Altai Princess of Ukok

Altai Princess

Mummy of a woman discovered in 1993 by archaeological expedition headed by Natalia Polosmak in Ak-Alakha-3 Kurgan on Ukok plateau is one of the most significant discoveries of the Russian archaeology of end of XX century. Archaeologists found the deck, where body was buried, filled with ice. This natural refrigerator preserved the mummy perfectly. Researches have shown that burial relate to the period of Altai Pazyryk culture, 5-3 centuries BC. Researchers believe people which inhabited Altai that time genetically close to modern Selkups and the Uighurs. Researches have figured out Altai princess died young in age around 25 years, she belonged to middle class of Pazyryk society.

On the body of a woman well-preserved tattoos were found. In the mound were also found things, utensils, etc. Signs on the princess's body, the burial detail talk about belonging to a priestly strata of high-level inhabited at the time of the Scythian of Central Asia. Residents of the Altai Mountains after the discovery of the mummy began to demand a ban on the excavation and reburial Altai mummy. They claimed that Altai had always known the burial place of the woman "Kadyny princess," and worshiped it as the ancestor of the Altai people. However, these facts have not been confirmed.

After discovering and until 2012 the mummy was kept in the museum of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk Akademgorodok. This fact caused complaint of a particular part of the Altai people. They insist, the princess of Ukok should be returned to Altai. Some believed that it was sufficient to return the mummy to territory of the republic Altai, while others believe that it should be buried in the same place again. The mummy has been kept in the new hall of the National Museum Anokhin (the Altai Republic, Gorno-Altaisk), specially erected for storage of exhibits, in a sarcophagus with equipment for the maintenance and control of special temperature and humidity conditions since September 2012. Special extension was built for the mummy.

Council of Elders of the Altai Republic has decided to bury the mummy at August 19, 2014. This decision was approved by the Head of the Republic. Decision on the burial was due to the fact that people consider the extraction of the mummy is a cause of natural disasters in the Altai Mountains in the past two decades. Particularly, severe flooding and large hail that occurred in Altai at the end of 2014.