The Altai Mountains run through Central and East Asia for about twelve hundred miles from the southeast to the northwest, spanning China, Mongolia, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
Much of the land contains burials from thousands of years ago which have been preserved due to the permafrost that covers the area.
Not only does the permafrost preserve the bodies, but personal items buried with the deceased as well. As the Egyptians mummified the corpses and buried personal items and goods that would be used in the afterlife, so did the Scythians, a nomadic tribe that inhabited the area from about the ninth to the second century BC.
Many beautiful objects have been found, but a pair of women’s boots may arguably be the most attractive object found to date. The boots, made of leather and other textiles, are decorated with beads, woolen braid, and sewn-on patches with gold leaf.
2300 years old Scythian woman’s boot preserved in the frozen ground of the Altai Mountains pic.twitter.com/hGbTQWcrew
— Museum Archive (@ArtifactsHub) June 18, 2020
Beaded lotus leaves are spaced around the boots in graceful patterns, and the soles are decorated with more beads and small rectangular pieces of pyrite.
The pyrite shows no sign of wear leading researchers to believe the shoes may have been worn by an extremely important woman for special occasions or they were made for her to wear when she was buried.
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