview in her office in this central Russian city.

Traditionally archaeologists have been wed to the view of civilization beginning in the mideast. With the fall of the Soviet Union and advances of science, we get a much mor robust and complicated view of the world. Now if China would just take to politics out of its archaeology.

6 posted on 01/16/2004 12:41:23 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: Eva
Does this mean that the climate in Siberia is actually colder now than it was in prehistoric times?

Yes, it does. Check out great articles at the Global Warming Hoax thread regisister. I also have a rights, farms, environment ping list.

7 posted on 01/16/2004 12:43:34 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: blam
arrowheads lodged in eye sockets and stab wounds in their backs

Children will be children.

8 posted on 01/16/2004 12:46:25 PM PST by RightWhale (How many technological objections will be raised?)
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To: blam
The discovery adds to the evidence that Siberia was not an isolated wasteland but a crossroads of international trade and cultural diversity, Dr. Natalya Fyodorova of the Ural branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said during an interview in her office in this central Russian city.

Blam my man, you sure that whoever's translating this stuff from Russian is getting his time frames right? I mean, I might could picture Siberia being some sort of a trade crossroads in pleistocine times but not 1000 years ago.

9 posted on 01/16/2004 1:05:29 PM PST by greenwolf
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To: blam
There was a NOVA special a few years ago that may have been about this culture:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/icemummies/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2517siberian.html
10 posted on 01/16/2004 2:24:32 PM PST by CobaltBlue
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To: blam
I am really curious about how the leather straps were placed
11 posted on 01/16/2004 2:32:38 PM PST by ruoflaw
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To: blam
bump for later
12 posted on 01/16/2004 2:39:59 PM PST by EggsAckley (...................Repeal the Fourteenth Amendment.......................)
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To: greenwolf
"Blam my man, you sure that whoever's translating this stuff from Russian is getting his time frames right? I mean, I might could picture Siberia being some sort of a trade crossroads in pleistocine times but not 1000 years ago."

I can't argue with the translation. I think there has been continuous occupation in Siberia for at least 200,000 years.

Once while reading about the Cocaine Mummies Of Egypt, I read that one guy speculated about a trade route all the way from South America, across Siberia and into the Middle East. That was his explanation of how the Egyptians had access to cocaine and nicotine thousands of years ago.

13 posted on 01/16/2004 3:20:34 PM PST by blam
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To: CobaltBlue
Interesting links. I don't know how I missed the 'Ice Maiden." Thanks.
14 posted on 01/16/2004 3:28:26 PM PST by blam
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To: greenwolf
Early Hominids In Siberia? (300,000 years ago)
15 posted on 01/16/2004 3:30:34 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Luckily these remains were not found in the U.S., where they would have to be turned over to "native Americans" for disposal before they could be studied.
16 posted on 01/16/2004 3:42:25 PM PST by BigBobber
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To: BigBobber
"Luckily these remains were not found in the U.S., where they would have to be turned over to "native Americans" for disposal before they could be studied."

Yup, that problem needs to be addressed. There weren't any 'Indians' (as we know them today) here before 6,000 years ago.

17 posted on 01/16/2004 3:45:30 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
I think that the thing I have gotten from this ping list is the amazing relationship of all humans in this world. God bless us all. Amen
18 posted on 01/16/2004 4:31:18 PM PST by Mercat
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To: Mercat
"I think that the thing I have gotten from this ping list is the amazing relationship of all humans in this world."

Yup. Most people do not realize how closely related we all are. ...75,000 years ago all but 2,000 of us were killed. We are all the off-spring of those survivors.

19 posted on 01/16/2004 5:12:57 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
I can't argue with the translation. I think there has been continuous occupation in Siberia for at least 200,000 years.

Continuous occupation true, but by relatively small Turko/Mongol tribes eking out an existence hunting and fishing. That's not most people's definition of any sort of a quasi-major trade nexus or caravan hub. Within historical times the caravan routes (silk road etc.)ran through southern Asia for obvious reasons.

20 posted on 01/16/2004 5:54:02 PM PST by greenwolf
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To: greenwolf
"Within historical times the caravan routes (silk road etc.)ran through southern Asia for obvious reasons."

True. There was trade along what was to become the Silk Road 2,000 years before it was called that.

Frankly, I don't know much about this area. (Siberia)

However, don't forget that the Ainu and the Jomon of Japan must have migrated through there at some time in the past. The oldest Jomon skeleton found in Japan is 13,000 years old.
Then we were suprised by these folks in China The Curse Of The Red-Headed Mummy. I'm in the process of re-reading Victor Mair's book, The Tarim Mummies, for the third time. I'm beginning to think that the Great Wall of China was built to keep out Caucasian 'Mongols' (Barbarians) from the north.
Maybe some of these Siberian folks?

21 posted on 01/16/2004 6:24:01 PM PST by blam
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To: Professional Engineer
ping
22 posted on 01/16/2004 7:41:08 PM PST by msdrby (US Veterans: All give some, but some give all.)
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To: blam
The only thing that sort of stands out about Siberia is that it's too cold for most living things at present but 10,000 or 15,000 years ago it used to be warmer, and you had herds of mammoths and other large mammals wandering around over it. It could have been some sort of a trade center THEN; anything like that 1000 years ago is just real hard to picture.
23 posted on 01/16/2004 7:49:49 PM PST by greenwolf
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To: blam
Or mabye Bay of Jars?
24 posted on 01/18/2004 1:26:46 AM PST by RussianConservative (Xristos: the Light of the World)
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To: greenwolf
Siberia actually much different in climates/terrain then most American think...remember N to S it is 2,000 km.
25 posted on 01/18/2004 1:29:18 AM PST by RussianConservative (Xristos: the Light of the World)
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To: carpio
BTTT
26 posted on 02/06/2004 5:56:04 PM PST by carpio
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To: farmfriend

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27 posted on 02/19/2009 1:33:46 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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