Evidence of Persian Empire in Siberia?
At the end of the Earth
In at place called, “the end of the earth”, a group of 34 grave sites have been located, possibly believed to be of Persian descent. The actual discovery was made in Zeleniy Yar, 18 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The medieval Necropolis has turned out a treasure trove of findings. It is believed that this was a trading outpost of some importance during this time period.
Of all the graves that have been excavated three were male children who were buried with copper masks and bound with four to five copper hoops each several inches wide. Could these have been possible death masks? Another 5 bodies discovered were clad from the chest down in copper with the best preserved being a male who was red-haired. His body was found in a wooden sarcophagus, next to him was found a iron hatchet, and his head was adorned with a bronze buckle with a bear depicted upon it. Was he someone of importance?
Multiple bowls originating from Persia
One of the most curious findings during the excavation were the finding of multiple bowls that originated from Persia. It is believed that these bowels came from the 10th or 11th centuries A.D. This puts these utensils approximately 3,700 miles away from home. What were they doing here and who are these people? The finding suggest that this remote site wasn’t all that inhospitable a millennium ago, it very well could have been at the crossroads for trade between the east and west.
Other findings include such things like iron combat knifes, silver medallions, bronze bird figurine, jewelry, among other things.
Preservation was Accidental
The archaeologists also believe that the corpses were unintentionally mummified. From The Siberian Times:
Unlike other burial sites in Siberia, for example in the permafrost of the Altai Mountains, or those of the Egyptian pharaohs, the purpose did not seem to be to mummify the remains, hence the claim that their preservation until modern times was an accident.
The soil in this spot is sandy and not permanently frozen.A combination of the use of copper, which prevented oxidation, and a sinking of the temperature in the 14th century, is behind the good condition of the remains today.
Natalia Fyodorova, of the Ural branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: ‘Nowhere in the world are there so many mummified remains found outside the permafrost or the marshes.
‘It is a unique archaeological site. We are pioneers in everything from taking away the object of sandy soil (which has not been done before) and ending with the possibility of further research.’
After a bit of careful research on , I discovered that the Khitan Empire was thriving in Central Asia at this time. Since the borders or limits of their rule were not far from this site could it be that this was a possible outpost? Kara-Khitan was the name used by the Khitans to refer to themselves. The phrase is often translated as the Black Khitans in Turkish, but its original meaning is unclear today. Another curiosity to this is that there are no remaining records of this dynasty, could this help in the identification of these people? Could these findings point to earlier origins, like Persia? Another clue is found in the burial rites of the Kara-Khitan, they buried their dead with funerary masks. Coincidence maybe? Or possibly not!