Andrei Gusev, a senior fellow at the archeology department of the Center for the Study of the Arctic, is trying to piece together the horn plates of a suit of armor and what remains of a horn helmet and, putatively, arm shields. However, the work is hard-going because all the finds are parts of different suits of armor.
“The Ust-Polui collection of artifacts includes three dozen horn plates. They vary as to their state of preservation and differ in size, disposition of attachment holes, presence or otherwise of ornaments, etc.,” Gusev said.
The horn plates can be divided into two groups: first, thick and large deer horn plates that used to be attached to leather jackets and served as reliable protection; second, smaller and thinner plates with rich ornaments similar to those found on other Ust-Polui horn artifacts.
Some plates were parts of a horn helmet. They are convex-shaped to fit the shape of a head. It is highly infrequent that you find iron helmets in the West Siberian taiga.However, headgear of numerous bronze figurines dating back to the middle of the 1st millennium AD clearly reminds one of helmets. One likely explanation of this phenomenon is the long tradition of horn helmet-making.
Located within the limits of Salekhard, Ust-Polui is the only archeological site in Western Siberia, where the largest number of horn armor pieces dating from late 1st millennium BC was found.