Category Archives: ASIA

The world’s oldest rug was made in Armenia

The world’s oldest rug was made in Armenia

The area covering the Ukok plateau in Siberia is huge. The Altai Mountains and the Ob River are home to the territory of Altai Krai, which is harsh in winter.

The plateau descends into the Pazyryk Valley, which contains ancient kurgans (burial mounds) in the style of the Scythian peoples who inhabited the area in over two thousand years ago.

The area was started digging in the 1920s by archeologists and uncovered a wealth of historically important objects that offered an intriguing insight into the little known ancient Pazyryc nomadic tribes.

Image Of The Pazyryk Rug – The Oldest rug In The World

Mummies, clothes saddles, a big chariot, decorative or devotional figurines as well and cannabis seed with an inhalation tent.  

When the tombs were unearthed, it was found that they had been remarkably preserved in ice since the 5th century BCE.

The mummies that were found were so complete that they still had their tattooed flesh and hair.

Pazyryk Mummy Of The Ukok Princess the “Siberian Ice Maiden”

One of the most remarkable finds was the Pazyryk Carpet.  To our knowledge, it is the oldest piled rug still in existence and is housed at St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum.  

The museum’s website description of this ancient rug is as follows: “Its decoration is rich and varied: the central field is occupied by 24 cross-shaped figures, each of which consists of four stylized lotus buds.  

This composition is framed by a border of griffins, followed by a border of twenty-four fallow deer.

The widest border contains representations of workhorses and men.”  What the website does not mention is the ambiguity of the carpet’s origin.  

The Pazyryk Valley was located between active trade routes spanning the ancient world, with China to the east and Central Asia to the southwest.  

One of the mummies discovered–called the Siberian Ice Maiden–was clothed in a wild silk tunic that likely originated in India.  Some of the figurines were gilded, and gold is not native to the area.

The Pazyryk Carpet most likely came from Central Asia, though it is really a tossup between Persia or Armenia. Perhaps after using a service for Persian rug cleaning Sydney based or similar, they would better be able to work out which nation the rug is originally from! Both nations have traditions of carpet weaving spanning thousands of years, and the horses represented on the ancient carpet are nearly identical to horsemen on a frieze in the ancient Persian city of Persepolis.

The possibility that the rug was produced by the Pazyryks is extremely slim because the sophistication and elegance of the design are indicative of a settled and cosmopolitan civilization, unlike the nomadic Pazyryks.

The Oldest Carpet In The World – The Pazyryk

Based on a study of ancient artistic development, textile expert Ulrich Schurmann has reached the conclusion that the rug is of Armenian origin.  

The Persians also claim it as their own, believing that it’s an artifact from the Achaemenid Empire.

Pazyryk Valley Ancient Kurgans (burial mounds)

For now, the exact origin of the Pazyryk Carpet will remain a mystery, but its significance and beauty is forever eternal.

This rug blog about the oldest rug in the world – the Pazyryk Carpet, was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs in NYC.

17th-century warships linked to Sweden’s historic Vasa found

17th-century warships linked to Sweden’s historic Vasa found

Two wrecks suspected to be warships of the 17th Century were discovered by Swedish maritime archaeologists and at least one is likely the sister ship of the iconic Swedish vessel “Vasa”, which sank on its maiden voyage, the Swedish Museum of Wrecks said Friday.

“I saw the wall 5-6 meters high as I came down as the first divers … then I came up and there was a massive warship,” Jim Hansson, diver, and maritime archeologist told AFP adding, “it was a thrilling feeling.”

Both the wrecks are found outside the city of Vaxholm in the Swedish archipelago, a strait leading into Stockholm.

Pictures released by the Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums show parts of the wrecks found in the waters outside Stockholm archipelago

At least one of the ships is believed to be the sister ship Sweden’s most famous warship the “Vasa,” a 69-meter ship carrying 64 cannons, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628.

Named after one of Sweden’s kings, it was originally meant to serve as a symbol of Sweden’s military might but instead capsized after sailing just over 1,000 meters.

Vasa was salvaged in 1961 and is currently on display at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, one of Sweden’s most popular tourist spots.

Vasa was salvaged in 1961 and sits in an eponymous Stockholm museum.

Three other ships were however ordered from the same shipwright: Applet (the Apple), Kronan (the Crown) and Scepter, and unlike their predecessor, they all served in the Swedish navy and participated in naval battles.

“We think that some of them were sunk in the area,” Patrik Hoglund, another maritime archeologist, and diver at the newly established Museum of Wrecks.

