Ukok Plateau

The ancestral home of the population of the Americas, the site of the discovery of the Princess of Altai, the most archaic petroglyphs in the Altai Mountains and the unique beauty of nature - all this is Ukok.
Once upon a time 15 thousand years ago there was a very successful man. The scientists don't know if he was especially strong and fit, or he was very intelligent and sneaky, or both. But the scientists clearly know that his sons inherited his extraordinary features. Then there was a boom of his descendants who spread over both Americas. That is how some nations are different in culture, language and look, but same in genes, like Chilean Mapuche, Guatemalan Maya and Alaskan Tlingits. The science that studies such cases is called paleogenetics – it compares biological materials from archaeological diggings with the materials of the modern people and learns how the people populated the earth. That story leads us to the uniqueness of the place in the end of Chuysky highway – Ukok plateau. Its name comes from Mongolian 'ukheg' – meaning a treasure chest. And the chest is full of mysteries.


Petr Dikarev


Dmitry Molchanov

Publication date:

September 5, 2020
For instance, here, in the shrine of Bronze Age, archaeologists found two relatives of the successful man and grandparent of many nations. Their ancestors lived here since paleo. Some of them went north-west, some in the direction to the Bering strait while it was not a channel 20 thousand years ago. How many immigrants were there? New jersey Ruthger university investigations showed that the indigenous of both Americas came from 70 individs. But the genetical relatives of plateau people can be found among many in Asia and Europe. For example 5 Сhechen teipes (fraternity) that are parts of Nokhmachkhoy tukhum have genetical relativity to south Siberia indigenous people.
First information about Ukok in Russian was published in 1864 and are dated Сhuguchak agreement days – an agreement of the Russian Chinese border. But in the beginning of the 20 century the plateau was a blank space on the map. Even on a map that was published in Russian Geographical community imperial news in 1900, there was a blank space where the Tavan-Bordo-Ula crest ism though it is a part of dividing basin of stagnant basin of central asia and rivers flowing to the arctic ocean. Long time the area was a sacred place for Mongolians and Buddhists and it still is. And the land is sacred for Altaians.

In 1993 archaeologists from Novosibirsk started digging the mound in Bertek canyon. That time it was half-ruined monument that was robbed centuries ago. It was also robbed in the 20 century – in the end of the 60s the relations with China were tense so several fortified areas were constructed. The materials to build it were taken from the mound.

The first layer was hiding shrines of the Iron Age, but beneath it the scientists found something older. Same as with Pazyryk mounds robbed earlier, the moist inside was frozen and helped to preserve the shrine. The burial chamber was opened in stages, during several days, melting the ice down and keeping safety. It was worth it – the scientists found remains of six horses with saddles and harness, household goods and an iced larch coffin nailed with bronze nails. There was a mummy inside. She was wearing a fur coat, white silk shirt, maroon woolen skirt and woolen socks, laying on the side with legs bent to her chest. Her hands were covered in tattoos and a complicated hairdo was almost 1 meter high.

The studies showed that the woman died in 450 year BC. She was no older than 25 and died because of breast cancer. The genetic investigation showed that she was from Ural people – just like many mummies of Pazyryk culture. It proved the theory that the ancient Scythians of Siberian south had more than Indoeuropean blood. But don't forget Ural people are not those who live in Ural mountains – they are Ural family, the nations like Selkups, Hungarians, Estonians, Kets, Mansi, Maris, Udmurs, Komis and Finnish people. All together Pazyryk culture people had three anthropologic types: European with a long and wide face, and two Mongolian types – with short and long faces.

The furniture in the shrine tells us about royal blood in Ukok mummy. But often called a princess, she was not actually one. In Pazyryk you might find people of much higher society. Due to circumstances and the trend of everything mysterious and spiritual in the 90s, the mummy of Ukok was made a modern myth and now many barely scientific information can be found connected to her. For example, some people claim, that the discovery of the mummy caused the earthquake. Or someone called her 'Ak Kadyn' meaning 'white mistress'. She couldn't have a turk name, in fact, and neither was she an ancestor of Altai people; first of all, because a hundred years after her death Pazyryks were pushed away by future Huns and then the Scythian chapter of Altai history was over.

The mummy is kept in the new hall of the National museum in Gorno-altaysk where a special mummy case has necessary temperature and humidity. All together Ukok has 150 archaeological monuments of different periods in history like Bertek petroglyphs in Kyzyl-Tas mount where you can find more than 120 characters. Some travelers imagine geoglyphs on the plateau – giant patterns that can be seen from the high only, like the ones in Naska in Peru. But the scientists don't really open up about many discoveries and logical conclusions.
Высота Укока 2200 – 2500 метров над уровнем моря, он простирается в Кош-Агачском районе республики за южным подножьем Южно-Чуйского хребта на стыке границ России, Казахстана, Китая и Монголии и образует две обширные котловины – Тарахтинскую и Бертекскую. Все реки здесь имеют ледниковое и снеговое происхождение, и большинство из них относится к бассейну реки Аргут. Днища впадин, заболоченные поймы и ровные участки между холмами усеяны множеством различного размера озёр – их тут почти 800. Самые крупные в западной части – Красное, Белое, Гусиное, Кальджин-Коль, Кальджин-Коль-Бас, Укок, Музды-Булак. Глубина некоторых превышает 30 метров.

Климат здесь континентальный, лето короткое, прохладное и дождливое. Оно отличается большой суточной амплитудой температуры и внезапными заморозками. Оптимальный период посещения с конца июля по конец августа.

Единственный населённый пункт на северо-западном краю Укока — посёлок Беляши или Джазатор в лиственнично-кедровой тайге на берегу одноимённой реки. А стоянки на севере плоскогорья используются лишь в качестве зимних пастбищ. Здесь нет сотовой связи и, мягко говоря, немноголюдно: из постоянного населения – джазаторские чабаны и пограничники. Если ты решишься достичь Укока, то позаботься о том, чтобы заказать пропуск, сделать это можно и дистанционно на портале госуслуг.

Удивительных открытий и незабываемых моментов!
Петроглифы Елангаша
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