Archeologists and anthropologists believed the warrior was not only female - and a pig-tailed teenager - but a member of an elite corps of warriors within the Pazyryk culture. Picture: Marcel Nyffenegger, Natalia Polosmak

Female Amazon warrior buried 2,500 years ago in Altai Mountains was... male

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By The Siberian Times reporter

New DNA findings have altered the sex of one of most famous recent Siberian archeological finds of human remains. A Swiss taxidermy expert brought 'her' to life, recreating the 'virgin' warrior's looks from facial bones, and some observers commented on her distinctly masculine appearance. Yet archeologists and anthropologists believed she was not only female - and a pig-tailed teenager - but a member of an elite corps of warriors within the Pazyryk culture which suggested likenesses to the fabled Amazon warriors of known to the Greeks. 

Entombed next to a much older man - perhaps father and daughter? - the remains lay beside shields, battle axes, bows and arrowheads, while the warrior's physique indicated a skilled horse rider and archer.

Some observers commented on her distinctly masculine appearance. Pictures: Marcel Nyffenegger, Natalia Polosmak and Elena Shumakova for Science First Hand

Some observers commented on her distinctly masculine appearance. Pictures: Marcel Nyffenegger, Natalia Polosmak and Elena Shumakova for Science First Hand

Cowrie shells, amulets for female fertility but exceptionally rare in Pazyryk burials, were a tell-tale sign that this was a young woman, but so were various adornments to the grave -  for example, the 'coffin', the wooden pillow, the quiver, all smaller in comparison to usual male burials. In a singular honour, nine horses - four of them bridled - were buried with the skeleton, an escort to the afterlife. But a major revamping is now underway. New DNA analysis indicates unequivocally that the remains were male and not female. 

The pioneering research was conducted by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Novosibirsk State University. 

Entombed next to a much older man - perhaps father and daughter? - the remains lay beside shields, battle axes, bows and arrowheads, while the warrior's physique indicated a skilled horse rider and archer. Pictures: Natalia Polosmak

Entombed next to a much older man - perhaps father and daughter? - the remains lay beside shields, battle axes, bows and arrowheads, while the warrior's physique indicated a skilled horse rider and archer. Pictures: Natalia Polosmak

Entombed next to a much older man - perhaps father and daughter? - the remains lay beside shields, battle axes, bows and arrowheads, while the warrior's physique indicated a skilled horse rider and archer. Pictures: Natalia Polosmak

Entombed next to a much older man - perhaps father and daughter? - the remains lay beside shields, battle axes, bows and arrowheads, while the warrior's physique indicated a skilled horse rider and archer. Pictures: Natalia Polosmak

Entombed next to a much older man - perhaps father and daughter? - the remains lay beside shields, battle axes, bows and arrowheads, while the warrior's physique indicated a skilled horse rider and archer. Pictures: Natalia Polosmak

This obtained 'reliable molecular genetic data' indicating that the supposed female warrior 'was male', according to a report released by  Science First Hand  co-authored by Dr Alexander Pilipenko, of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics, and Dr Natalia Polosmak, of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography,  at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in Novosibirsk.

The research also found that the relationship between the two people buried in the tomb at the Ak-Alakha burial ground was not father and son but perhaps uncle and nephew. The cause of death of the pig-tailed ancient youth was not established. 

Clay reconstruction by Swiss expert Marcel Nyffenegger

Restored face likeness by Swiss expert Marcel Nyffenegger

Swiss expert Marcel Nyffenegger was asked to recreate a likeness of the supposed female warrior for the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, Germany. Pictures: Marcel Nyffenegger

The discovery of the remains was described in a 1994 book by Dr Polosmak as 'unique' because of the way the female skeleton was dressed in male clothing and buried with weapons. Swiss expert Marcel Nyffenegger was asked to recreate a likeness of the supposed female warrior for the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, Germany. Working with a 3D model of the skull, he spent a month painstakingly piecing together her facial muscles and tissue layers as well as reconstructing her skin structure, eyes and expression. The resulting Plasticine model was then covered with silicone and a rubber-resin mixture before finer details such as eyebrows and eyelashes were added. 

Featured image: Archeologists and anthropologists believed the warrior was not only female - and a pig-tailed teenager - but a member of an elite corps of warriors within the Pazyryk culture. Picture: Marcel Nyffenegger, Natalia Polosmak

The article ‘ Female 'Amazon' warrior buried 2,500 years ago in Altai Mountains was... male ’ was originally published on The Siberian Times and has been republished with permission.

Comments

I'm not seeing any actual proof in this article that this female Pazyryk was actually male. Usually one can tell just by looking at the width of the pelvis if a mummy/skeleton is female or not. There are other burials of high status Pazyryk women with similar goods.

"New DNA analysis indicates unequivocally that the remains were male and not female."

That seems like quite strong evidence to me.

I know that people believe that XX is female and XY is male however there are several women born every year that are genetically XY. In fact earlier this year there was an article (I forget witch scientific journal) that talked about a woman in America born XY becoming pregnant. Many none scientific papers and magazines ran with the headline of "Genetic Man becomes pregnant." Just because genetics is saying Male does not mean that this person did not have all the characteristics of a female.

The buried individual was an adolescent aged 14 to 15. Determining the sex of adolescents from the skeleton morphology may, in some cases, be very difficult. The genetic analysis of this individual was not simple either. For more detail on the recent DNA study and the previous physical anthropology analysis see http://scfh.ru/en/news/the-ukok-female-warrior-has-changed-sex-new-paleo...

“….Yet archeologists and anthropologists believed she was not only female - and a pig-tailed teenager - but a member of an elite corps….”

Amazing what archeologists and anthropologists can come up with when they just want to sweeten the pot.  

Okay, so give HER a haircut and let’s see what HE looks like! Simple.

 

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