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Iron Age Grave Of Xiongnu Woman Wearing Huge Black Gemstone Belt Buckle Found In Siberia

An extraordinary 2,137-year-old belt buckle been dug from a grave of a young woman who lived before the birth of Christ.

AT1/29 burial with jet belt buckle

The ancient fashionista, nicknamed Natasha by archaeologists, was found with a black rectangular accessory worn as a belt buckle.

Her grave was discovered during the draining of a vast man-made reservoir in the mountainous Republic of Tuva, Siberia, which stretches across 240 square miles.

The ancient necropolis is described as ‘The Russian Atlantis’ for it is usually submerged under 56ft of water before being drained for a few weeks every year.

Detail of jet buckle with semiprecious stone inlay

Chinese wuzhu coin that adorned the belt of the woman in AT1/29

The find was made in 2016 at the Ala-Tey necropolis in the Sayan Sea

The giant reservoir known as the Ala-Tey necropolis in the so-called Sayan Sea is upstream of the Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam, Russia’s biggest power plant. The region is also a favourite vacation spot for Vladimir Putin.

The mobile lookalike is made of black gemstone jet, a type of lignite, with inlays of semi-precious stones. It measures 7 inches by 3.5 inches and is inlaid with decorations of turquoise, carnelian and mother-of-pearl.

Burial AT1-86 with jet decorated belt

Jet buckle from AT1-86 engraved with mountain goats

Openwork bronze belt buckle horses in combat from grave AT1/42

Openwork bronze belt buckle horses in combat from grave AT1/42

The so-called ‘Sleeping beauty’ in silk clothes found at the site

Archaeologist Dr Pavel Leus said: ‘Natasha’s’ burial with a Hunnu-era (Xiongnu) iPhone remains one of the most interesting at this burial site.’

‘Hers was the only belt decorated with Chinese wuzhu coins which helped us to date it,’ said the academic.

Graves of prehistoric civilisations dating from the Bronze Age to the time of Genghis Khan are located at the reservoir.

Ala-Tay mountain in early June after the run-off

Previous findings include two partly-mummified prehistoric fashionistas buried with the tools of their trade.

One was called ‘Sleeping Beauty’ because she was dressed in silk for the afterlife and was at first believed to be a priestess. However the woman is now thought to have been a leather designer. The second was a weaver laid to rest with her wooden spindle packed inside a sewing bag.

A total of 110 burials appeared on an island in the reservoir at Ala-Tey site.

Leader of the expedition Dr Marina Kilunovskaya from the St Petersburg Institute of Material History Culture described the Ala-Tey site as ‘a scientific sensation’.

Dr Kilunovskaya added: ‘We are incredibly lucky to have found these burials of rich Hun nomads that were not disturbed by [ancient] grave robbers.’

Another Atlantis site called Terezin has at least 32 graves and is closer to the shore.

Scientists admit they are in a race against time to examine the sites and save priceless treasures from damage by water.