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'What has enabled Russia to rise among the great powers of the world…has been the conquest of Siberia'

Legal bid fails to rebury remains of 2,500 year old tattooed 'ice princess'

By 0 and 0 and 0
03 February 2016


A mannequin - an exact replica - is displayed in the museum but on 'special occasions' VIPs would be 'provided the opportunities to see the real mummy'. Picture: Autotravel.ru

An appeal will be launched after a court this week rejected a demand by the the leader of the Teles ethnic group in the Altai Mountains to order the reburial of the world famous tattooed remains of 'Princess Ukok', dug from her tomb in 1993 by leading Russian archeologists. 

A court in Gorno-Altaisk rejected his lawsuit, allowing the relic to remain in the care of the National Museum in the city, capital of the Altai Republic.

Akai Kine, leader of the Teles ethnic group and president of the Spiritual Centre of the Turks, Kin Altai, demanded that the 'archeological complex' Ak-Alakha-3, where the mummy was found on the Ukok Plateau, should be recognised as a cultural heritage monument and the remains of the 'ice princess' classified as an integral part of the tomb. The 'integrity' of the burial site should be restored before her 2,500 year old remains should be reburied. 

Akai Kine

Akai Kine vowed to continue his fight to rebury the remains on the Ukok Plateau. Picture: Facebook

'We have the cult of ancestors,' he told the court. 'The dead cannot be disturbed, and especially they cannot be held on public display and carried around the world. After she was dug out, we immediately saw earthquakes, floods, and hail which were not known previously.'

He described her as the White Lady, a priestess guarding 'the umbilical cord of the Earth'. 'She stood as a guard at the gates of the underworld, preventing the penetration of evil from the lower worlds. However, after archaeologists removed the mummy, it has lost its strength and can no longer perform its protective function. So evil started to penetrate, natural disasters and human conflicts began.'

He accused local politicians of going back on election promises given in 2014 to rebury the mummy.

Sergey Kireev

Sergey Kireev insisted: 'The mummy will be safely kept in our museum, without going to public display.' Picture: Gorno-Altaisk Info

His move was opposed by academics involved in research on the remains, and by state bodies. The director of the National Museum Sergey Ochurdyapov said: 'We keep her in the form in which she reached us. Now the technologies are changing, a new equipment appears - and every time the mummy tells us something new.'

A senior fellow at the museum, Sergey Kireev, insisted: 'The mummy will be safely kept in our museum, without going on public display.' 

Earlier, when the remains were returned from Novosibirsk - where they were held for two decades  - there were reports that the ice princess would be put on public display. Later it was said that a mannequin - an exact replica - would be displayed but that on 'special occasions' VIPs would be 'provided the opportunities to see the real mummy'.

The chairman of the Union of National Cultures, Artem Ignatenko, also spoke out against a reburial. 'Now she is in decent place, she's treated respectfully, and her soul has calmed down,' he said. 'It simply does not make sense to do something with her body. People who want to bury her, are engaged in self-PR.'

Ukok mummy mausoleum

Mausoleum for Ukok princess

If the reburial will be approved it is planned to build a moument on the Ukok Plateau. Pictures: Spiritual Centre of the Turks Kin Altai

After the verdict at Gorno-Altaisk city court, Akai Kine said that state power including the interests of academic science and the judiciary had been pitted against him. He vowed to continue his fight to rebury the remains on the Ukok Plateau.

'We will to stop on this, our struggle continues. We will keep the filing the claims and lawsuits, demanding the reburial,' he said. 

After the mummy was removed from the burial site, archaeologists called in Moscow experts who had worked on preserving Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin's body to ensure that there was no further deterioration of the 'ice maiden's' remains.

Elders in the Altai republic had voted to rebury the remains and plans were build for a monument on the Ukok Plataeu. However, scientific research has found new and intriguing details about the ancient woman. 

For example in 2014 it was revealed after an MRI scan that the woman, believed to have been aged around 25 when she died, had suffered from breast cancer, while she is believed to have used cannabis for medical reasons to ease her suffering. 

Altai mummy MRI scan

Ukok mummy MRI scan

Ukok mummy MRI scan

Dr Andrey Letyagin: 'We are dealing with a primary tumour in the right breast and right axial lymph nodes with metastases.' Pictures: The Sberian Times, Andrey Letyagin

Studies of the mummified remains extraordinary advances in our understanding of her rich and ingenious Pazyryk culture. The tattoos on her skin are works of great skill and artistry, while her fashion and beauty secrets - from items found in her burial chamber which even included a 'cosmetics bag' - allow her impressive looks to be recreated more than two millennia after her death. 

It is believed that she was not in fact a royal but that her use of drugs to cope with the symptoms of her illnesses may have given her 'an altered state of mind', leading her kinsmen to the belief that she could communicate with the spirits. Her lavish grave suggests she was someone of singular importance. 

The MRI, conducted in Novosibirsk by eminent academics Andrey Letyagin and Andrey Savelov, showed  that the 'princess' suffered from osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone or bone marrow, from childhood or adolescence. Close to the end of her life, she was afflicted, too, by injuries consistent with a fall from a horse: but the experts also discovered evidence of breast cancer.

