sostengono l'archeologia non essere una Scienza. Se
l'archeologo mantiene una mentalità rigorosa e scientifica,
non c'è quasi limite a ciò che egli può scientificamente
In genere, poi, chi sostiene quella tesi errata è anche uno di
quelli che mescolano all'Archeologia altri fattori che non
dovrebbero mai interessarla: vari interessi personali,
vantaggi economici poco chiari, politica e promozione
Tutte cose che tra l'altro - con la Scienza - hanno molto poco
Una mummia nel permafrost: fa quasi pensare all'Uomo di Similaun.
Era una donna giovane: una 'principessa' di circa 25 anni, probabilmente bellissima. Soffriva di osteomielite dall'adolescenza o addirittura dall'infanzia.
Verso la fine della sua breve vita, probabilmente cadde (da cavallo?): il suo scheletro porta segni compatibili con un trauma del genere (fratture dell'anca destra con edema reattivo circostante, dislocamento dell'anca destra, una sottile frattura temporale). Si suppone che solo il trasferimento di una tribù nomade nei campi invernali potesse convincere una paziente così grave a montare a cavallo e trasferirsi: ecco perché s'ipotizza una caduta da cavallo.
Tre cavalli sono stati sepolti con lei (per una sepoltura normale, uno sarebbe stato più che sufficiente): questo rende ragione della particolare stima e considerazione che la popolazione aveva per lei. Dal contenuto dello stomaco dei tre cavalli si è potuto stabilire che la donna fu sepolta in Giugno (anche se probabilmente morì a gennaio, o marzo).
Era tatuata, sulle mani e su una spalla con una vera e propria opera d'arte (una specie di ariete fantastico, ritratto in un a sorta di 'flying gallop', che un tempo fu tipico degli Hyksos).
Faceva uso di Cannàbis, probabilmente per un forte e persistente dolore cronico: nella sua tomba è stato trovato un contenitore per la canapa indiana. E probabilmente proprio lo stato mentale - quasi sempre alterato - della giovane, fece sì che si avesse per lei la stessa considerazione che si avrebbe per una veggente in contato con entità superiori. Infatti non fu abbandonata e lasciata morire, non se ne affrettò la morte.
Fu seppellita da sola, in un tumulo personale e non con il resto dei familiari: questo è considerato indice di sacralità speciale, che la paragona ad una nobile di famiglia reale, e di nubilato. I suoi gioielli non erano della migliore qualità (si tratta di legno ricoperto di foglia d'oro), ma stranamente, era presente un raro specchio di fattura cinese con cornice di legno ed erano presenti semi di coriandolo, in genere destinati al solo uso delle sepolture reali. La sua mummificazione è stata accuratissima, certamente allo stesso livello di quelle reali.
E' stata uccisa, infine: e non da un uomo.
Si ipotizza che l'omicida sia stato implacabile ed abbia agito nel corso di circa cinque anni, lasciando segni ancora ben riconoscibili dall'Anatomia Patologica (la 'medicina forense'dei filmetti americani) - dopo 2500 anni - con i nostri mezzi d'indagine.
Una MRI (risonanza magnetica) ha permesso d'individuarlo senza dubbi: è un cancro mammario al IV stadio, con metastasi ascellari linfonodali ed ossee vertebrali. Era ormai magrissima, defedata e semiparalizzata: probabilmente sempre sotto effetto dei farmaci, che le davano quelle visioni e quell'aspetto 'di chi parla con un altro mondo'.
La bella profetessa/veggente degli Altai - della Cultura Pazyruc - è stata uccisa da un cancro primitivo della mammella destra, metastatizzato ai linfonodi ed a tre vertebre toraciche.
Gli anziani del posto credono tutt'oggi nei suoi poteri e domandano a gran voce che la principessa sia nuovamente deposta nel suo tumulo, a guardia di tutte le sventure che - come già è successo con inondazioni ed altri disastri - altrimenti si scateneranno sulla regione.
2,500 year old Siberian princess died from
reveals MRI scan
Studies of the mummified Ukok 'princess' - named after the permafrost plateau in the Altai Mountains where her remains were found - have already brought extraordinary advances in our understanding of the rich and ingenious Pazyryk culture.
The tattoos on her skin are works of great skill and artistry, while her fashion and beauty secrets - from items found in her burial chamber which even included a 'cosmetics bag' - allow her impressive looks to be recreated more than two millennia after her death.
Now Siberian scientists have discerned more about the likely circumstances of her demise, but also of her life, use of cannabis, and why she was regarded as a woman of singular importance to her mountain people.
Her use of drugs to cope with the symptoms of her illnesses evidently gave her 'an altered state of mind', leading her kinsmen to the belief that she could communicate with the spirits, the experts believe.
The MRI, conducted in Novosibirsk by eminent academics Andrey Letyagin and Andrey Savelov, showed that the 'princess' suffered from osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone or bone marrow, from childhood or adolescence.
Close to the end of her life, she was afflicted, too, by injuries consistent with a fall from a horse: but the experts also discovered something far more significant.
MRI scanning of 'Princess Ukok' mummy [Credit: 'Science First Hand'/Andrey Letyagin]
'When she was a little over 20 years old, she became ill with another serious disease - breast cancer.
It painfully destroyed her' over perhaps five years, said a summary of the medical findings in 'Science First Hand' journal by archeologist Professor Natalia Polosmak, who first found these remarkable human remains in 1993.
