2,500 hundred year old tattoos look as good as new
Buried deep in the Altia mountains of Siberia, Russian scientist Natalia Polosmak made a startling discovery. Buried in the permafrost were the remains of a young woman frozen in time 2,500 years ago. Her mummified body adorned with intricate tattoos, that the cold kept well preserved.
Six saddled horses, and two warriors to were buried nearby to accompany her to the afterlife. Scientists have named the female mummy Ukok princess. Research indicates that she belonged to the Pazyryk tribe, a group of nomads that lived in the area for centuries. They believe that she died at around the age of 25.
“Compared to all tattoos found by archeologists around the world, those on the mummies of the Pazyryk people are the most complicated and the most beautiful,” Dr. Natalia Polosmak, the lead researcher, told The Siberian Times. “More ancient tattoos have been found, like the Ice Man found in the Alps – but he only had lines, not the perfect and highly artistic images one can see on the bodies of the Pazyryks. It is a phenomenal level of tattoo art. Incredible.”
A specially designed glass mausoleum will house the mummy, at the Republican National Museum in Gorno-Altaisk.
Polosmak explained the significance of the mummy’s complex tattoos.
“Tattoos were used as a mean of personal identification – like a passport now, if you like,” she told The Siberian Times. “The Pazyryks also believed the tattoos would be helpful in another life, making it easy for the people of the same family and culture to find each other after death.”
Adding, “It was a language of animal imagery, used to express some thoughts and to define one’s position both in society, and in the world. The more tattoos were on the body, the longer it meant the person lived, and the higher was his position.”
“Princess” is believed to have been someone revered, with special knowledge, like an esteemed folktale narrator or a healer. She was buried with six horses to escort her into the afterlife.