Mummy Siberian necropolis
© Institute of the Problems of Northern Development SB RAS
Unearthed on the edge of the Arctic, she is the only woman so far found in an otherwise all-male necropolis, buried in a cocoon of copper and fur.

She has long eyelashes, a full head of hair - and impressive teeth.

This haunting 12th century woman is a member of an unknown hunting and fishing civilization that held sway in the far north of Siberia - with surprising links to Persia.

Accidentally mummified and probably aged around 35, her delicate features are visible, the green tinge on her face being the traces of the pieces of a copper kettle that helped preserve her in her permafrost grave.

She has long eyelashes, a full head of hair - and impressive teeth.

Bronze temple rings were found close to her skull, wrapped inside animal skin - possibly reindeer - and birch bark that cocooned her.

Mummy Siberian necropolis
© Institute of the Problems of Northern Development SB RAS
cocoon mummy copper plates Siberia
© Alexander Gusev
A cocoon with a mummy of an adult was covered with copper plates head to toe.
Like other human remains, the medieval mummy's feet were turned towards nearby Gorny Poluy River, a fact seen as having religious significance.

She was around 155 centimeters tall - 5ft 1 inch.

A baby - almost certainly a girl and too young to have teeth - also unearthed during this summer's dig at Zeleny Yar archaeological site near Salekhard is not believed to be related to the woman, the rest of whose body is not well preserved.

Archaeologist Alexander Gusev, from Russia's Arctic Research Centre, confirmed that the copper-clad mummy was the first find of an adult woman in this ancient burial site.

'There are some badly preserved bones, which do not allow us to determine the gender, but we clearly see from the face that she was a woman,' he said.

'This radically changes our concept about this graveyard.

'Previously we thought that there were only adult men and children, but now we have a woman.

'It's amazing.'
Mummy Artic region Siberia
© Institute of the Problems of Northern Development SB RAS
Mummy Artic region Siberia
© Institute of the Problems of Northern Development SB RAS
Mummy Artic region Siberia
© Institute of the Problems of Northern Development SB RAS
The people to which this woman belonged survived by hunting and fishing on the edge of the Arctic Circle - but among three dozen adult graves previously investigated, all contained male remains, some with their skulls smashed, possibly suggesting this woman was socially important.

There were also graves of children of both genders.

A raft of tests - including DNA - will be carried out by the joint team of Russian and South Korean scientists investigating these archaeological remains.

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