The ships are believed to have been sunk on purpose after they were decommissioned, serving as underwater spike strips for enemy ships.

The divers took wood samples of the ships which will be sent to a laboratory for dating.

“Then we can even see where the timber has been cut down and then we can go back and look in the archives and I think we have good chances to tell exactly which ship this is,” Hansson said.

Despite being centuries old, the wrecks — just like the Vasa — are in fairly good condition, thanks to the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea.

“We don’t have saltwater and some organisms that live in other waters don’t exist in the Baltic so it is very well preserved generally in our waters,” Hoglund said.

As the wrecks are better preserved in the sea, there are currently no plans to salvage them.

Roman made jewelry found on the body of a 2000-year-old barbarian woman from the Caucasus

Roman made jewellery found on the body of a 2000-year-old barbarian woman from the Caucasus

In the fine jewellery of the Roman Empire were the bones of an ancient barbarian woman who was almost 2,000 years old.

Located in the Northern Caucasus it is believed to have been a “high-ranking” within her family – perhaps a prominent warrior’s spouse, sister or mother, or chieftain.

She has found in a tomb of Kabardino-Balkaria’s mountains in Russia.have surprised archaeologists, in part due to the fact the jewellery was of Roman origin.

The ancient woman is probably from the Alans warrior people who made incursions into the Caucasus in the first and second centuries AD. Archaeologists say she was buried alongside a warrior and two other men

The archaeologist Anna Kadieva, head of an expedition at Zyukovo-2 burial site said that she had two rings on her fingers made with the use of very complicated technology.

‘Each of them is cast from the transparent white glass with golden fibres from the same material, with a dark glass installation in the middle.’

Ms Kadieva said the fact the jewellery was Roman-made is ‘beyond any doubt’.

She added: ‘It is quite expensive for the time, and priceless for the barbarian world because there was no glass production in the North Caucasus back then.’

The beads on her shoes were made of glass but also contained carnelian, an orange coloured mineral that is part of the Quartz family.

The woman was also discovered wearing a bright violet amethyst medallion as seen in this picture. The team say this would have been ‘priceless’ for the region as they had no glass blowing technology at the time

She was also discovered wearing a bright violet amethyst medallion.

‘This is a high-class gem worthy of its gold casing,’ said the archaeologist from the State Historical Museum of Russia.

The woman is probably from the Alans warrior people who made incursions into the Caucasus in the first and second centuries AD, the team speculated.

The warrior woman was found buried at the bottom of a deep tomb

‘We came to the conclusion that wealthy warriors from North Caucasus presented expensive jewellery to their loved ones,’ Ms Kadieva said.

‘The woman most likely was a close relative of the warriors – mother, wife, or sister – because the catacomb is a family burial.’

She was interred alongside a warrior and two other males.

‘It is not clear how they died, but given the integrity of the skeletons, the time between their deaths was short,’ she said. 

Further studies are being made into the finds.

Américas – Skeleton mystery solved: One-legged remains of Napoleon’s favorite general identified

Américas – Skeleton mystery solved: One-legged remains of Napoleon’s favorite general identified

DNA tests on a one-legged skeleton found under a dance floor in Russia have officially confirmed the identification of one of Napoleon’s favorite generals

In Smolensk, Russia, a team of French and Russic archeologists discovered the remains of General Charles-Étienne Gudin, one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s most admired military commanders.

The one-legged military man was killed by a cannonball when he was 44 on Aug. 22, 1812, according to LiveScience — and his remains were left buried until now.

Found on July 6 beneath the foundations of a dancefloor, the skeleton was indeed missing a left leg and also showed evidence of injury on the right leg — two essential details that suggest that these remains, in fact, belong to Gudin.

The body of Charles-Étienne Gudin was found on July 6 under the foundation of a dance floor in Smolensk, Russia. Gudin had been buried for more than 200 years.

Records from 1812 note that the man had his leg amputated below the knee after sustaining grievous harm during the Russian invasion. Upon his death, Napoleon ordered Gudin’s name to be inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe while his bust was put in the Palace of Versailles, and a Parisian street was named after him.

Meanwhile, his heart was removed and placed in a chapel in Paris’ Père Lachaise Cemetery as a token of honor.

A depiction of Charles-Étienne Gudin.

“It’s a historic moment not only for me but for our two countries,” said French historian and archaeologists Pierre Malinovsky, who helped find Gudin’s remains.

