Russia's most mysterious archaeological site Por-Bajin,Siberia

Russia's most mysterious archaeological site dominates a small island in the center of a remote lake high in the mountains of southern Siberia. Here, just 20 miles from the Mongolian border, the outer walls of the medieval ruins of Por-Bajin still rise 40 feet high, enclosing an area of about seven acres criss-crossed with the labyrinthine remains of more than 30 buildings.

The few artifacts unearthed at the site seem to date it to the mid-eighth century A.D. During this period, it was held together by forces of warriors on horseback.

The central area consists of two large courtyards surrounded by a series of small yards along the walls. In one of the large courtyards lies a complex consisting of two pavilions. The larger pavilion was likely used for ceremonial purposes, while the smaller one could have been a private residence. Each of the small yards in turn has a building in the center.

The walls were made of a sophisticated type of wattle-and-daub covered with a high-quality plaster painted with a red and black strip along the base. At some point, they were repaired with a layer of plaster of inferior quality, less regular and less decorated. The debris on the floor suggested to me that the walls and roof must have burned for some time before the roof collapsed on the floor, and the walls then collapsed onto the roof debris.


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