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Is this what Siberian men used to shave in 2,000BC?

By The Siberian Times reporter
14 November 2014

Archaeologists intrigued by discovery of Bronze Age razor blade in Novosibirsk region.

'[Razor] is a draft name for the object and we shouldn't understand that it was an instrument they only used for shaving.' Picture: Vyacheslav Molodin, Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

A rudimentary razor blade used by fashion-conscious men 4,000 years ago has been unearthed on the site of an ancient settlement in Siberia. Archaeologists found the Bronze Age bathroom accessory during an expedition to the Vengerovo region of Novosibirsk.

The thin bronze plate had been sharpened on both sides and experts believe it was used to trim beards and cut hair, and may have doubled up as a knife.

What is particularly interesting about the find is that razors were only starting to become popular in the Bronze Age as males put a stamp on their individual identities.

Vyacheslav Molodin, the deputy head of the Siberian Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, said experts were excited by the find in the Vengerovo region, the first such discovery here.

He said: 'The site was long ago classified as belonging to the developed Bronze era but the bronze object was the first found there. It is a thin bronze plate, sharpened on all sides. [Razor] is a draft name for the object and we shouldn't understand that it was an instrument they only used for shaving. More likely it was a more universally-used tool.'

Razors were used by men in many Bronze Age cultures and, generally, they were made of bronze and were oval in shape but had sharp edges. And while the use of an object for shaving dates back to prehistoric times -  shark teeth, clam shells and sharpened flint were also used - they started to become popular in the Bronze Age.

Bronze items

'We found a Scythian burial mound, of which there are only a few in the region. There we found bronze bells and parts of a harness from the early Scythian time.' Picture: Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

One research paper published by the the UK's University of Exeter in 2008 argued that they were a status symbol for many males of the time. It stated: 'Razors and razor knives are the archaeological expression of how men presented themselves to the Bronze Age world.

'In this they assume an importance out of all proportion to their size and number. In the middle and late Bronze Ages and early Iron Age, razors appear both in poorly furnished graves and in rich ones, some of which can be seen as the burials of nobles.'

Meanwhile, other bronze items were discovered during a separate archaeological expedition, to the Krasnozersky district of Novosibirsk region.

Vladimir Sumin, head of the archaeology department of the Novosibirsk Region Cultural Heritage Centre, said: 'We found a Scythian burial mound, of which there are only a few in the region. There we found bronze bells and parts of a harness from the early Scythian time.'

Comments (5)

It looks more like an ulu. Copper would be rough to shave with
Phyllis , Juneau AK USA
05/01/2015 17:07
1
0
Is it not far more likely that the bronze tool is a scraper for dressing animal skins, removing fat, tissue and fur during the tanning process?
Tony Shephard, UK
04/12/2014 01:09
1
0
It looks like a forgery to me. Nice try.
Jabba, Town
17/11/2014 15:50
0
4
With razors like those mentioned, the cavemen were probably happy to die young.
Narbonne, London, England
15/11/2014 10:14
2
3
It must have been quite important to keep shaved, as I can't imagine bronze cutting edge staying sharp very easily.
JED, United States
15/11/2014 03:10
7
0
1

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