“Napoleon was one of the last people to see him alive, which is very important, and he’s the first general from the Napoleonic period that we have found.”

Bonaparte and Gudin were childhood friends and attended the Military School in Brienne together. Gudin’s death had a profound impact on his old friend. Napoleon reportedly cried when he heard the news and immediately ordered that the man receive high honors.

In July, the research team eagerly planned on testing the skeleton for DNA to officially lay all doubt about its identification to rest, Reuters reported.

“It’s possible that we’ll have to identify the remains with the aid of a DNA test which could take from several months to a year,” the Russian military-historical society explained. “The general’s descendants are following the news.”

A close-up of the one-legged skeleton now confirmed to belong to General Charles-Étienne Gudin.

According to CNN, Malinovsky has since eradicated any uncertainty. In November 2019, he revealed that he transported part of the skeleton’s femur and several teeth from Moscow to Marseille shortly after the excavation to conduct a detailed analysis.

The overnight trip concluded with a genetic comparison between the remains and that of the deceased general’s mother, brother, and son.

The resourceful scientist had simply packed the bone and teeth in his luggage to do so. The results were satisfactory, to say the least.

“A professor in Marseille carried out extensive testing and the DNA matches 100 percent,” he said. “It was worth the trouble.”

Malinovski said Gudin will likely be buried at Les Invalides. The historic compound of military monuments and museums will see the one-legged general in good company — as it also holds the body of Napoleon, himself.

Ancient 70-Mile-Long Wall Found in Western Iran. But Who Built It?

Ancient 70-Mile-Long Wall Found in Western Iran. But Who Built It?

Everyone knows of the Great Wall of China, the series of fortifications constructed across the northern border of China, designed to protect against numerous nomadic forces, which is supposed to appear from the space (fun fact, it’s not). But have you ever heard of the wall of western Iran?

Not likely because it has recently been found by historical experts and archeologists.

Ancient Wall

The wall is located in the district of Sar Pol-e Zahab, in the west of Iran, and stretches for about 71 miles (or 115 kilometers) as far as the legendary Adrian Wall, constructed in England by the Romans.

This satellite image was taken on July 31, 2019, by the WorldView-2 satellite. The red arrows show a surviving section of the Gawri Wall.

The walls stretch from the Bamu Mountains north to an area close to the village of Zhaw Marg, south, as per the release says.

“With an estimated volume of approximately one million cubic meters [35,314,667 cubic feet] of stone, it would have required significant resources in terms of workforce, materials and time,”

Sajjad Alibaigi, a doctoral student in the department of archaeology at the University of Tehran, wrote.

According to the paper, the wall would have been built somewhere between the 4th century B.C. and 6th century A.D., as evidenced by some ancient pottery that has been found along the wall.

“Remnants of structures, now destroyed, are visible in places along the wall.

These may have been associated turrets [small towers] or buildings,” Alibaigi added, noting the wall itself is built from natural local materials, such as cobbles and boulders, with gypsum mortar surviving in places.

However, while the wall itself has just been recently identified, locals living around the area are aware of its presence, calling it the “Gawri Wall.”

Unfortunately, because it hasn’t been preserved properly, archaeologists aren’t sure how tall or wide it actually is, with the best guess sitting at 13 feet wide and around 10 feet tall. Why it was built, or who built it, is unknown as well.

However, since the Gawri wall isn’t the only ancient wall discovered in Iran, then it’s theorized that it may have been made for defensive purposes since similar structures have been located in the north and eastern parts of the country.

Divers found a perfectly preserved ancient Chinese underwater city

Divers found a perfectly preserved ancient Chinese underwater city

A maze of white temples, memorial arches, paved roads, and houses… hidden 130 feet underwater: this is China’s real-life Atlantis.

Incredible images show an incredible sunken city hidden in the depths of Qiandao Lake in China. Divers discovered a jaw-dropping labyrinth of adorned temples, memorial arches and dragon carvings, deep in the tranquil waters.

The ancient city, which is hidden 130 feet underwater, was once Shi Cheng – the centre of politics and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

But despite it’s beauty, the city was deliberately flooded by the Chinese government in 1959 to make way for a new hydroelectric power station.

The historical metropolis, built over 1,300 years ago, was slowly filled with water until it was completely submerged by the turquoise-blue mass now referred to as Qiandao Lake.

Qiandao Lake, China. The city was submerged when the valley was flooded to build the Xin’anjiang Reservoir and Xin’an River hydroelectric station in 1959.

The city, which is now dubbed “Lion City” because it is tucked between the Five Lion Mountains, then lay forgotten for 53 years in the man-made lake.

The 1,300-year-old city is in near-perfect condition 

But since being rediscovered in almost perfect condition, it has resurfaced as an underwater adventure park for tourists. Depending on where on the lake bottom it is, the city is between 85 and 131 feet underwater.

Qiu Feng, a local official in charge of tourism, introduced the idea of using Shi Cheng as a destination for diving clubs.

The first voyage was one of discovery, and Qui said: “We were lucky. As soon as we dived into the lake, we found the outside wall of the town and even picked up a brick to prove it.”

It was later discovered that the entire town was intact, including wooden beams and stairs. Now the city has attracted interest from archaeologists and a film crew has been on site to record the preservation of the lost ruins.

Visibility can be quite low due to the unusual conditions

April-October is the recommended months to visit, as there is warmer weather at the lake and hopefully warmer water below the thermocline.

The colder air temperatures in Nov-March can make it uncomfortable for divers to do three dives in a day, particularly those diving in wetsuits. Depending on the time of year, the water temperature can range from 7-16c.

The Dives

Although it is breathtaking, it’s important to remember the differences between the conditions encountered here vs. clear ocean water. All divers are required to do an initial 25ft dive in the lagoon, to ensure they are safe to continue.

Visibility at the surface is about 5ft at best, dropping down to a mere 6 inches in some places at the bottom of the lagoon. But this isn’t the only bizarre sunken city which has been uncovered after years of neglect.

Mysterious 1,500-Year-Old Stone Complex Unearthed in Kazakhstan

Mysterious 1,500-Year-Old Stone Complex Unearthed in Kazakhstan

Near the eastern shore of Kazakhstan’s the Caspian Sea was discovered a huge, 1500-year-old stone complex constructed by nomadic tribes.

The site comprises various stone structures scattered over around 120 hectares of land or more than 200 American football fields, archaeologists reported recently in the journal Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia.

The archaeologists Andrei Astafiev from the State Mangisto Historical and Cultural Reserves (MANCH) and Evgeniy Bogdanov, from the Russian Academy of Sciences Siberians Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, wrote in an article on the journal, “when the area was examined in detail, several types of stone structures were identified.” The smallest stone structures are only 13 feet by 13 feet (4 by 4 meters), and the biggest is 112 feet by 79 feet (34 by 24 m).

A stone structure and a carved stone that shows an animal.

The structures have been “built from vertically mounted stone blocks,” the archeologists have written. Some of the stones which look like Stonehenge, have carvings of weapons and creatures etched into them.

One of the most spectacular finds is the remains of a saddle made partly of silver and covered with images of wild boars, deer and “beasts of prey” that maybe lions, Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote in their article. The images were etched in relief, sticking out from the silver background.

“The relief decoration was impressed on the front surface,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote. The two researchers think ancient artisans designed the images out of leather and glued them onto wooden boards. “Finally, silver plates would have been laid over the shapes and fixed in place,” they said.

Stone-complex discovery

In 2010, a man named F. Akhmadulin (as named in the journal article), from a town called Aktau, was using a metal detector in Altÿnkazgan, which is located on the Mangÿshlak Peninsula, near the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea, when he found parts of a silver saddle and other artifacts. Akhmadulin brought the artifacts to Astafiev who works in Aktau.

“Most of the territory consists of sagebrush desert,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote. However, Astafiev found that the desert location where Akhmadulin brought him contained the remains of an undiscovered 120-hectare stone complex. Akhmadulin located the artifacts in one of these stone structures.

“Unfortunately, the socio-economic situation in the region is not one in which it is easy to engage in archaeological research, and it was not until 2014 that the authors of this article were able to excavate certain features within the site,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote.

When excavations got underway in 2014, the archaeologists excavated the stone structure where Akhmadulin had found the saddle. They found more saddle parts, along with other artifacts, including two bronze objects that turned out to be the remains of a whip.

Who owned the saddle?

A great deal of work needs to be done to excavate and study the remains of the stone complex, the archaeologists said. “Certain features of the construction and formal details of the [stone] enclosures at Altÿnkazgan allow us to assume that they had been left there by nomad tribes,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote.

The design and decorations on the silver saddle indicate that it dates to a time when the Roman Empire was collapsing, and a group called the “Huns” were on the move across Asia and Europe, they said.

“The advance of the Huns led various ethnic groups in the Eurasian steppes to move from their previous homelands,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote.

