Our guest expert, a true master of history - Angelika Cvetenberg will tell us about the ancient Altai. That is the author's material.
Altai is ancient. Really! Just imagine - mammoths had been still alive while nomads of Altai were trying to domesticate dogs.
What else were they doing 12-15 thousand years ago? Some running and some hunting for the roe deer. Seriously: there were no climate for agriculture, gathering was on the low level - just some plants and cedar nuts. It influenced the people's mode of life. It's not that they had been wandering all the time, but they had no constant housing anyway. Now we would call it a dugout with a log house covered with barlings and bark. It is not possible nowadays to see that. There were no constant houses and there are no remains of temporary ones.
But there are quite a few archaeological sites: burial facilities, stone statues and petroglyths.
Profile of the grave in the first Pazyryk mound
Historians get the information from them: type of farming, mode of life and beliefs. There is so little information left about inhabitants of the northern Altai, because they had been practicing on-ground way of burying. They wrapped a deadman and his or her stuff with birch bark and left them on the wood. It had been lasting up to the 19th century.
In general, there are a lot of archaeological diggings, available to observe. For example, in 1829 a Pazyryk mound as wide as a 16-storey building was found and became world famous.
In the eternal frost, together with house stuff, jewelries and 10 horses - there are remains of a noble. Though it is a controversial issue, the locals are ready to call her their ancestor.
Pazyryk mounds on the background
Ancient Altaians loved to draw. How else could we explain such an amount of rock drawings and stone statues (balbals) representing human's figure - quite realistic. Imagine - there are about 30000 of them in just one Yelangash valley. There is a popular opinion, that inhabitants depicted flying saucers and aliens. So, panspermia devotees, you're welcome!
In Khalbak-Tash you can find the biggest collection of runic texts in Russia. 31 lines! They could be interpreted differently. As an example: 'If those who is sick disappear, those living on the Eternal Earth would be confused.' Sounds meaningful, right?
There is a place in Tuyekta village, where it seems a football match between two teams of stone balbals. There are more than 20 of them.
Interesting that images on the stones depicted was found in the mounds. A good guess: they could be set up in the places of symbolic cremations. Tradition of nomads was to cremate deadmen. Then they turned to ritual interment in the mounds.
Altai is like a chest, full of interesting and sometimes absurd facts.
Since then the humanity hasn't changed a lot. People still try to leave their signs in the history. Some of them make great discoveries; some just draw on the rocks.
We don't know what we should do with such tourists - so-called 'idiographs' - they come to Altai with cans of paint and, just like the ancient people did, leave drawings on the rocks. Sometimes they do it right over the ancient petroglyths.
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Chapter 1. Why Altai and what's its zest?
Chapter 2. Best time of the year to go to Altai
Chapter 3. Best solutions how to get to Altai
Chapter 4. Taking off our rose-colored glasses: antidote against 'all-is-good' ads
Chapter 5. Activity in Altai
Chapter 6. Touristic bases, hotels and campsites of Altai
Chapter 7. Hikes with tents
Chapter 8. The ancient Altai and history
Chapter 9. Important questions got answered
Chapter 10. Prices in Altai
Chapter 11. Altaian tour selection guide
Chapter 12. Goods of Altai
Chapter 13. What do people say after visiting Altai?
Chapter 14. The examples of independent travels in Altai
Chapter 15. Organizing a tour
Chapter 16. Bike tours in Altai