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Ancient mummy 'with 1,100 year old Adidas boots' died after she was struck on the head

By Olga Gertcyk
12 April 2017

As well as her amazing 'modern' footwear, this Mongolian 'seamstress' went to the afterlife with four changes of clothes, her sewing kit, a horse and a ram's head.

'Adidas mummy', Mongolia. Picture: The Mongolian Observer/The Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia

New pictures of the mummy's remarkable red striped boots - first highlighted by The Siberian Times in April last year and now cleaned up after being buried in a grave for around 1,100 years - have been released. When they were first seen, they were immediately likened to the Adidas design. 

Now their modish appearance is even clearer, and it intrigues Mongolian archeologists and ethnographers. 

One local fashion expert said: 'Overall they look quite kinky but stylish - I wouldn't mind wearing them now in a colder climate. 

'Those high-quality stitches, the bright red and black stripes, the length - I would buy them now in no time.'

Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head


Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the headAncient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head


Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head
Archeologists found items from her beauty kit - part of a mirror and a comb - and also a knife. Pictures: The Mongolian Observer/The Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia


But it wasn't only the beautifully sewn boots.

In her grave, too, was a fashionable ancient clutch bag that could be a desirable accessory today. 

Archeologists found items from her beauty kit - part of a mirror and a comb - and also a knife.  

She took to the next life a saddle with metal stirrups, found in such perfect condition that it could still be used today.

Adidas mummy Mongolia


Adidas mummy Mongolia


Adidas mummy Mongolia


Adidas mummy Mongolia


Adidas mummy Mongolia
The woman is believed to have been aged between 30 and 40. Pictures: The Mongolian Observer/The Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia


Galbadrakh Enkhbat, director of the Centre of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia, said: 'The felt boots are knee length, the soles are leather, and the toecap has stitched stripes in bright red colours.

'With these stripes, when the find was made public, they were dubbed as similar to Adidas shoes with the three stripes. 

'In this sense, they are an interesting object of study for ethnographers, especially so when the style is very modern.'

Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head


Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head


Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head
The high altitude and resulting cold helped the preservation but the body was also covered in Shilajit, a thick, sticky tar-like substance with the colour ranging from white to dark brown. Pictures: The Mongolian Observer/The Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia


Scientists have also discovered that the mummy suffered a significant head injury - but it is not known if this was the actual cause of the woman's death sometime in the tenth century in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia. 

Nor it is clear if she was attacked or fell, although further research may answer this. 

Initial examinations found that 'it was quite possible that the traces of a blow of the mummy's facial bones were the cause of her death', he said.

She is believed to have been aged between 30 and 40. 

'Judging by what was found inside the burial we guess that she was from an ordinary social strata,' said Galbadrakh Enkhbat. 

This is despite the classy appearance of some of the possessions with which she is buried, which might suggest to the uninformed a higher status.

'Various sewing utensils were found with her. This is only our guess, but we think she could have been a seamstress.'

Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head


Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head


Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head


Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head
'Various sewing utensils were found with her. This is only our guess, but we think she could have been a seamstress.' Pictures: The Mongolian Observer/The Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia


With her in the grave - found at an altitude of 2,803 metres above sea level - archeologists unearthed 51 items including a 'stunningly beautiful embroidered bag', four costumes, vases, a saddle, her sewing kit and the skull head of a ram.

'The bag was made of felt,' he said. 'Inside was the sewing kit and since the embroidery was on both the bag and the shoes, we can be certain that the embroidery was done by locals.

The women is believed to be of Turkik origin, and the burial is one of the most complete ever found. 

Experts now believe on the basis of 18 samples taken from the mummy that it does not date from the 6th century AD, as first surmised, but rather from the 10th century, but DNA and radiocarbon testing is still awaited. 

'It is the first complete Turkik burial at least in Mongolia - and probably in all Central Asia,' said researcher B.Sukhbaatar, of Khovd Museum. 'This is a very rare phenomenon. 

'These finds show us the beliefs and rituals of Turkiks. We can see clearly that the horse was deliberately sacrificed. It was a mare, between four and eight years old.'

He said: 'When the find was first made in 2015, it was relatively intact but in 2016 some portions of the grave had opened up, livestock animals had eaten some part of it, which prompted the joint team to dig the find and take it to the Khovd museum.'

Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head


Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head


Ancient mummy with 1,100 year old Adidas boots died after she was struck on the head
'It is the first complete Turkik burial at least in Mongolia - and probably in all Central Asia,' said researcher B.Sukhbaatar, of Khovd Museum. Pictures: The Mongolian Observer/The Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia


The burial was undertaken as if those responsible intended the remains to be preserved. 

The high altitude and resulting cold helped the preservation but the body was also covered in Shilajit, a thick, sticky tar-like substance with the colour ranging from white to dark brown.

The body - like the horse's remains - was covered in felt. 

'As the grave was buried in a cool environment, fabric and the felt did not undergo a biological reaction,' said Galbadrakh Enkhbat. 'They appeared as if they had been used only yesterday. 

'Had they been buried in the soil, nothing would have remained.'

The mummy is being exhibited in the National Museum of Mongolia. 

With her in the grave - found at an altitude of 2,803 metres above sea level - archeologists unearthed 51 items including a 'stunningly beautiful embroidered bag', four costumes, vases, a saddle, her sewing kit and the skull head of a ram. Pictures: The Mongolian Observer/The Center of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia

Adidas mummy Mongolia

Adidas mummy Mongolia


Adidas mummy Mongolia


Adidas mummy Mongolia

Comments (35)

Time traveler.
Lula Lee, United States
27/06/2018 06:02
0
0
I guess that she would have been buried with items a woman would need in her next life. I am very impressed with the striking similarities between her textile items, and those we have now. It's not as though we could have copied it from the past. She was indeed a very accomplished textile maker, with an eye for flare.
Sharon, Columbus, Ohio
27/05/2018 11:25
0
0

As a continuation of my earlier comments .....