'During the imaging of mammary glands, we paid attention to their asymmetric structure and the varying asymmetry of the MR signal,' stated Dr Letyagin in his analysis.
'We are dealing with a primary tumour in the right breast and right axillary lymph nodes with metastases.'
'The three first thoracic vertebrae showed a statistically significant decrease in MR signal and distortion of the contours, which may indicate the metastatic cancer process.'
He concluded: 'I am quite sure of the diagnosis - she had cancer.
She was extremely emaciated.
Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state.
Only cancer could have such an impact.
'Was it the direct cause of the death? Hard to say.
We see the traces of traumas she got not so long before her death, serious traumas - dislocations of joints, fractures of the skull.
These injuries look like she got them falling from a height.'
But he stressed: 'Only cancer could have such an impact.
It is clearly seen in the tumour in her right breast, visible is the metastatic lesion of the lymph node and spine...She had cancer and it was killing her.'
While breast cancer has been known to mankind since the times of the Ancient Egyptians, a thousand years before it was recorded by Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, this is a unique case of the detection of the disease using latest technology in a woman mummified by ice.
Dr Letyagin is from the Institute of Physiology and Fundamental Medicine, and Dr Savelov, an associate in the laboratory of magnetic resonance tomography at the International Tomography Centre, both of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Medical Science, both in Novosibirsk.
From their work and other data, for example the last food found in the stomachs of horses buried alongside the ancient woman, Dr Polosmak has formulated an intriguing account of her final months hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.
'When she arrived in winter camp on Ukok in October, she had the fourth stage of breast cancer,' she wrote. 'She had severe pain and the strongest intoxication, which caused the loss of physical strength.
Dr Andrey Letyagin; scans show right breast tumor and metastatic lymph nodes in the right axilla and metastases in the spine, surrounded by edematous paravertebral fiber (bottom)
[Credit: The Siberian Times/Andrey Letyagin]
'In such a condition, she could fall from her horse and suffer serious injuries. She obviously fell on her right side, hit the right temple, right shoulder and right hip.
Her right hand was not hurt, because it was pressed to the body, probably by this time the hand was already inactive.
Though she was alive after her fall, because edemas are seen, which developed due to injuries.
'Anthropologists believe that only her migration to the winter camp could make this seriously sick and feeble woman mount a horse.
More interesting is that her kinsmen did not leave her to die, nor kill her, but took her to the winter camp.'
In other words, this confirmed her importance, yet though she is often called a 'princess', the truth maybe she was was - in fact - a female shaman. 'It looks like that after arriving to the Ukok Plataue she never left her bed,' she said.
'The pathologist believes that her body was stored before the funerals for not more than six months, more likely it was two-to-three months.
'She was buried in the middle of June - according the last feed that was found in the stomachs of horses buried alongside her.
The scientists think that she died in January or even March, so she was alive after her fell for about three to five months, and all this time she lay in bed.'
Scans of the dislocated right hip, with bright red color marking edematous tissue in right inguinal area
[Credit: Alexander Tyryshkin, Dr Andrey Letyagin]
Dr Polosmak says we should pay 'special attention' to 'the fact that likely she used some analgesics, with all the ensuing consequences.
'In ancient cultures, from which there is a written testimony, such analgesics were used wine, hashish, opium, henbane, an extract of mandrake, aconite and Indian hemp. The Pazyryks knew hemp and its features.'
It is known that in her burial chamber was a container of cannabis.
'Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity,' said the scientist. 'And she was often in altered state of mind.
We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society.
She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath.'
Evidently, shamans could often assume their powers after a significant illness: a woman might be physically weakened but able to develop her powers of concentration and meditation.
This would explain the care her people took to care for her and not leave her to die, or hasten death.
It also helps to understand the way her burial was conducted in a style similar - but different - to royalty.
She was buried not in a line of family tombs but in a separate lonely mound, located in a visible open place. This may show that the Ukok woman did not belonged to an exact kin or family, but was related to all Pazyryks, who lived on this lofty outpost, some 2,500 metres above sea level.
This is an indication of her celibacy and special status.
Besides, three horses were buried with her.
In a common burial, one would be sufficient.
Dr Polosmak has described how the jewellery in her grave was wooden, and covered with gold, so not of the highest quality of the period.
Yet there was a strange and unique mirror of Chinese origin in a wooden frame.
There were also coriander seeds, previously found only in so-called 'royal mounds'.
Her mummification was carried out with enormous care in a comparable manner to royals.
Significantly, in the Altai Mountains, her supernatural powers are seen as continuing to this day.
Elders here voted in August to reinter the mummy of the ice maiden 'to stop her anger which causes floods and earthquakes'.
Known to locals as Oochy-Bala, the claim that her presence in the burial chamber was 'to bar the entrance to the kingdom of the dead'. By removing this mummy, the elders contend that 'the entrance remains open'.
They are demanding that she is removed from a specially-built museum in the city of Gorno-Altaisk, capital of the Altai Republic, and instead reburied high on the Ukok plateau.
'Today, we honour the sacred beliefs of our ancestors like three millennia ago,' said one elder. 'We have been burying people according to Scythian traditions. We want respect for our traditions'.
Author: Anna Liesowska | Source: The Siberian Times [October 14, 2014]
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