|30 September 2014
3,900 year old bone armour unearthed in Russia
Archeologists are intrigued by the discovery of a complete set of well-preserved bone armour, buried separately from its owner. Analysis is expected to determine its exact age, but Siberian archaeologists say it dates from 3,900 to 3,500 years ago.
No other examples of such battle dress have been found around Omsk, which is just north of Kazakstan, in south central Russia. Nearby archeological finds are from the Krotov culture - a people who lived in The forest steppe area of Western Siberia - but this bone armour more closely resembles that of the Samus-Seyminskaya culture, which originated in the area of the Altai Mountains some 1,000 kilometres to the south east, and migrated to the area.
Boris Konikov, curator of excavations, said: "It is unique first of all because such armour was highly valued. Secondly, it was found in a settlement, and this has never happened before."
Experts say they do not yet know which creature's bones were used in making the armour.
Scientist Yury Gerasimov, a research fellow of the Omsk branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, said: "While there is no indication that the place of discovery of the armour was a place of worship, it is very likely. Armour had great material value. There was no sense to dig it in the ground or hide it for a long time, because the fixings and the bones would be ruined. Such armour needs constant care. Now we need to clean these small fragments of bone plates, make photographs and sketches of their location, and then glue them in a full plate. We hope to reconstruct an exact copy."
Gerasimov is certain that the armour belonged to an elite warrior, and would have given good protection from weapons used at the time - bone and stone arrowheads, bronze knives, spears tipped with bronze, and bronze axes.
The archeological site where the armour was found includes a complex of monuments belonging to different epochs. There are settlements, burial grounds, and manufacturing sites. Burials have been found here from the Early Neolithic period to the Middle Ages.
Edited from The Siberian Times (6 September 2014)
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