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24 July 2016
Holding hands for 5,000 years, a couple with jade rings and dagger

The grave of a couple believed to be from the Bronze Age Glazkov culture has been excavated in Siberia.  "In the grave we found male and female skeletons, lying on their backs, heads to the west, hand in hand," says archeologist Dr Dmitry Kichigin.
     The burial is located at a cape on Maloe More, the strait separating the mainland and the Olkhon island, close to Chernorud, some 260 kilometres north-east of Irkutsk. Overlooking the waters of Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake in the world, the site is a sacred burial place since Neolithic times and likely to contain more burials, possibly older than this one. The precise location is secret.
     Bone samples have been sent for radiocarbon analysis, but the Russian team involved in the excavations believe the couple to be 4,500 to 5,000 years old.
     The male skeleton is complete but rodents destroyed the upper part of the female. Near the woman was a large knife made of jade, some 13 centimetres in length and 7 centimetres in width. The man's skeleton had a ring made of rare white jade over one eye socket. Three more rings were on his chest. Pendants of red deer and musk deer teeth were found on the man's skull and around his feet, which likely decorated the hat and footwear.
     "We also found some metal implement in a small leather bag between male's kneecaps," Adds Kichigin. "We can expect a lot of interesting discoveries on this archaeological site, so we plan to continue our work next year." Analysis of this summer's finds will begin in the autumn.

Edited from The Siberian Times (13 July 2016)

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