High in the Altai mountains of Siberia, not far from the border between Russia and Mongolia, researchers have found the mummified body of a young woman covered with tattoos that archeologists say look remarkably modern, ABC news reported.
The woman, probably about 25 years old, was buried some 2,500 years ago and found in 1993. She probably belonged to the Pazyryk tribe, nomads who inhabited the area for centuries. Kept cold in the permafrost, she was, say the scientists, well enough preserved that one can see intricate tattoos of animals and what appear to be deities.
“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,” said Natalia Polosmak, the lead researcher, in an interview with The Siberian Times. “It is a phenomenal level of tattoo art. Incredible.”
The young woman has come to be known as the Ukok princess. She was buried on a remote plateau with six horses, possibly her spiritual escorts to the next world, and two men, possibly warriors. The men had tattoos, as well. Polosmak said there are older examples of tattooing – Oetzi, the famous “iceman” from 3,300 B.C. in the Italian Alps, had some short, parallel lines on his legs and lower back – but there’s been no body decoration as elaborate as what the Ukok princess had.