An ancient “barbarian” woman almost 2,000 years old has been found bedecked in fine jewellery from the Roman Empire
The high-status female in the Caucasus is seen as a wife or other close relative of a prominent warrior or chieftain.
Her remains, found in a tomb in the mountainous Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, have surprised archeologists.
“She had two rings on her fingers manufactured with the use of quite a complex technology,” said archaeologist Anna Kadieva, head of an expedition at Zayukovo-2 burial site.
“Each of them is cast from transparent white glass with golden fibres from the same material, with a dark glass installation in the middle.
“Beyond any doubt, it is Roman-made.
“It is quite expensive for the time, and priceless for the barbarian world because there was no glass production in North Caucasus back then.
“The beads on her shoes were made of glass and carnelian.”
She went to the afterlife wearing a bright violet amethyst medallion.
“This is a high class gem worthy of its gold casing,” said the archaeologist from the State Historical Museum of Russia.
The ancient woman is probably from the Alans warrior people who made incursions into the Caucasus in the first and second centuries AD.
“We came to conclusion that wealthy warriors from North Caucasus presented expensive jewellery to their loved ones.
“The woman most likely was a close relative of the warriors — mother, wife, or sister — because the catacomb is a family burial.”
She was interred alongside a warrior and two other males.
“It is not clear how they died, but given the integrity of the skeletons, the time between their deaths was short,” she said.
“Gold is always a sign of high social status.
“It is possible to say that the woman could be the wife of a renowned warrior or tribal chief.”
Further studies are being made into the finds.