History

'Siberian Robin Hood' Found Buried With Arrows, Quiver

The man was likely a warrior of Mongolian origin who lived between 1200 and 1300 AD.

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The burial of a medieval archer has been unearthed in the Altai mountains, complete with arrows, quiver and a wooden sarcophagus.

The man, called a "Siberian Robin Hood" by the local press, was likely a warrior of Mongolian origin who lived between 1200 and 1300 AD. The way he was buried suggests he was held in high respect.

According to the Siberian Times, the burial was found by local residents in a cliff near Kokorya, in the remote Altai Republic.

Wedged into a hole, the grave contained "the bones of an adult man, his birch bark quiver, arrow shafts and iron arrow heads, intricate ornaments and utensils made from the roots of trees, as well as the remnants of silk ribbons," the Siberian Times wrote.

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The items are very well preserved due to the Siberian cold. The burial also contained birch bark linings for a saddle, the remains of a leather strap possibly used for attaching the quiver to the belt, and abundance of iron arrowheads and wooden arrow shafts.

"I can't say he was a 'Siberian Robin Hood.' Arrows are ordinary findings for medieval burials in the Altai. Almost all men used bows for hunting and battles," Nikita Konstantinov, head of the Museum of Gorno-Altaisk State University, told Seeker.

"The burial is interesting because of the decorated quiver," he added.

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Made of two layers of birch bark - internal and external - the quiver had separate pockets for different types of arrows.

Although the bottom and other details aren't preserved, the quiver is unique. It features elaborate bone decorations with patterns that were popular in the territory of the Golden Horde, a division of the Mongol Empire which flourished from the mid-13th century to the end of the 14th century.

"There are no such quivers in the Altai, this one is unique," Konstantinov said.

The archaeologists plan to excavate the burial and open the sarcophagus after the winter season, when excavations are allowed again in the region. They hope to then find the archer's bow and his saddle.

Photo: The decorated quiver. Courtesy of Nikita Konstantinov WATCH: What Did Early Humans Really Look Like?