In 1949, a team of Russian archaeologists led by Sergei I. Rudenko
opened an ice tomb in a highland valley in the Altai Mountains in
Siberia. There they discovered what was to become the world's most
famous pile rug.
Pazyryk - Valley of the Dead
in the local Telengit language - lies 1,600 metres above sea level
in the Altai Range at the heart of Euroasian landmass. It is the
site of fourteen kurgans (barrows), the first of which
was excavated in 1929 and further seven more burial mounds were
opened in the 1940s by Sergei Rudenko. The kurgans are thought to
have been built in the 5th-4th centuries BC.
Today the Pazyryk Rug is preserved and displayed in the State Hermitage
Museum and the Institude of Archaeology in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The rug is preserved because the water inside the burial pit had
frozen. The carpet emerged from the pit as an ice ball, but once
thawed and opened out, it proved to be an almost complete symmetrical
knotted pile rug with just a few splits and one corner missing.
The Pazyryk carpet s almost square, measuring 1.83 x 2.00 m.(6'
0'' x 6' 7").
Taken from HALI Magazine Nov/Dec 1999