NSU Archaeologists found an object from the Yenisei Kyrgyz previously unknown to science

During an annual summer field archaeological dig in the southern Krasnoyarsk Territory and Khakassia, employees at the NSU Humanitarian Research Laboratory discovered an artifact previously unknown to science. The find by Novosibirsk archaeologists will help scientists obtain new information about the life of the Yenisei Kyrgyz – the ancestors of modern Khakass.

Field archaeological surveys in the territory of Krasnoyarsk and the Republic of Khakassia were conducted in July and August. Initially, archaeologists planned to explore two monuments. However, when the scientists were working in the Bograd region of Khakassia, they were approached by the staff of the Krasnoyarsk State Heritage Protection Service. The Service received information about unauthorized excavations by «black» archaeologists in the area of Great Telek Idrinsky village. The government authorities asked the Novosibirsk archeologists to change their plans and to focus on a spot that one of the local residents pointed out. 

Based on his message, we examined one of the high ridges on the right bank of the river Tele. At the top were two small excavations and in them, immediately under the turf, were burial grounds that had been recorded and adhered to the ritual of burning the body on its side, – reported the Head of the NSU Laboratory of Humanitarian Studies, Sergey Skobelev.

At the burial site, a total of more than 100 items were found. Among the finds were arrowheads, waist pads and horse chest decorations, and a variety of household items. This made it possible for the scientists to reliably connect the burials to the culture of the Yenisei Kyrgyz and date them to the early Mongolian period (the end of the first - the beginning of the second millennium of the new era).

Skobelov continued:

Archaeologists have previously found similar objects in large quantities except for one, a sewing needle with a very small (less than 1 mm) eyelet. This needle was of the highest quality so its presence testifies to a very high level of blacksmith skill among the Yenisei Kyrgyz. It was extremely difficult to observe the necessary temperature regime, so a miniature product would not «burn» in the furnace and become hard. 

This finding also indicates the existence of sewing production among the Kyrgyz themselves, and not only among the subordinate population. 

We assume that such items fr om iron were dearly valued by the Kyrgyz and important to them. The territory wh ere they lived was quite cold, so you would need to make clothes and without sewing, working with fabric and skin is impossible,  – said the scientist.

Historical sources have noted that by the time of the appearance of the Russian population in this territory in the 17th century, needles were a "scarce" commodity as local masters lost the technology for manufacturing. This current specimen is the only sewing needle found in the monuments of the Yenisei Kyrgyz. Thanks to this, researchers will be able to get information about previously unknown aspects of the life of this Turkic people. The collection of finds in the future will be transferred to one of the museums that have the right to store these precious materials. Archaeologists at Novosibirsk State University hope that next year they will be able to continue their work on the site of this unique find.

The Yenisei Kyrgyz are a Turkic-speaking people who migrated from Mongolia to southern Siberia around the V-VI centuries of the new era. The Kyrgyz lived In the territory of Siberia up to the 18th century. They demonstrated strong resistance to the Russian authorities during the annexation of Southern Siberia to the Russian Empire. The result of the war, which lasted almost a hundred years, was the hijacking of the majority of Kyrgyz in Mongolia by Dzungars (Western Mongols). The Dzungars were interested in eliminating the conflict in Siberia because of their hard-fought war with the Qing Empire. Nevertheless, some Kyrgyz remained in Siberia and became part of the modern Khakass ethnos.