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"Grass Routes: Pathways to Eurasian Cultures" Student collaboration: Colin McKinstry, frozen tattooed mummies

10/02/2012

Dan Prior (left), assistant professor of history, and Colin McKinstry, junior anthropology and history double major, view one of the ancient bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation (photo by Scott Kissell)
Dan Prior (left), assistant professor of history, and Colin McKinstry, junior anthropology and history double major, view one of the ancient bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation (photo by Scott Kissell)
This story refers to "A Remarkable Collaboration".

After learning about the planning of the Grass Routes exhibition last fall, Colin McKinstry approached Dan Prior, assistant professor of history, with an idea he had about the tattooed, frozen mummies from the ice tombs of the Scythians.

“Fascinated” by the history of tattooing, the project he proposed to Prior was a “great opportunity to learn a lot more about what I was interested in,” said McKinstry, a junior anthropology and history double major.

He conducted an independent study project with Prior on the ice tombs of the Scythians (southern Siberia region) and the tattoos on the frozen mummies. From his research, McKinstry selected an image, owned by the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, of a tattoo on the arm skin of a Pazyryk man from the ice tombs. (the bodies are stored at the Hermitage). Bob Wicks, director of the Miami University Art Museum, requested a loan of the image.

Tattoo on upper right arm of a Pazyryk man, 6th century BCE; Sergei I. Rudenko, <i>Kul'tura naseleniia Gornogo Altaia v skifskoe vremia</i>, Moscow and Leningrad, 1953. Courtesy of The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Tattoo on upper right arm of a Pazyryk man, 6th century BCE; Sergei I. Rudenko, Kul'tura naseleniia Gornogo Altaia v skifskoe vremia, Moscow and Leningrad, 1953. Courtesy of The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
McKinstry also contributed panels to the exhibitions in Galleries 1 (Exploring Eurasia) and II (Life in the Grasslands).

To learn more about the “The Ice Tombs of the Scythians 5th Century BCE” and “Sacred Body Art of the Scythians” visit the exhibition. The art museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday.

McKinstry, who plans to pursue a doctorate in Nordic archaeology, is studying abroad this semester through an archaeology program in Sweden. In July he participated in an archaeological dig in Iceland through the North American Biocultural Organisation (NABO) Field School in North Atlantic Archaeology.

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