2014-11-18

Extraction of Mammoth tusks in Siberia

About 10 thousand years ago, northern Siberia was inhabited by shaggy giants, called mammoths. Now extinct genus of mammals affected by the rise in temperature at the end of the last Ice Age and Ancient hunters killed woolly mammoths for their meat, which resulted in their habitat was flooded and reduced. Animals caught in limbo on an isolated island, where there was not the slightest chance to return to the mainland. Some populations, sharpened on these land areas to the east and north of Siberia, delayed and became extinct about 3,700 years ago.

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Mammoth Tusks


The remains of mammoths, in particular their tusks to date status are the most common fossils in the Siberian lands. Scientists estimate that the reserves of this ancient material in Russia reach hundreds of thousands of tons, and annual production is several tens (20-60) tons. Given the volume of produced relics, one can only imagine what a big number of mammoths lived on these lands in those days. Mammoth tusk weight — Known tusks, champions curled in spirals on 4-4.5 meters, their weight was equal to 100-110 kg and diameter - 18-19 cm. Photographs by Evgenia Arbugaeva

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Woolly Mammoth Hunting


Woolly mammoth tusk found — The indigenous peoples of the northern areas, are often found washed up before spring waters tusks, believed that the giant animals move underground, putting over its surface only their huge "fangs". They called their Eggor, ie earthen deer. According to another legend, the mammoths lived in the early times of creation. Because of its enormous weight they constantly fail to his chest in the ground. In creating mammoths paths formed rivers, streams, which eventually led to the complete flooding (there is a legend that during the biblical flood animals would be saved on Noah's ark, but could not fit there). For some time the animals floated over the vast waters. Photographs by Evgenia Arbugaeva

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Throughout the European part of Russia and Siberia and up to the middle of the XX century actively flourishing folk art of carving on bone. Local carvers sired combs, boxes, miniature sculptures exclusively from the tusks of mammoths. This material is very beautiful, and durable plastic, though is somewhat complicated to handle. Its hardness is equivalent to such materials like pearls, amber and coral. Mammoth bones easily handled cutter, acquiring a great mesh pattern, and thanks to the large size of them can perform virtually any sculptural form.

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Tusks of mammoths returned from the permafrost via hard work seekers. Their production is quite complex, as part of the ancient material lies in the swampy areas at the bottom of the river, in the tundra. Often tusks found on the banks of streams, lakes and ravines. To extract a single artifact earner is required from several hours to several days of continuous excavation. Before you pick up the found material, hunters tusks thrown into a hole dug silver jewelry or colored balls, as an offering to the local spirits.

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Mammoth tusk carving
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Today, virtually all mining mammoth tusks in the vast Siberia is illegal, and about 90% of the received "Treasures" is ultimately in China, where the very revered ancient tradition of carving on ivory. The rapid growth of demand caused some concern among researchers, since it leads to the loss of valuable data about living on this land animals, tusks which contain information about the climate, feed and the environment. Perhaps in the permafrost of Siberia still locked millions, and even more mammoth tusks, but find them every year becomes more and more difficult. 

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