‘Mongolian Amazon’ and ‘Wealthy Lady’ Graves Found
By The Siberian Times reporter
Archaeologists in Mongolia have found the graves of two very different women – one was a fighter, the other a lover.
The Grave of the ‘Mongolian Amazon’
The Mongol 'woman fighter’ was around 30 to 40 years old and was tall for her time - some 180 centimeters in height, say archaeologists from Irkutsk National Research Technical University who took part in excavations at two sites in the Khövsgöl (Khubsugul) area in northern Mongolia, close to the Russian border.
The suspected female fighter was buried entirely with ‘male items’ in a wooden coffin made of a whole log at Urd Khyar 1 site. Professor Artur Kharinsky, leader of the expedition, told The Siberian Times:
“The buried person we discovered is a kind of 'Mongolian Amazon', a strong enough lady who can overcome some men. It can be assumed that she was a warrior, since she was buried with a long iron knife, hatchet, saddle with stirrups and a bronze bowl, an extremely rare attribute for female burials. She has large limb bones, which indicates her physical strength.”
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The remains of a 5ft 10 (1.80 m) female warrior have been unearthed in Mongolia. (Artur Kharinsky/The Siberian Times)
Seriously Ill, But a Fighter
Despite her physical prowess, she was - by her death – “seriously ill,” said the professor.
“She had lost most of her teeth during her lifetime,” he explained. The holes in the roots of the teeth were overgrown, and growths appeared on the bones of the jaws. “This was definitely not some (battle) injury. We do not see any traces of combat injuries on her bones, but we presume that she would have taken part in fights along with men.”
The shape of her pelvic bones and jaw is the telltale sign for her sex but DNA analysis is due to take place to check there is no error in the conclusion.
An iron hatchet and knife were found buried with the warrior woman. (Artur Kharinsky/The Siberian Times)
Burial of a Wealthy Woman
A slightly earlier find in the neighboring Urd Khyar 2 burial shows a “wealthy” female from the late 13th century buried with “expensive gifts from Europe.”
Two gold plaques, decorated with filigree and gems were found on her chest.
The ancient woman was buried wearing a silk skirt with a funeral meal. (Marina Kilunovskaya)
A fragment of an amber disk with carved floral ornaments was also found.
Professor Kharinsky believes that these precious trophies were brought to this woman by her fiancée or husband, who took part in the conquests in Europe. He said:
“These things are clearly of European origin and could be obtained by a Mongol warrior during a campaign in the West, and then presented to his beloved one. These items are not the result of trading, they did not preserve their integrity. They were clearly the result of a share of booty between the warriors.”
Of significance was not the object as a whole, but the precious material it was made of.
“The woman was quite wealthy. In the area of her belt there was a bronze mirror, on the reverse side of which were images of dragons. Near the bones of the right leg were found the remains of a birch bark base of the headdress called boghta. This headdress is a characteristic part of the costume of Mongolian women of the imperial period. Most likely, women did not participate in the campaign to the West. It was attended by men - their relatives, who brought trophies home.”
This ancient mirror was also found in the discovery. (Artur Kharinsky/The Siberian Times)
The Mongols surged through such lands as modern-day European Russia, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and southern Germany.
All the finds will remain in Mongolia.
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Analysis will be conducted in the laboratories of Ulaanbaatar State University. The antiquities will be passed to local museums.
The international team was headed by Professor Artur Kharinsky. Other experts taking part were Professor Dmitry Kichigin, laboratory assistant Matvey Portnyagin, and the students of Irkutsk State University.
Artur Kharinsky and his colleagues found the grave in Northern Mongolia, close to the Russian border. (Artur Kharinsky/The Siberian Times)
The curator of the Mongolian group, teacher Orgilbayar Samdantsoodol and undergraduates of Ulaanbaatar State University also participated in the excavations.
Top Image: Two female graves were found. Researchers believe one was an Amazon like warrior woman and the other was a wealthy lady. Source: Artur Kharinsky/The Siberian Times
The article, originally titled ‘‘Amazon woman warrior’ from 14th century found by Siberian archeologists in Mongolia’ first appeared on The Siberian Times and has been republished with permission.