I call her “auntie” because …
- she’s a Scythian, buried in a kurgan on the steppes of Asia.
- General consensus is that the steppe-dwelling kurgan builders were the ancestors of the Indo-Europeans. (They later moved west into Europe and east into India.) So I could call her Grandma.
- But, the specific group this burial is thought to be from, lived there from 800 B.C. to 300 A.D. That’s well after the dispersal of the Indo-Europeans to Europe, though some of them were still apparently hanging around in central Asia.
- Hence, “auntie.”
Other things to love about this article …
- She’s an older woman, about 50, buried with a toddler. Could have been Zillah from my books!
- Her crescent pendant shows that archaeologists don’t know squat, and the headlines are even worse. The subheader says “a 50-year-old woman was buried with a unique ‘male’ pendant.” Reading down in the article, we find that “She was buried with this artifact that we had believed to be a sign of male burials,” because similarly shaped pendants had previously been found in men’s burials in kurgans in southern Siberia. So, because we had never found this type of pendant buried with a woman, we assumed it was a male artifact. We should be careful about making extrapolations based on what we haven’t yet found. And then putting them into headlines.
- The Scythians are cool! Many of them were red-haired. When living in Asia, they made very tall hats out of felt (you can find reconstructions on Pinterest). Bill Cooper, in his book After the Flood, shows that the ancient Irish believed themselves to be descended from the Scythians, and that the word Scot comes from the same root (pp. 110 – 111).