This is the face of what could be the oldest proof of trans people ever discovered.
Buried in the Altai Mountains, central Asia, archaeologists and anthropologists say this woman was a part of a warrior tribe who died over 2,500 years ago.
New DNA analysis has discovered the skeleton was genetically male but it had been buried with all the adornments of a young woman, potentially the earliest proof of a trans woman not only existing but being accepted and cherished as well.
A member of the elite corps of warriors within the Pazyryk culture, the remains lay beside shields, battle axes, bows and arrowheads – a testament to her skills as a fighter and archer.
She was also buried with cowrie shells, rare in Pazyryk burials, making it clear she was thought of as a young woman. The shells were seen as a symbol for female fertility.
The coffin, wooden pillow and quiver were all smaller in comparison to the usual male burials. The trans woman was also clearly considered to be a great and honored person in their tribe, having been buried with nine horses as an escort to the afterlife.
Following the release of the analysis, a life-like 3D model of the skull was created for the Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, Germany, the Siberian Times reports.
While this may be the first skeleton of a trans woman discovered, traditions and documents go back a long way in Greece. Trans women were often priestesses who served the gods Artemis and Diana, and there are many tales of gods and goddesses changing gender.
Blind prophet Tiresias had lived many years as both genders, and trans male warrior Kaineus was viewed as a ‘rival of the gods’ who was driven into the earth by the centaurs.
Some historians have also suggested the Amazons, a group of warriors who often came into conflict with the Greeks, were thought of as trans or intersex. Pliny the Younger referred to them as the Androgynae ‘who combine the two sexes’.
The report was first released by Science First Hand co-authored by Alexander Pilipenko of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics and Dr Natalia Polosmak of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.