Consider a rather "mysterious" phenomenon in the field of quantum physics. In the everyday common-sense world reality around us, and throughout our physical/material universe, two things are only connectable with each other through, time, space, and within the speed of light.

But in the quantum world, the world of very small sub-atomic dimensions, space, time and speed of light no longer works. In fact here, there is actually no matter at all. Only "POTENTIALITIES". Or mathematical probabilities of what can happen to which wave or which particle. A wave can "become" a particle. And a particle can become a wave. But what is most strange is that there seems to be an instantaneous connectivity between one particle here, and another linked particle elsewhere in physical space, maybe ten trillion miles away.

This is called Quantum Entanglement. Or, simply as Non-Local-Connectivity. Two quantum entities have instantaneous connection with each other without the elements of space, time, and the speed of light as the given basics for their existence.

In this sub-atomic realm of existence, there is no material linkages and connections (through space/time/within speed of light) But as if there is a non-matter phenomenon of "Wholeness' or "Oneness" underlying it all.


Could our earlier suggestion that deep within human creativity (as shown in culture and all anthropological manifestations) is a certain CYCLIC AND RE-EMERGING POTENTIAL that surfaces and connects all sorts of human creativity and artform expressions - irrespective of any time-context and civilisation-context ?
Leo Lim, Malaysia
02/03/2018 23:22
0
0
Alan Gaines ... USA 02/06/2017 ... writes most succinctly. If indeed this observation is true, then there is a certain "hidden cyclic continuity" in human culture that we dont realise, and of course which science has yet to discover. And even archaelogy and anthropology have yet to notice, and document it. (I stand to be corrected here
by archeologists and anthropologists from various sub-disciplines).

More than just a "common aesthetic sense", it could be some form of inexplanable latent "creative potential" that is manifestable through human creativity in any time and cultural context - with absolutely no explianable causative factors from one context to the other (as in this Mongolian case when the design, artistry, material, workmanship, technological ability, and aesthetric depth taking place in a time-&-cultural context WHICH WAS EASILY MORE THAN A MILLINNIUM BEFORE OUR PRESENT TIME! )

Sheer coincidence ?



Leo Lim, Malaysia
02/03/2018 23:15
0
0
I see her saddle has stirrups. Weren't they invented around 1000 AD? As far as her head injury, perhaps she was thrown from her horse. This could be the reason for the accompanying horse sacrifice in her burial. I mean, who wants a horse that always throws the rider? Other than that, this is a rich burial with wonderful artifacts.
BrokenTree UsaUka, USA
14/02/2018 03:46
0
0
She might have accidentally traveled in time. Or else due to the weather conditions analyst lost the correct aging.
If she was traveled through the time, there might be a star-gate near by. Did they found any sightings?
Time travel is a possible scientific matter. So we can't close eyes on that.
In known history 500 year ago, King Ravana (One of the king ruled in Sri Lanka) used time travelling machine to travel around the world and to the other planets.
Also there were several movies we watched about time travels, so there might be something on it.
Kalins, KL
22/11/2017 08:26
0
3
Why Adidas, I don't see it
Romper and Rock it , United States of America
11/11/2017 11:56
2
0
She has done time traveling and stucked in the past.
Madhu perera, srilanaka
20/09/2017 09:15
0
1
This was written for The Siberian Times, you guys. The complaints about the Addidas comparison, faulty excavation and so on are really unwarranted. So they guessed she was a seamstress because there were sewing items in her grave. Big deal. Just enjoy the interesting photos and quit belly aching about minor things.
Gail Bee, St. Louis, USA
09/09/2017 06:27
1
1
The modern (and frankly chauvenistic) take on everything, from calling her bag clutch bag (it's just a bag to carry stuff, pretty and nice and well preserved, but it's a bag), to as CA from Canada states, assuming the woman was a seamstress just because she had a sewing kit...it's lazy reporting, in my opinion. This is a culture so different from ours, that we can't possibly just lazily interpret from 21st Century Western perspective. More facts and less flowery assumptions please.
Don, Scotland
04/08/2017 16:11
3
3
Being found with a sewing kit from over a thousand years ago does not mean she was a seamstress, as in a trade. It was common in that era for all women to sew. People didn't buy pre-made clothing. It was made by hand and repairs were likewise done by hand. In many cultures, even noble women sewed, though many might have done more of the embellishing than the actual making at that status level.
CA, Canada
29/06/2017 02:27
12
1
Very interesting. From the amount of items buried with her, especially her horse, I would say she was either upper class or a very popular person. I would guess she was very popular since the climate and environment she lived in was probably even more harsh than today so a person as handy as her would be well appreciated. I'll bet she was a beauty too....
Erik Bosma, Mission, BC, Canada
09/06/2017 09:59
3
0
It is most unfortunate the grave was evidently left unsecured for a year, 2015-2016, and thus the site damaged. One would think any find of this historical importance would be better managed. Fortunately enough material remained for study, display, and hopefully proper preservation.

It is fascinating to see the aesthetics of 10th century design/style so closely relate to modern design/style. Perhaps humans share, and have shared for millennia, a common aesthetic sense regardless of cultural and /or ethnic background. This would be an interesting concept for study.
Alan Gaines, USA
02/06/2017 00:31
8
0
Do you know when the report on the find will be published? I am especially interested in the textiles.
Susan Farmer, Knoxville, Tennessee
22/05/2017 04:57
8
0
An artist's rendition of what she might have looked like...with outfit and animal...would have been interesting.
Doc, U.S.
06/05/2017 18:01
10
1

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