Early Bronze Age burial of a noblewoman found in Siberia

Archaeologists excavating a burial ground in the Russian Federation’s Republic of Khakassia in eastern Siberia discovered a burial of a woman buried 4500 years ago. The Early Bronze Age burial was equipped with an incense burner decorated by solar symbols, 1,500 beads and 100 pendants made from animal teeth.

Noblewoman's burial (by The Siberian Times)
Noblewoman’s burial (by The Siberian Times)

The discovery was made at the Itkol II burial site, in the Shira district of Khakassia. The burial, dated to Early Bronze Age (2400-1700 BC) contained remains of a woman together with a child and a number of elaborate objects indicating high status of the buried. The archaeologists state to have never encountered such richly equipped grave dating back to similar times. The burial is associated with the Okunev people, a Siberian ethnic grouping related to Native Americans, as they share the same ancestors with the people who populated North America through the ice-covered Beringia land bridge some 12,600 years ago.

Other burials at the site (by The Siberian Times)
Other burials at the site (by The Siberian Times)

Items found within the grave include around 100 decorations made from the teeth of different animals, items carved from bone and horn, two jars, cases with bone needles inside, a bronze knife, more than 1500 beads that embellished the woman’s funeral costume, an incense burner containing sun-shaped faces ornaments, and a stone slab with an image of a bull having a long rectangular body.

Incense burner from the burial (by The Siberian Times)
Incense burner from the burial (by The Siberian Times)

Other finds from the site, that is excavated since 2008, include a number of burials with 560 finds in total so far. The stone lids of some graves on the burial hill at Itkol II also bear chiselled images that are  known as Okunev faces. They are believed to depict not real people but spirits, gods and other supernatural deities.

Ornamented stone from the grave (by The Siberian Times)
Ornamented stone from the grave (by The Siberian Times)

The grave was found on the side of a burial mound, which the archaeologists plan to excavate next year, aiming for the central area. The incense burner will be exhibited at the world famous Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

(after The Siberian Times)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *