Archaeologists Have Uncovered Some Ridiculous Bone Armor in Siberia

The news: It's not every day you find a suit of armor from 3,900 years ago — much less one constructed out of bone.

According to a new report this week by the Siberian Times, archaeologists in the Russian town of Omsk have discovered impressive bone armor in "perfect condition." Found at a site to be developed into a five-star hotel, the armor is now shedding light on the warrior who owned it and the culture of the surrounding area. The experts do not know what creature's bones were used to make the armor. 

"It is unique first of all because such armor was highly valued. It was more precious than life, because it saved life," excavation curator Boris Konikov told the Siberian Times. "Secondly, it was found in a settlement, and this has never happened before. There were found separate fragments in burials, like on Rostovka burial ground."

There are already theories about the armor. Because the style of the armor is not endemic to the area, archaeologists believe it came from elsewhere — perhaps through a gift or exchange, or more violently, as spoils of war. 

And while the team focuses on the painstaking process of collecting the fragments, putting them back together, and building a reconstruction, the armor's style and general state of burial already provide clues to its history and origin.

"While there is no indication that the place of discovery of the armor was a place of worship, it is very likely. Armor had great material value. There was no sense to dig it in the ground or hide it for a long time — because the fixings and the bones would be ruined," archaeologist Yury Gerasimov said. "Such armor needs constant care. At the moment we can only fantasize — who dug it into the ground and for what purpose. Was it some ritual or sacrifice? We do not know yet."

One thing the archaeologists are sure about: Whoever owned this armor was a certified badass, an "elite warrior who knew special methods of battle" for which the armor would have "given good protection from weapons that were used at the time — bone and stone arrowheads, bronze knives, spears tipped with bronze and bronze axes."

Whoever they were, they certainly were badass enough to have people talk about them 3,900 years later.

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Eileen Shim

Eileen is a writer living in New York. She studied comparative literature and international studies at Yale University, and enjoys writing about the intersection of culture and politics.

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