– Two locals have discovered an ancient burial in the village of Kokorya in the remote Altai Republic.
Similar to the legendary outlaw Robin Hood in England, the wooden sarcophagus contains the remains of a warrior with a talent for archery who lived around the 13th to 15th centuries.
It is a quite unusual discovery as the medieval archer was buried with his elaborate quiver and arrows in a special tomb wedged into a hole in a cliff and some of the arrows with iron heads have survived.
The village of Kokorya is located very close to the Mongolian border. Archaeologists have not yetexamined the ancient artifacts and human remains, but it is believed the man was part of Mongolian force that conquered and held southern Siberia in medieval times.
Vasily Oinoshev, director of the Agency for Cultural and Historical Heritage of the Altai Republic, said: “The quiver is a very interesting one.
It has separate ‘pockets’ for different types of arrows. This quiver is a great find, it is very well preserved.”
Dr Nikita Konstantinov, Head of the Museum of Gorno-Altaisk State University, said they hope to find the archer’s bow, his saddle and other treasures in his “coffin” which has remained preserved due to the Siberian cold.
“At the moment we have a birch bark quiver, two bone plates with elaborated ornaments, iron arrowheads, wooden arrow shafts, birch bark linings for a saddle, the remains of ribbons, likely silk, and what is left of a leather strap.
Initially we thought that the bone plates were details of the bow, but they turned to be the decorations of the quiver.’
The warrior is suspected to be of Mongolian origin – ‘there are no similar quivers found in our region, this is unique for Altai.’ It was wrapped in silk ribbons when he was buried.
The leather strap was used for attaching the quiver to the belt, we believe. Judging by the shape of the arrow heads, I would say that the owner was a warrior.’ But they could also be used for hunting, Dr. Konstantinov said.
In order to learn more about the Siberian “Robin Hood”, scientists must gain special permission to open and examine the sarcophagus and this will not happen until next summer. Excavations in this area are only allowed in the period from 1 April 1 to 1 November.
Present knowledge about the contents of the grave comes from the two local residents who opened the burial and looked inside.