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The 3,000-year-old charioteer was discovered in the Askizsky region of Khakassia in Siberia, during work ahead of a railway expansion

An untouched archaeological discovery has been unearthed (literally) in Siberia. Thought to be the skeleton of a charioteer due to a metal object found with the remains, this raises the question about whether horse-drawn chariots had been used in the region.

The remains, thought to be around 3,000 years old, were found together with a piece of bronze hooked metal thought to be used for chariot driving. The hook would allow the driver to be attached to the chariot from the waist, leaving the hands free. The metal object was found around the waist of the skeleton which has remained undisturbed since it was buried in the late Bronze Age.

The charioteer and other graves were discovered near the village of Kamyshta in Siberia. Archaeologists have spent years excavating this area before plans to expand the railway line are carried out. To date, no chariots have been found in the burial area. However, the item is similar to those found with Bronze Age charioteers in Mongolia and China. The grave also contained bronze jewelry and a bronze knife, the age of these items remaining in the time of the Lugav culture.

The team thinks that burials have been taking place in this area across four centuries and that the graves reveal three stages of the late Bronze Age around the 11th century BCE, which encompasses transitions from Karauk to Lugava culture, the Lugava culture in the middle stage, and the final stage showing characteristics of the Banino stage of the Tagar culture, they explained in a translated statement.

While no chariots have been discovered yet in this region, horse-drawn carts were known in the region. The culture of the time built stone burial boxes with extended walls, resembling a wagon or sleigh. The team plans to continue excavations to learn more about funeral practices in this time period.