Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Archeological Sensation: Ancient Mummy Found in Mongolia

By Aussiegirl

Fascinating article about the discovery of the mummified remains of an ancient Scythian warrior. The Scythians lived thousands of years ago in the area of present day Ukraine. Could Scythian blood be running through this Uke's veins? Only her geneticist knows for sure, but she has always had a strange, magnetic attraction to gold jewelry. Is this significant, do you think?

Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Scythian art: Scythian art is art, primarily decorative objects, such as jewelry produced by the nomadic tribes in the area ranging from inner Mongolia to European Russia known classically as Scythia. This art is also known as steppes art and was produced in a period from 7th-3rd century BC to the period when the Scythians were gradually displaced by the Sarmatians in a lengthy process lasting from 4th century BC to 2nd century BC. As the Scythians came in contact with the Greeks, their artwork became influenced by Hellenic civilisation but their artwork primarily reflects their nomadic culture. Scythian art especially Scythian gold jewelry is highly valued by museums and many of the most valuable artefacts are in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. In recent years, archaeologists have made valuable finds in Pazyryk, Siberia, Ukraine and as far west as Hungary.

And here's an excerpt from another Wikipedia article on the history of the Scythian people. There appear to have been two main groups of Scythians. The nomadic people of the south who are thought to have spoken an Iranian language, and a northern branch who were agricultural. Herodotus distinguished between the two.

The Scythian tribes mentioned in the Greek sources resided in the steppe between the Dnieper and Don rivers.

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus describes the Kimmerioi or Cimmerians (Gimirru in Assyrian annals) as a distinct autochthonous tribe, expelled by the Scythians, of the northern Black Sea coast (Hist. 4.11-12). Herodotus then goes further to state that "the Hellenes gave them" the name Scythians, and that the Scythians called themselves Scolotoi; and that Scolotoi, in turn, referred in general to several distinct tribes: Auchatai, Catiaroi, Traspians, and finally Paralatai or "Royal Scythians". Throughout his work Herodotus specifically distinguished between the nomadic Scythians in the South and agricultural Scythians to the North.

As of 2006 no consensus exists regarding these different Scythian subdivisions. The Western school of thought generally ignores Herodotus' distinction, and views all Scythians as a single group that spread throughout Greater Scythia, and eventually split into distinct cultures.

The pro-Slavic school of thought, following Boris Rybakov, claims that the nomadic Scythians of Herodotus had Iranian origins, while seeing the northern agricultural Scythians as proto-Slavs, ruled by Scythian chieftains. Rybakov points out the incompatibility in life-styles with boundaries between nomads and farmers and their distinct burial customs remaining constant throughout the centuries of the Scythians' existence. Rybakov also stresses the similarities between the agricultural Scythian culture and the later Slavic culture. The Scythian creation-myth recorded by Herodotus also points to farmers rather than nomads, as it centers around a plough; and while it has no parallels within Iranian folklore, folklorists recorded a virtually unchanged version as a Russian folktale in the 19th century.

Archeological Sensation: Ancient Mummy Found in Mongolia - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

The spectacular find of the frozen remains of a Scythian warrior in Mongolia by an international team of archeologists could shed new light on ancient life. Some of those findings will be the subject of a major exhibition in Berlin next year.

Scientists in Berlin this week gave their first major press conference about the spectacular discovery of a frozen mummy in Mongolia's Altai mountains. The frozen corpse, embedded in permafrost, is considered one of the greatest archeological finds since climbers came across the mummified remains of Ötzi, the ice man, in an alpine glacier. The corpse of the Scythian warrior could help provide clues about how people lived 2,500 years ago and about what illnesses they suffered.


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