A little over one year ago, archaeologists appeared to find a time traveler. Herdsmen in remote western Mongolia informed scientists about the body of a very old woman. Preliminary images of the woman appeared to show her wearing Adidas shoes. After a year of study, archaeologists have learned some strange facts about the preserved body.
According to experts at the Khovd city museum, the mummy is the body of a 30-40 year old woman. Her cause of death will remain uncertain, but all indications suggest severe head trauma. However, even with this damage to the body, it remains remarkably well preserved. This is due to two factors. The first is that a layer of sticky, brown tar-like liquid, known as Shilajit, covered the body. Second, the body’s burial at an elevation of 9,200 feet in the Altai Mountains preserved her face, hair, and clothing.
Most prominent among her possessions are the Adidas-like boots. Due to the cold and snow of the region, these coverings were extremely well made. After cleaning the felt boots, archaeologists discovered that the fabric contains red and black stripes. Additionally, there are metal buckles at the ankles with intricate patterns on them. Galbadrakh Enkhbat, Director of the Centre of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia, proclaimed her remains the first intact Turkic burial ever discovered in Central Asia. Even though her footwear looks modern, he stressed that this is not a hoax and the body is 1,100 years old.
In addition to the Adidas-looking boots, archaeologists discovered a massive collection of burial items near the woman’s body. There were four changes of clothing. All the fabric included intricate embroidery. Also among the burial items was an extensive sewing kit. This discovery led the archaeologists to suggest the woman had been a seamstress. Her burial goods also included a makeup kit, comb, and mirror.
Although the body had all these female products, burial items also highlight the military necessities of 1,100 years ago. A knife still sharpened to a fine point was among the goods. Equally well preserved were stirrups and a saddle. Archaeologists found a mummified horse next to the woman’s body. However, despite over a millennium buried in the snow, experts say the knife, stirrup, and saddle could all be used today. The pots, pillows, kettle, and bowls included in the grave goods are in fair condition. While the amount of material discovered may lead some to believe this woman a Turkish aristocrat, experts argue that these items were typical of the possessions needed by commoners in medieval Mongolia.