Researchers discover 13th century graves with mummies in Siberia
© RIA Novosti. Aleksandr Kryazhev

Researchers discover 13th century graves with mummies in Siberia

Seven ancient graves have been discovered in the Zeleny Yar burial ground in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area, west Siberia, said the TASS news agency, citing Alexander Gusev, a research fellow at the Arctic Research Center who took part in this year's excavations. During the 2000 and 2015 expeditions, researchers have found mummified bodies that dated to the 13th century, in this area.

"Excavations are being conducted on an area of some 110 square meters. We've opened seven graves so far, and researchers are working on the eighth one. The expedition will last until July 10, following which researchers will examine the bodies to determine their gender and the causes of death," Gusev said.

He said one of the graves contained two bodies. "One body had been disturbed long ago, and the other remained intact, possibly because it went unnoticed. The cloth in which the body was wrapped is very well preserved, and we also found a pendant the size of a hand," Gusev said.

The Zeleny Yar is a burial ground dating to the 9th-13th centuries. Researchers have discovered over 30 graves and 12 mummified bodies in the area, most of them men and children. In 2000 they found the mummified body of a warrior.

In July 2015, researchers unearthed a birch bark cocoon, which measured 0.3 meters wide by 1.3 meters long. It contained the mummified remains of a male child aged between six and seven years old.

They are conducting DNA tests for infections and infestations to determine the cause of the child's death, as well as examining the boy's DNA to determine his ethnicity.

The finds have been moved to the Shemanovsky Museum and Exhibition Complex in Salekhard, the capital city of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area.

The Arctic Research Center was established in 2010 and has departments for regional studies, archaeology and ethnology, environmental monitoring, and biomedical technologies.