Tattoed 2,500 year old Siberian princess 'to be reburied to stop her posthumous anger which causes floods and earthquakes'

Tattoed 2,500 year old Siberian princess 'to be reburied to stop her posthumous anger which causes floods and earthquakes'

Tattoed 2,500 year old Siberian princess 'to be reburied to stop her posthumous anger which causes floods and earthquakes'

Princess Ukok

princess Ukok

Studies of the mummified remains extraordinary advances in our understanding of her rich and ingenious Pazyryk culture. Pictures: Alexander TyryshkinInstitute of Archeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science

'When she was a little over 20 years old, she became ill with another serious disease - breast cancer. It painfully destroyed her' over perhaps five years, said a summary of the medical findings in 'Science First Hand' journal by archeologist Professor Natalia Polosmak, who first found these remarkable human remains in 1993. 

'During the imaging of mammary glands, we paid attention to their asymmetric structure and the varying asymmetry of the MR signal,' stated Dr Letyagin in his analysis. 'We are dealing with a primary tumour in the right breast and right axial lymph nodes with metastases.'

'The three first thoracic vertebrae showed a statistically significant decrease in MR signal and distortion of the contours, which may indicate the metastatic cancer process.' He concluded: 'I am quite sure of the diagnosis - she had cancer. 

'She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact.' 

Comments (12)

There is no holiness anymore. This siberian mummy is holy for the ancient Altai culture. There is so much money spent on nosense ( no sense ) that the money which could be spent for the monument would not be wasted in any way. Russia and especially Stalin Russia has had terribly deep impacts belonging the things happening behind the Ural border at Jekaterinenburg into Siberia. It would make Russia proud one day to embrace the heritage of their Asian tribes. Please let the dead rest in peace. Something what is sacred and holy should be at least brought back to where it once belong.
Konchog Pende, Germany
15/05/2023 06:42
I very well agree with Sergey Kireev keeping the mummy in the museum under a watchful eye - we must understand ecology is fast changing due climatic diversification which is seen harmful for such mummies if left un attended by modern scientific watch.
Zia ul Haque, Pakistan
11/03/2023 19:36
Take her back home to her mountains and her people. They love her. Who is anyone to say she is not a protector of land and people. You did this without permission let her go home. Her people cry and miss her. You have already studied every inch of her. What more can you ask of her? Let her go home to the people who love and honor her still.
Dee Vinson, PA USA
31/07/2016 02:13
Thund3rb1rd, I agree...something seriously amiss that cures still remain elusive despite modern research and technology. we can send people to the planets, devise projects such as CERN and create weapons that destruct in seconds yet no cure for these illnesses...the reason? Illness is profit, big companies gain, good health is loss of profit so why find cures? The cures are there, nature has provided...greedy hands just need to let be!!
Carmen, Ireland
08/02/2016 06:01
Thunder bird, I have to disagree about the advance of medicine, your from the USA, you know better and so do I as I had it. More women are surviving it today, I know because I lost forebears to it. When it is in the young, it is not usually diagnosed until it has done its damage. The same thing happens now, this young women would have had a better chance today. You talk of billions of dollars, but what has made the difference for my family who for 4 generations had fear for all the branches of the families women, we now have a longer survival rate and DNA has identified the cancer gene, so the next generations can be tested without having to wait for it to present it self in symptoms. I would say that all the generations before who suffered, and had experimental treatment, made it possible for cancers in older women to be diagnosed earlier with ever improving technology and an awareness among the young to use self examination to check for lumps. The princess did not have that 2.500 years ago!
Pent, Australia
07/02/2016 11:24
Setting aside the superstitious nonsense over a dead body, what I find incredibly appalling is the fact that we have spent billions upon billions upon billions of dollars trying to cure cancer over the past one hundred years and we don't seem to be one damn bit further along that we were 2,500 years ago. What's up with that? With all of our vaunted technical knowledge, one would think we could at least have accomplished SOMETHING!
thund3rb1rd, USA
07/02/2016 03:20
I have to say....Some Of Our Dead Ancestors; Spirits Rest Their Souls, were place there for a reason. Ain't anybody business any ways on the Who , Why, When and so forth. Ask and you might hear of the Story although sometimes Sharing that Story brings trouble.

The Greatest Flaw mankind wants is to Live Forever and will do anything to have this Power! Sorry! Won't happen and if it Did happen someday. Shooting them in the head will not work either. WWI WWII maybe WW3 All the DEATHS of This WORLD will run amok! This Can Not happen!

So, Face it Mankind No No No! You can not Beat Death! It follows Rules you'll never know and no one will Tell You cause We Don't Know of Them. Just See the other side of the coin so to Speak. Do you want to wake up and Eat Your Children? I thought so!

How Many DOORWAY are you Scientist going to open when your too Stupid to read the signs that say; "DO NOT OPEN"
Diego Castellano, Selden, Kansas USA
06/02/2016 22:50
To discover something so historically and spiritually symbolic is a magnificent find but to tamper with and move the remains of a body connected to such an ancient culture is misguided and arrogant...she was buried there for a reason and should have remained there...I agree with the locals...what have you done!!
Carmen , Ireland
06/02/2016 07:10
Perhaps retain a small amount of DNA for future queries and tests but she has already given you what she can physically. So yes let her be now and lay her to rest.
Lynne edwards, England
06/02/2016 05:18
Seems to me you could get this information from her DNA. Why not rebury her.
Mike Ferguson, Cincinnati Ohio
05/02/2016 23:24
let at least the dead rest in peace!
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
04/02/2016 09:47
They can create a replica for exhibition
Enrique, Spain
04/02/2016 02:31

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