NSU Archaeologist Reconstructs Nomad Arms and Armour

In the early 2000s, Yuri Filippovich, a member of the Paleo Technologies Laboratory at the Center of New Archeology, conducted scientific and historical reconstructions of Central Asian and Siberian soldiers’ arms and clothing. Historical reconstruction requires not only the re-creation of military equipment, but also the manufacturing technology. It is based on a comprehensive study of historical materials including archaeological finds.


When he was a child, Filippovich entertained himself by reconstructing armour in a home workshop. Today, thanks to his reconstructions, we can not only imagine but see the defensive and offensive weapons of the nomadic peoples in different historical epochs, from the Hun and Hianbei to the Kyrgyz and Dzungar. The focus of Filippovich's scientific research is the defensive armament of ancient and medieval nomads, who played a key role in the military history Eurasia.   Discrepancies arise and mistakes are often made trying to assess the combat experience of these people. The creation of accurate copies of these items makes it possible to understand how the nomad weapon was used in real conditions and answer questions of interest to scientists.


Filippovich talked about the findings in detail,

My scientific work is primarily focused on the reconstruction of Asian medieval soldiers’u defensive weapons. In 2011-2018, our team of NSU archeologists and weapons experts conducted research on the Altai-Sayan region (mainly the Minusinsk Hollow). Many of the Lamellar Armour finds were discovered in this area, this was the most prominent type of armour during the period, and in the region we are interested in. I was amazed not only by the number of whole shells, large parts and the large total number of plates found there, but, most importantly, their incredible diversity. Virtually all types of armour plates known to science from Manchuria and Korea in the east to Hungary and Germany in the west, from Scandinavia and the Tomsk Region in the north to Afghanistan and Syria to the south were found in the Middle Yenisei. The typological and divisional variety of armour elements is incomparable to any other region of Eurasia. We can confidently talk about the existence of a powerful weapons production center in the territory. Scientists discussed this earlier but these findings provide more solid archaeological evidence. 


All this new archeological data must be understood and studied comprehensively. A series of analytical and practical experiments will be conducted to reconstruct the armour in full size, observing the specific metric and material science parameters. Scientists at the newly created Paleo Technologies Laboratory at the NSU “New Archeology” Scientific Educational Center are currently doing this work.

Filippovich also described the broader value of this work,

I have no doubt that in the near future military historians, arms experts and enthusiasts will receive a lot of new data that will significantly change their ideas about military affairs in the Altai-Sayan region and its powerful influence on neighboring territories. It will also influence our understanding of military- political processes that took place in the steppe belt of Eurasia in the Middle Ages.