The owner of the saddle was likely a person of considerable wealth and power as the archaeologists found symbols called “tamgas” engraved on the silver saddle above the heads of predators, something that can be “an indication of the privileged status of the saddle’s owner.” These signs may also be a link “to the clan to which the owner of the tamga belonged,” Astafiev and Bogdanov wrote.

The saddle’s silver facing. 
Silver facing from the rear end of a saddle flap found at the site. The image shows a beast attacking another creature while a bird attacks the animal’s nose. More birds are depicted around the edge of the saddle flap.

It’s not exactly clear why the silver saddle was placed in the stone structure, though it may have been created for a ritual purpose or as a burial good, Astafiev and Bogdanov suggested.

They found the remains of one skeleton buried beneath the stone structure; however, the skeleton may date to centuries after the silver saddle was deposited there.  

Research is ongoing, and Bogdanov said the team plans to publish another paper on research into the silver saddle.

Some of the geoglyphs found in northern Kazakhstan.

Bogdanov said the team hopes to make the public aware of the newly found site. “I hope that one day there [will be] a film about the archaeological excavations on the Mangÿshlak, about ancient civilizations and modern inhabitants.

10 tons of copper coins unearthed in 2,000 years old ancient tomb

10 tons of copper coins unearthed in 2,000 years old ancient tomb

Archaeologists have unearthed more than two million copper coins from an ancient complex of tombs in the Xinjian District of China.

The 2,000-year-old money, which bears Chinese symbols, characters, and a square hole in the centre, was found at a dig site in the city of Nanchang.

The value of the coins is said to be around £104,000 ($157,340) and experts believe the main tomb is that of Liu He – the grandson of Emperor Wu, the greatest ruler of Han Dynasty.

Archaeologists have unearthed more than two million copper coins from an ancient complex of tombs in the Xinjian District of China
Archaeologists have unearthed more than two million copper coins from an ancient complex of tombs in the Xinjian District of China

The dynasty ruled between 206 BC and 25 AD.

Experts hope the discovery – which also includes 10,000 other gold, bronze and iron items, chimes, bamboo slips, and tomb figurines – may now shed more light on the life of nobility from ancient times.

The find follows a five-year excavation process on the site which houses eight tombs and a chariot burial site.

It covers (430,550 sq ft (40,000 square metres) with walls that stretch for almost 9,690 ft (900 metres) and experts believe Liu’s wife is buried in one of the tombs, RT reported.   

Xin Lixiang of the China National Museum said the next step is to look within the tomb for items that will give a clearer idea of the occupant. 

‘There may be a royal seal and jade clothes that will suggest the status and identity of the tomb’s occupant,’ he said.  

Chinese people started using coins as currency around 1,200 BC, where instead of trading small farming implements and knives, they would melt them down into small round objects and then turn them back into knives and farm implements when needed.

It meant early coins were known as ‘knife money’ or ‘tool money’, and as people began to rely on them more for commerce they were replaced by copper coins which were of very low value and often had holes in the middle.

The hole meant the coins could be strung together to create larger denominations, with typically around 1,000 coins on a single string being worth one tael of pure silver. 

The 2,000-year-old money, which bears Chinese symbols, characters, and a square hole in the centre, was found at a dig site in the city of Nanchang
The ancient money, which bears Chinese symbols, characters, and a square hole at its centre, was found at a dig site in the Xinjian District in the city of Nanchang, capital of East China’s Jiangxi Province
The hole meant the coins could be strung together to create larger denominations, with typically around 1,000 coins on a single string which was worth one tael of pure silver

At face value, they would be valued at around £104,060 ($157,340), but because of their age and history are believed to be worth far more.

A single coin can, in fact, sell for thousands of pounds, although at the time copper coins had a very low value. The Western Han was regarded as the first unified and powerful empire in Chinese history.

While there are many theories behind the fall of the Western Han Dynasty, recent research suggests human interaction with the environment played a central role in its demise.

A census taken by China in 2 AD suggests the area struck by the massive 14-17 AD flood was very heavily populated, with an average of 122 people per square kilometre, or approximately 9.5 million people living directly in the flood’s path. 

By AD 20-21, the devastated region had become the centre of a rebellion that would end the Western Han Dynasty’s five-century reign of power. 

Along with the tonnes of coins found were also chimes, bamboo slips, and tomb figurines, all of which accompanied deceased nobles of the past when they were buried underground.

The items discovered have promised to help fill in more gaps as historians try to complete the puzzle of ancient Chinese burial customs.