2,100-Year-Old ‘IPhone’-Like Belt Buckle Found in Siberia, Reports Say

September 13, 2019 Updated: September 13, 2019

A 2,100-year-old belt buckle has been described as “iPhone-like,” leaving an archaeologist in amazement.

Archeologist Pavel Leus, who discovered the item in Tuva, Russia, said it resembled a modern-day smartphone, reported the Siberian Times. He also named the skeleton found near the item “Natasha.”

‘‘Natasha’s’ burial with a Xiongnu-era iPhone remains one of the most interesting at this burial site,” he told the news outlet.

The archaeological finding is actually a 7-inch by 3.5-inch belt buckle, Leus said, adding that it was decorated with Chinese wuzhu coins, which helped researchers date it.

Such coins were minted nearly 2,200 years ago in China, he noted in the report.

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The finding was first made in 2016 at the Al-Tay necropolis in the Sayan Sea, but it went viral after the Siberian Times published photos of the item and its “iPhone” description.

“Archaeologists identified two burial sites—Terezin and Ala-Tey—dating to the Xiongnu period around 2,000 years ago, according to a study co-authored by Leus and published in 2018 in the journal Asian Archaeology,” Live Science reported.

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It noted that, however, there are only a few weeks each year when archaeologists can access these locations, said the Russian Geographical Society (RGS).

The sites are located in a flood zone covered by the Sayan Sea. Floodwaters only recede at the end of May until the first half of June, Live Science noted.

Rectangular bronze buckles like the one above have been found in Siberia, Central Asia, and Mongolia. Many of them have carved animal designs, said a report in 2011 from Germany’s University of Bonn.

“This site is a scientific sensation,”Marina Kilunovskaya of the St. Petersburg Institute of Material History Culture told GlobalNews.

In the vicinity, two partly mummified skeletons were discovered. One was draped in silks and another was buried with a wooden spindle in a sewing bag.

“We are incredibly lucky to have found these burials of rich nomads that were not disturbed by grave robbers,” Kilunovskaya was quoted as saying.