29 February 2020

"Smartphone" from a 2,100 year old grave in Tuva

The object pictured above is a jet belt buckle, one of a trove of items recovered from a large cemetery in Tuva.  Another buckle, depicted below, was made of bronze, as evidenced by the color:

Other examples are depicted here:

The people buried are presumed to have been nomads who were part of the multiethnic Xiongnu confederation during the beginning of the Western Han period in the second century BCE.

For further reading and a boatload of interesting photos, see this report by authors from the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences.


  1. that first photo also shows part of a tablet displaying color bars, probably from some streaming video channel?


  2. there is a web version Recent Excavations of Xiongnu Graves on the Left Bank of the Ulug-Khem in Tuva that lets you view the images in greater detail.


  3. several male skeletons hold their left arm up like they're carrying a bag or something over their shoulder. right arm is down alongside the hip. what's that about?

    1. In order to win a really large belt buckle like that, not only do you have to stay on the horse for 8 seconds, but your free had can't touch the horse, hence it is held up high in the air.


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