statueTwo stories worth flagging up. The first is an interesting but straightforward piece on modern shamanism in Russia in the Moscow Times (“You’ve all become too civilised. You need to buy a yurt and move back to nature.”). The second, which is more intriguing, concerns a 2,400-year-old idol (pictured) in Ust-Taseyevsky that, around the year 500, was modified to give it less Caucasian, more Asiatic features. The story, in the Siberian Times, has lots of nice, atmospheric details, from the iron-rich hills that “act like a magnet to lightning bolts during storms” to the remains showing how bears and elks were sacrificed there. What was behind this? A struggle between rival shamanic practices from east and west? Or was a stone man from the West captured and revised to enforce his obedience, then left sleeping until a time of need?

And while mentioning the Siberian Times (which comes up with all kinds of gems like this), let me also note the ten metre-diameter smooth stone spheres unearthed in Krasnoyarsk. The official claim is that there are just unusual products of natural processes, not dragon eggs or other mysterious artifacts, but I think we know better…

Advertisements