2,000 year old warrior armour made of reindeer antlers found in Siberia
A ceremonial suit, embellished with decorations made from reindeer antlers, was left as a sacrifice to the gods by an ancient 'bear cult polar people', say archaeologists. The discovery is the oldest evidence of armour found in the north of western Siberia, and was located at the rich Ust-Polui site, dating to between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD. Earlier discoveries at the site indicate a bear cult among these ancient people.
|Armour plates made from reindeer antlers in situ [Credit: Andrey Gusev]|
'There are about 30 plates in the collection of Ust-Polui,' he said. 'They differ regarding the degree of preservation, as well as the size, location of mounting holes, and the presence or absence of ornamentation.'
|Armour plates discovered at the site [Credit: Andrey Gusev]|
'The ornamentation on the plates can be individual, that is after the through analysis we could say how many warriors left armour here, judging by the style of decorations.'
|Armour plate discovered at the site [Credit: Andrey Gusev]|
'A likely explanation may be a long tradition of making antler helmets.'
|Selection of armour plates discovered at the site [Credit: Andrey Gusev]|
He believes the armour was deliberately left at Ust-Polui, an ancient sacred place, as a gift or sacrifice to the gods.
|According to Gusev Yamal armour resembled the design used by Kulai peole |
[Credit: Alexander Soloviev]
Made of high quality bronze, this ancient Arctic jewellery features an image of a bear's head and paws. 'The ring is tiny in diameter so even a young girl, let alone a woman, cannot wear it,' he said. 'We concluded that it was used in a ritual connected with a bear cult and was put on the bear claw.'
|A 2,000 year old ring found at the same site is seen as proof of a bear cult among these ancient polar people |
who left no written records [Credit: Andrey Gusev]
'This combination of images on the ring and the fact that it was found in the sanctuary of Ust-Polui led us to believe that there was also practiced a bear cult.'
Source: The Siberian Times [March 20, 2017]