Russian and Polish archaeologists stumbled upon an important hygiene item for infants
A hygienic product that replaces diapers for the babies of Altai nomads was discovered and attempted to be made by archaeologists working in the Maiminsky region of the Altai Republic. In addition, the device confirmed the scientists’ guess about the cultural migration of the ancient Altaians across the territory of Eurasia and their possible relationship with the modern inhabitants of Central Asia.
As the Russian Academy of Sciences reported, a group of scientists from the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography SB RAS, together with their Polish colleagues from the Institute of Archeology of Krakow and Jagiellonian University, discovered an unexpected hygiene item made from animal bones on the territory of an ancient burial complex called Chultukov Log-9. The ancestors of the local ethnic group – The Pazyryk and Kara-Koba cultures used the tubular bones of animals to administer natural human needs to infants. Approximate dating of the find – from 2nd century BC to 5th century AD.
Photo: Institute of Archeology and Ethnography SB RAS
As Andrey Borodovsky, leading researcher at the Institute of Atomic Energy SB RAS, explained, we are talking about the so-called “sumacs”, which played the role of urinary catheter tubes from portable infant cradles. The hygiene product was made from the long bones of rams, sheep and roe deer. There were bags for girls and boys.
Sumaks were previously encountered by archaeologists in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Crimea, but for the Altai Mountains such a find is still quite rare. In addition, Sumacs are not found in ethnographic materials of the region. Archaeologists have suggested that the item of infant hygiene appeared on the territory of modern Altai only at a time when the powerful Huns (or Huns) dominated here, pushing out the ancestors of local peoples to the adjacent territories of Eurasia. But even after the departure of the Huns, the tradition took root, – scientists do not exclude that it can serve as a marker connecting the ancestors of modern Altaians and the inhabitants of Central Asia.
One of the members of the archaeological expedition – Pole Krzysztof Michalczewski decided to make exact copies of sumaks. He conducted an experiment by making an object from a whole leg of a roe deer.