10 interesting mysteries of Siberia that have struck scientists and historians

Incredible secrets that guard the land of Siberia.

Siberia is a vast territory that stretches east from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. With about three people per square kilometer, it is one of the least densely populated places on Earth. Nevertheless, this particular area has proven to be a real treasure for archaeologists. Thanks to the cool, dry air and the permafrost, many ancient objects have been surprisingly preserved for several thousand years.

1. shigir idol

Archaeologists discovered the oldest wooden sculpture in the world during the excavation of a swamp in Western Siberia at the end of the 19th century. Its age has been estimated at 11,000 years, which means that the idol is twice as old as the Great Pyramids and 6,000 years older than Stonehenge. This 2.8 meter high sculpture was made from 157 year old larch trees that had been worked with stone tools.

Since the idol had been buried for thousands of years on the moorland, it was remarkably well preserved. One can still make out the features of its face, as well as the ornamentation carved on its body. Some believe that the incomprehensible lines of the idol contain encrypted information. Others speculate that the idol, which once stood 5.2 meters high, may represent a prototype of an Indian totem pole.

2. Siberian Amazons

In 1990, archaeologists discovered the remains of a female warrior in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. The 2,500-year-old girl with braids is considered by scientists to be a member of an elite group of Pazyryk warriors. She was buried with a shield, battle axe, bow and arrows. The ancient Greek writer Hippocrates noted that the Scythians had female warriors called Amazons. Many believed that one of these mythical warriors had finally been discovered. However, DNA analysis has shattered these assumptions.

It turns out that the girl was about 16 years old at the time of her death. "Amazon" was buried surrounded by fertility symbols such as shells and amulets. The coffin, the wooden "cushion" and the quiver were all smaller than those found in men's graves. The remains of nine horses were also found next to her, suggesting that the girl had a high status. The cause of death of the "Pigtail Warrior" remains a mystery.

3. The oldest oncology

The remains of the oldest oncology patient.

Many people think that cancer is a modern disease. For years, researchers have assumed that ancient peoples who were constantly active and ate natural foods did not have cancer. However, in 2014, a discovery was made that refutes this thesis: it was discovered that the remains of a man who lived in Siberia during the Bronze Age had died of prostate cancer. Although cases of benign tumors dating back 6,000 years have already been discovered, it is these 4,500 year old remains that constitute the oldest absolutely confirmed case of cancer. Most of the male remains found at this site were found in a prone position, next to hunting and fishing implements. However, the "crayfish man" was different from them: he was found in a fetal position with a bone spoon covered with intricate carvings next to him.

4. The idol that changed race

Archaeologists believe that the 2400-year-old Siberian stone idol underwent a "change of race" in the early Middle Ages. The idol of Ust-Taseevsky once had large protruding nostrils, a large open mouth, a moustache and a thick beard. Experts believe that about 1500 years ago, someone underwent "plastic surgery" to make the idol look less like a European and more like an Asian. He was given narrower eyes, and his beard and mustache were "shaved".

Archaeologists believe that the idol of Ust-Taseievsky was originally carved during the Scythian period, when the inhabitants of the region were Europeans. But in the early Middle Ages, the population of the Angara River region was "driven out" by Mongol invaders.

5. Bone armor

A complete set of bone armor.

Archaeologists have recently uncovered a complete set of bone armor in Siberia. This 900-year-old armor was made from the bone of an unknown animal and was buried separately from its owner in the wooded western steppe near present-day Omsk. Although most of the finds in this region belong to the Mole culture, researchers believe that the armor belongs to the Samus-Seima culture, which originated in the Altai Mountains before expanding southwestward. The armor was found in surprisingly good condition at a depth of 1.5 meters.


6. The oldest sewing needles

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest sewing needle in the world in the Altai Mountains. The needle, which is 50,000 years old, was found in the Denis cave and was not used by Homo sapiens. The 7 cm needle has a hole for the thread, and it was made from the bone of a large unknown bird. It was found in the same layer as the remains of the enigmatic hominids, Denisov's humans.

7. The aristocrat Okunev.

Archaeologists of the Siberian republic of Khakassia discovered the remains of the "noble woman" of the ancient Okunev culture. Experts believe that the Okunev culture was a Siberian ethnic group very close to the Amerindians. In the tomb, dating from the XXV - XVIII centuries B.C., the remains of a child and a huge treasure were also found. The tomb contained 100 ornaments made of animal teeth, bones, and horns, tools, two containers, boxes filled with bone needles, a bronze knife, and more than 1500 pearls, adorning the funeral clothes of the "aristocrat". The tomb was closed with a stone slab depicting a bull.

8. 3,000-year-old skull trepanation

In 2015, archaeologists found a skull near Nefteprovod 2 in Siberia that has clear evidence of brain surgery that was performed 3,000 years ago. The patient died between the ages of 30 and 40, and the exposed parietal bone of his skull showed signs of overgrowth, indicating that he lived for some time after trepanning. Experts believe his death was caused by postoperative inflammation.

9. Uina and Uyan.

A lion cub that died 57,000 years ago.

In 2015, researchers discovered the remains of two dead lion cubs in the Siberian permafrost. The creatures, named Dina and Uyan, are 57,000 years old and are descendants of cave lions that died out about 10,000 years ago. They were only one or two weeks old when the cave ceiling collapsed on top of the lions. The opaque white liquid found in their stomachs is perhaps the oldest milk in the world.

10. Couple holding hands for 5,000 years

An unusual tomb was discovered on the shores of Lake Baikal this year. In the tomb lay a couple who had held hands for 5000 years. Bronze Age skeletons, which belong to the Gluckian culture, are believed to belong to an important man and his wife or mistress. Rare white jade rings, deer bone rings, deer bone pendants and kabarga teeth, a 50 centimeter long jade dagger and a metal object of unknown use in a bag between the man's legs were also found in the burial.

Siberia does not only attract foreigners with its treasures. In one of our magazines, we told what attracts brides from the Celestial Empire to Russia.