Bizarre 2,000-Year-Old ‘Elongated Skull’ Unearthed in Russia

A farmer has discovered a bizarre 2,000-year-old skeleton and a deformed, elongated head with a set of ‘perfect’ teeth, alongside a treasure trove of ancient jewelry in Russia.

Archaeologists believe that the burial discovered by the farmer was that of a Sarmatian nomadic tribe leader.

The odd discovery was made by a man called Rustam Mudayev who discovered the bizarre skeleton, alongside a hoard of ancient jewelry and weaponry.

He was excavating his land when all of a sudden, his spade made an unusual sound as it struck against what was later revealed to be a bronze pot.

A burial fit for a king. Researchers discovered a plethora of artifacts. Image Credit: Astrakhan_archeology/east2west n.
A burial fit for a king. Researchers discovered a plethora of artifacts. Image Credit: Astrakhan_archeology/east2west n.

A plethora of ancient items

Among the numerous items, researchers recovered silver and gold jewelry, intricate weapons as well as valuables and decorative items.

The burial was discovered close to the Caspian Sea in southern Russia, near his village of Nikolskoye in Astrakhan region.

Upon discovering the items, the farmer headed straight to the Astrakhan History museum where he delivered the items he managed to excavate.

At the museum, scientific researcher Georgy Stukalov too lead on the matter and reveal that: “As soon as the snow melted, we organized an expedition to the village.”

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“After inspecting the burial site, we understood that it to be a royal mound, one of the sites where ancient nomads buried their nobility.”

The chieftain's dagger. Image Credit: Image: Astrakhan_archeology/east2west n.
The chieftain’s dagger. Image Credit: Image: Astrakhan_archeology/east2west n.

Extensive burial site

Experts now argue that based on the artifacts and the location, the burial most likely belonged to a leader of a Sarmatian nomadic tribe that lived in the region until the 5th century AD.

The burial proved to be an extensive one as Stukalov revealed that he and his team have been digging the site for more than 12 days.

“We have found multiple gold jewelry decorated with turquoise and inserts of lapis lazuli and glass.”

Experts say that the most significant discovery is the male skeleton buried inside a wooden coffin. The leader’s head was rested o a pillow and he was covered by a cape decorated with intricate gold plagues.

Archaeologists also discovered a collection of smaller knives, a small mirror, as well as several pots which clearly demonstrate his elite status.

The archaeologists also recovered a gold and turquoise belt buckle as well as a stunning ancient dagger that belonged to the chieftain.

Furthermore, researchers say that they also discovered a small gold horse’s head which was placed between the chieftain’s legs.

A collection of golden items was discovered at the site. Image Credit: Astrakhan_archeology/east2west n.
A collection of golden items was discovered at the site. Image Credit: Astrakhan_archeology/east2west n.

Various skeletons

Researchers have revealed that near the burial of the Sarmatian, there was a burial of a woman, buried with a mirror and a sacrificial offering of an entire lamb, as well as several stone artifacts. The exact meaning of this burial remains unclear.

Researchers also discovered the burial of what is believed to be an elderly man.

His skeleton was broken by an excavator.

The man was buried with the head of his horse. The man’s skull was found to be dressed in a harness that was richly decorated with both silver and bronze.

But the most surprising discovery is perhaps that of a young man with an elongated skull.

The ‘alien-like’ skull is believed to have been artificially molded either by bandaging or ringing of the head, during infancy.

Artificial cranial deformation or modification, head flattening, or head binding was performed in the first years of a child’s life to contort the skull into the desired, elongated shape.

The skeletons at the site are thought to be around 2,000 years old. Image Credit: Astrakhan_archeology/east2west n.
The skeletons at the site are thought to be around 2,000 years old. Image Credit: Astrakhan_archeology/east2west n.

Elongated Skulls

Elongating skulls was popular across numerous cultures around the globe.

In fact, as noted by experts, intentional cranial deformation predates written history; it was practiced commonly in a number of cultures that are widely separated geographically and chronologically, and still occurs today in a few places, including Vanuatu.

The earliest suggested examples were once thought to include the Proto-Neolithic Homo sapiens component (ninth millennium BC) from Shanidar Cave in Iraq, and Neolithic peoples in Southwest Asia.

The earliest written record of cranial deformation—by Hippocrates, of the Macrocephali or Long-heads, who were named for their practice of cranial modification—dates to 400 BC