The Siberian Ice Maiden Protected by 2500 Years of Ancient Ice

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Siberian Ice Maiden

Reconstruction of the Siberian Ice Maiden | Image Source: Marcel Nyffenegger/ The Siberian Times.

An excellent archaeological discovery was made in 1993 in Siberian permafrost by Novosibirsk scientist Natalia Polosmak. The body remains of the princess, known as the Princess of Ukok and estimated to be 25 years old at the time of her death, have been found preserved for several thousand years. It was actually the corpse of someone known as the “Ice Princess,” but six horses with saddles and bridles were buried around it. Perhaps they were buried together to have spiritual companions in the afterlife. So it’s possible that she’s not an Ice Princess but a holy woman, a respected folktale-teller, or a healer.

The remains, kept in a scientific institute in Novosibirsk until 2012, were then taken to the Altai Republic, the original homeland of the ancient mummy. The remains were found high up in the Altai Mountains, in a border area near Russia’s borders with Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. The remains of a warrior were also found on the same plateau, and the common point of the two remains is that they have many tattoos on their bodies. In fact, these tattoos are quite similar to today’s tattoos.

Ancient Tattoo Art

The tattoos on the ancient mummy remains are the most beautiful and intricate compared to other tattoos found by archaeologists around the world. Tattoos were used as a means of personal identification at that time, ie today’s identity and passport use. People from the same family and culture would get similar symbols tattooed so that the tattoos would also help them in another life and find each other more easily. Tattoos defined a person’s position in the world and in society.

It is believed that the more tattoos on the body, the longer a person lives. The Ice Princess also has tattoos on both her arms. In other words, she is around 25 years old and when you look at the tattoos, it is clear that she has a status. The princess has a tattoo of a deer with a red beak and capricorn horns on her left shoulder. This is a fantastic mythological animal. Capricorn horns are adorned with griffon heads. She has a deer head with small horns on her wrist.

There is a tattoo of the same mythological creature on the remains of the man found near the remains of the princess. His tattoo starts from his right chest and extends to his shoulder and back. The tattoos of this man, whose lower leg, arms, chest, and part of his back are covered with tattoos, usually consist of fantastic creatures. Mythological animals such as deer, mountain sheep, griffon head, and vulture beaks are depicted on the man’s body. Fish and winged snow leopard tattoos reflect the beliefs of that era.

At that time, tattooing on the body was started from the left shoulder. Because every mummy found had a single tattoo on his left shoulder. This tattoo symbolized one’s family and culture so that one would feel closer to their ancestors.

How The Ice-Covered Princess Was Found

Mummy of the Siberian Ice Maiden | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The mummy, which was found on the southern steppe road used by nomadic peoples in the Dark Ages and pre-Christian times, was in an untouched burial chamber. The tomb was filled with ancient ice. As the archaeological team melted the ice, they first found the skeletons of six horses. Some horses had colored saddles made of felt, some had harnesses and preserved wooden decorations. A winged lion was depicted jumping on one of the saddles.

The burial chamber, made of larch logs, was covered with bronze nails. These logs were also filled with ice. A tanned arm appeared before the ice. After the arm with prominent tattoos on her fingers, the remains of a young woman lying in a sleeping position with her knees bent were found in the log. The burial chamber also contained a mirror, jewels, and Chinese silk. All these signs point to the ancient mummy being 2500 years old.

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