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November 29, 2017

Jeweled buckles of coal: What first-century women warriors wore

1carnelian jade coral turquoise
 

Extremely rare, only 10 examples are known in the world, according to Marina Kilunovskaya, an archaeologist at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for the History of Material Culture who led an expedition to the Ala-Tei burial ground on the Yenisei River in the Republic of Tuva.

From Atlas Obscura:

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2in situ

In a remote part of Russia, near the border with Mongolia, an archaeological investigation has been excavating the graves of the Xiongnu people, a nomadic group who lived in what's now the Tuva Republic from about the 3rd century B.C. to the 1st century A.D.

Some of the most striking finds have been in the graves of Xiongnu women, who were buried with fantastic belt buckles made of coal, jewels, and bronze.

The buckle pictured above and below is embedded with carnelian, jade, coral, and turquoise.

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The buckles, as much as eight inches wide, are decorated with depictions of animals from fictional dragons to panthers, yaks, camels, and snakes.

Xiongnu is a Chinese term from that historic period for the nomadic, invading groups seen as a threat to China.

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Chinese sources note that in the period from which these burials date, Xiongnu women fought alongside men.

Foreign Affairs reports that in at least 300 burials found across Asia, the remains of women show signs that they fought in battle.

At least a quarter of the women found buried with weapons were active warriors.

Below, the Ala-Tei burial ground.

Grave site

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[via Siberian Times and AncientOrigins]

November 29, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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