Leading people of Gorniy Altai performed a ritual at the site where the mummy of "Altai princess" was exhumed 19 years ago, as the leader of the center for development of traditional Altai world view "White Faith" Akai Kine informed RIA Novosti.
The mummy of the ancient woman was found by the expedition of Natalia Polosmak, an archeologist from Novosibirsk. She was located in a kurgan dating to the Scythian period on Ukok Plateau in Altai, near the Mongolian border. The find, which is more than 2,500 years old, has been called one of the most important discoveries of recent times in archeology. Scientists removed the mummy to Novosibirsk for research and until recently did not want to return her, despite the pleas and requests not just by the government of the republic, but of the native population as well. They are devoted to their pagan mythology and consider the mummy the guardian spirit of the earth.
In Kine's words, the ritual was performed in connection with the return of the mummy by helicopter from Novosibirsk to Gorno-Altaisk last Thursday.
The leaders of Altai ascended to the Ukok Plateau, a remote, inaccessible place in the south of Gorniy Altai, where at dawn they [performed the ritual according to the beliefs of the Altai. The ritual involved an address to the spirits. "They asked for her to be at peace," - he told us.
Shamans from Tuva and Khakassia also participated in the ritual.
This was the second ritual performed by the leading Altais involving the return of the "Altai princess" to her native country. The first ritual was performed at one of the sacred places of Gorniy Altai several days before the transport, and during the actual transport, the Altais burned ritual fire.
Director of the Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of SO RAN, where the mummy was kept, Irina Salnikova announced the mummy was transported in an armored sarcophagus to protect her form possible damage.
When 19 years ago the mummy was being taken to Novosibirsk, the helicopter carrying the unique find developed engine problems and an emergency landing had to be performed. Now, as the mummy was being returned, representatives of Altai delegation stated that they do not believe in mysticism. The mummy arrived without problems. She was placed in the Anokhin National Museum in Gorno-Altaisk, where a total reconstruction had to be done to house her, costing 750 million rubles.
The authorities of Republic Altai called the mummy's return a "great event", which they awaited and prepared for for a long time.
Because of the conflict with the scientists who earlier refused to return the mummy to Altai, the regional government declare a prohibition of any excavations in the south of Gornyi Altai where the mummy was found. In 2010 the Novosibirsk scientists announced that they were prepared to send the mummy back, because all the scientific work with her was finished.
The scientists stated repeatedly that the mummy was no princess and that she belonged to a population of a different ethnic background not to the Altais. The fact that she is called "Altai Princess" is a product of contemporary myth-forming. However, these announcements had no influence on the wishes of Altais, who have their own mythology, to see the mummy back in "her own country".
The local authorities believe that the mummy as a museum exhibit will be very much in demand by tourists.
The global reconstruction of the national museum of Republic Altai ran to 750 million rubles; the work was financed by OAO "Gazprom". The reconstruction doubled the area of the museum from 8 thousand square meters to 16.5 square meters. The reconstruction project anticipates an addition of an annex to the main museum building, a type of a mausoleum built in the form of a kurgan; when visitors descend into it, they will be able to view the sarcophagus with the mummy of the "Altai Princess". To protect the mummy as a biological object, necessary physical conditions are created here. Special German equipment is used to keep the temperature and humidity stable.
The ceremonial opening of the National museum is planned for 26 September. In honor of the museum opening, a memorial stone will be erected on Chui Tract at the entrance to Republic Altai from Altai Krai, specially brought from the location of the erstwhile burial of the Princess - the Ukok Plateau. The hall where the most valuable exhibit of the museum will be kept will also be named in honor of the Ukok Plateau.