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'Mystery Bronze Age woman' found in Siberia's oldest ever stone coffin

By The Siberian Times reporter
21 August 2012

A 5,000 year old grave with a coffin made out of slabs of granite has been uncovered by archeologists containing precious human remains.

Stone coffin found at the Birch Tree Island archeology site in Novosibirsk region. Picture: Sibkray.ru news agency  

The bad news is that the Bronze Age coffin was raided by thieves, probably in the Middle Ages. Only a few bones have been found but the specialists believe they are from a woman. 

Tests on the remains from an important archeological site in Novosibirsk region could provide valuable insights into early Siberia, they believe. 

The bones are twice as old as the remarkable discovery of tattooed Princess Ukok - highlighted recently by The Siberian Times - in permafrost in Altai region. Her extraordinary story is told in detail here: The World Best Ancient Tattoos

'It is it the only stone coffin we have found on the territory of Western Siberia. Sadly, its been robbed sometime in the Middle Ages,' said Natalya Yermakova, Chief of Novosibirsk State Regional History Museum Scientific department.

'What we have now is 1.5 metre by 1.5 metre box, covered with two big granite plates. We thought at first that it was an oblation altar, but then we found the bones. 

'There were only a wrist and hip bones remaining. We think it likely to be a woman and we are awaiting further analyses. 

'We do not know what ethnic group the women belonged to. 

'It was possible to bury her in such a small coffin, because at that time everyone was buried in a sleeping position, with knees curled up towards the chest.'

There is speculation that the woman must have been an important figure to be given such a well-made coffin. There are also hopes of more discoveries at the site in Kolyvan district of Novosibirsk region.

For thousands of years it was on an important track across Siberia, losing its significance only with the arrival of the Trans-Siberian Railway which cross the Ob River what what would become the site of present day Novosibirsk. 

Ancient Siberians are now recognised as the first to arrive in North America after crossing on a former 'land bridge' linking with modern Alaska. 

Comments (3)

Was it buried above ground or below ground? Obviously st the time of death since the early Koreans are “supposed” to be the ones to bury above ground on stone slabs. I wonder if it is because the ground is frozen? Is she related to the tattoo Siberian queen?
Kay Oss , Manchuria
23/08/2019 06:57
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what a patience. Can imagine myself sitting with these brushes, even for a discovery as fantastic as that.
Jazz, Israel
22/08/2012 16:56
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when you first hear 5 000 years you sort of dont comprehend it....5,000, so what?.. but when you put it in context of other events in the world, like that Princess Ukok with her tattoos, which died 2,500 years after somebody made that coffin... in the middle of Siberia (who were they, what did they look like, how on earth did they get there - and where did they disappear?)
Tasha, Finland
22/08/2012 16:47
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