Siberian archer’s burial found in Altai

A rich burial of a Medieval Siberian archer was unearthed after local residents stumbled upon the remains, near the village of Kokorya, Altai Republic, Russian Federation.

The quiver inlaid with carved bone plates (by Almadakov E.A.)
The quiver inlaid with carved bone plates (by Almadakov E.A.)

The grave contained the remains of a man together with equipment, including birch bark quiver, arrow shafts and iron arrow heads, intricate ornaments and utensils made from the roots of trees, as well as the remnants of silk ribbons. Archaeologists of the Museum of Gorno-Altaisk State University were able to unearth the sarcophagus but did not yet open it. It is possible that the man’s bow is also present within the wooden coffin, placed along the body.

The quiver in full extent (by Vasily Oinoshev)
The quiver in full extent (by Vasily Oinoshev)
The quiver from the side (by Almadakov E.A.)
The quiver from the side (by Almadakov E.A.)

According to the experts the burial can be dated to between 13-15th centuries AD. The warrior is suspected to be of Mongolian origin as there are no similar burials with this type of equipment found in the region, making it also unique in Altai.

The ornamented bone plates of the quiver (by Vasily Oinoshev)
The ornamented bone plates of the quiver (by Vasily Oinoshev)

The small finds from the grave consist so far of a birch bark quiver, two bone plates with elaborated ornaments, iron arrowheads, wooden arrow shafts, birch bark linings for a saddle, the remains of ribbons, likely silk, and what is left of a leather strap. The quiver has separate spaces for different types of arrows.

Shafts of arrows (by Nikita Konstantinov, Almadakov E.A.)
Shafts of arrows (by Nikita Konstantinov, Almadakov E.A.)

The Mongolians sent their first external conquest in the 12th century into the Altai region. The area remained under Mongol sway until the 14th and 15th centuries. When the Mongolian tribes came to Altai, previous Turk traditions were forgotten. Part of the local population was assimilated or destroyed. Finds dated to the period of this Mongolian conquest are fairly rare in Altai.

Arrowheads (by Nikita Konstantinov, Almadakov E.A.)
Arrowheads (by Nikita Konstantinov, Almadakov E.A.)

(after The Siberian Times, Nikita Konstantinov, Almadakov E.A., Vasily Oinoshev)

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