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'Lavrentiev Prospect, Akademgorodok was in the Guinness Book of Records as the 'world's most scientific street''

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

By The Siberian Times reporter
01 December 2015

New DNA findings alter the sex of one of most famous recent Siberian archeological finds of human remains.

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. Picture: Marcel Nyffenegger, Natalia Polosmak

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.

Restored face


Grave adornments and face reconstruction

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. 

Is this the face of an ancient Amazon female warrior?


Is this the face of an ancient Amazon female warrior?


Is this the face of an ancient Amazon female warrior?


Is this the face of an ancient Amazon female warrior?


Is this the face of an ancient Amazon female warrior?

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 1 Mound 1 was not father and son but perhaps uncle and nephew. The cause of death of the pig-tailed ancient youth was not established. 

Is this the face of an ancient Amazon female warrior?


Is this the face of an ancient Amazon female warrior?


Is this the face of an ancient Amazon female warrior?


Is this the face of an ancient Amazon female warrior?

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. 

Please see our previous article about this remarkable burial.

Comments (22)

I always suspected that the males of "Amazons" types races .. were really always in those tribes but were just beautiful finer / and un-hairy men.


you know like those pretty guys in the Lord of the rings trilogy like in elfindale like how Orlando Bloom made up and many Native Americans have always being caucasian and asian crosses and make for some very pretty/ handsome fine and hairless men. also LIke Wodaabe but these are the black versions of fine male tri racials. . having lots of R male lineages and small amounts of caucasian and african male lines tribally.


so this find backs up that theory that not all hairless warriors were females. ;[
nanna, USA
02/12/2015 09:00
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PELVIC SKELETAL EXAMINATION WOULD SURELY SOLVE THIS DEBATE.
MICHAEL CASTOR, MESA ,AZ
02/12/2015 07:50
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1
Something smelling a little bit like a rat here... scientists in this age are too advanced to make gender errors. The story of the tattooed female ice mummy and warrior princess discovery seem strangely similar, they are possibly from the same clan but I doubt any are male...shall we not go with gut instinct here?
Carmen, Ireland
02/12/2015 06:50
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Dear Clementine and Judith, the tattoo on the reconstruction is really confusing. I can confess that initially I also thought that it is the reconstruction of so called 'Ukok Princess', though I saw the reconstruction of her face made by Tatiana Baluyeva and it looks very different. When we began to study this story more throughly, we found the explanation from Marcel Nyffenegger. He wrote that he put the tattoo, because the researches show that Pazyryk warriors often adorned themselves with tattoos. So it was kind of free interpretation of the Amazon's image. Hope it will help to clear the story )
Anna Liesowska,
01/12/2015 22:21
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The confusion between the 25-28 year-old tattooed 'Princess Ukok', discovered buried with six sacrificed horses in the Altai region of Siberia, and the "16 or 17 year-old girl who was buried beside a much older man, more sacrificed horses, and two piles of weapons, in an adjacent tomb" seems total. The Siberian Times already got it wrong once, I'm afraid: http://judithweingarten.blogspot.it/2015/02/amazons-correction-part-ii.html
Judith Weingarten, Belforte, Italy
01/12/2015 20:56
7
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" 'unique' because of the way the female skeleton was dressed in male clothing and buried with weapons."

So a male was dressed as a male, buried as a male. Maybe the scientists project too much of current gender roles to the past.

Isn't it entirely possible he was always unquestionably a man, but scientists wrongly assumed he was a woman because they operate under current concept of gender?

Why do you refer to him as 'she' when that is based on an error and wrong assumptions?
Netane, Prague
01/12/2015 20:16
43
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Are you sure that this face reconstitution corresponds to this discovery?



This women reconstitution corresponds to a mummy found with her skin and tattoos (and you could easily recognize the tattoos):

http://siberiantimes.com/culture/others/features/siberian-princess-reveals-her-2500-year-old-tattoos/



For the discovery you talk about in the present article, only the skeleton of the "girl/boy" was found. So why to reconstitute him/her with the tattoos of another discovery?



(Sorry if I make an error...but I prefer to ask)







Clementine, France
01/12/2015 19:31
5
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