Pyramids and Mummies in the Center of Abakan
In carrying out protective archaeological excavations in Abakan, the capital of Khakassia Republic there have been found burial mounds belonging to Tashtyk culture. This archaeological culture – the successor to the Tagar (Scythian-Siberian) traditions – was distributed in the south of Siberia in the 1st – 5th centuries A.D. In one of the burial mounds there have been discovered mummified remains of a woman with a trepanated skull. (Unlike the Egyptians, who removed the brain of the dead through the nose, Tashtyk people just punched a hole in the skull for this purpose, and then stuffed the skull with herbs or grain.) Next to the mound was located a huge burial crypt dated approximately to the 5th century A.D. – a kind of cemetery that had been used for a long time.
In the “burial crypt” the archaeologists counted 96 graves, that is 96 piles of ashes. “First the Tashtyks dug almost a square (10 by 11 meters) foundation pit, 1,2 m in depth”, says an archaeologist Peter Amzarakov of the Khakass Research Institute of Language, Literature and History, “Inside it a burial chamber was constructed, in which the logs were placed at intervals. On top a log deck was laid. Outside this structure, on the ground surface, using sandstone slabs, they built a pyramidal crypt with a truncated top. It is interesting that for the first time a link solution was found here: earlier this technology had not practically occurred in funeral rites of South Siberia. One can only imagine what awe experienced the relatives of the buried, when the pyramid of red sandstone, standing on the highest point of the valley, was blazing with the ritual bonfire.” The funeral ceremony of the Tashtyks ended with the burning of the crypt itself, that was of sacred and purifying value.