From the depths of Russia’s “Atlantis,” a well-known archaeological site in southern Siberia that has been submerged for much of the year, archaeologists have retrieved what seems to be an iPhone case encrusted with jewels.
The black rectangle, which is nearly four inches (9 centimeters) wide and about seven inches (18 centimeters) long, is not an electronic accessory; rather, it is a prehistoric belt buckle made of jet, a gemstone created by pressing wood, and decorated with tiny mother-of-pearl, carnelian, and turquoise beads.
In the depths of Siberia, an ancient woman who lived before the birth of Christ was discovered with her iPhone-like item.
The item was found in a woman’s burial, where it had been put on a skeleton’s pelvis, by researchers from the Institute for Material Culture History of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).
According to The Siberian Times, the scientists referred identified the woman as “Natasha” and the object as “Natasha’s iPhone.”
Although the buckle was found years ago, it recently attracted new interest after Pavel Leus, a RAS researcher and one of the dig’s archaeologists, posted a picture of it on Instagram, Leus told Live Science in an email.
The supposed iPhone’s tomb is located in the Tuva region of Siberia, not far from the Mongolian border.
According to a research co-authored by Leus and published in 2018 in the journal Asian Archaeology, there, archaeologists discovered two burial sites — Terezin and Ala-Tey — belonging to the Xiongnu period almost 2,000 years ago.
The item has beautiful precious stone inlays and is the same size as a current iPhone.
According to the Russian Geographical Society, however, there are just a few weeks each year when archaeologists may visit these crucial historical sites (RGS).
The Sayan Sea, an artificial reservoir, covers the burial sites, which are in a flood zone, until when the floodwaters recede, which occurs from the end of May to the beginning of June, according to the RGS.
Western Han mirrors and their pieces, as well as many belt and garment decorations, beads, pendants, and earrings, were found in both burial sites, according to the researchers’ analysis.
Large and tiny jet buckles were recently discovered in three burials. According to the researchers, the “huge” buckle resembled an iPhone and featured holes on the short sides, “with the two round holes on one side for securing the buckle to the belt and one oval hole on the other side, perhaps for clasping.”
The contents of the burial appeared to date from between 92 B.C. and A.D. 71, according to radiocarbon dating.
Jet artifacts from this time period are uncommon, although some have been found in places like the upper Volga area of Russia, the hilly Transbaikalia region to the east of Russia’s Lake Baikal, Mongolia, and Central Asia, according to Leus.
According to him, it’s probable that this adornment was typical of Xiongnu civilization and was transported to the West when this nomadic people moved over the Eurasian steppes.
According to a paper released in 2011 by the University of Bonn in Germany, rectangular bronze buckles, many of them etched with animal motifs, have also been discovered in tombs and villages in Siberia, Mongolia, and Central Asia.
The fake phone is actually a belt buckle with semi-precious stone inlays.
Although bronze and jet belt buckles have occasionally been discovered in female graves in specific locations in this Central Asian area, the researchers noted that “they are frequently found in well-furnished tombs of warriors.”
Tuva’s graves and their contents remain a mystery, but further discoveries are anticipated to be revealed in the future months, according to Leus in the email.