This jadeite pendant recovered from a female burial at the cemetery site of Cheremukhoyava Pad. The site was discovered in 1950 and excavated periodically in the 1950s and 1960s, uncovering 84 burials. Based on burial goods, archaeologists have inferred that nomadic people during this period tended to have higher status than sedentary villagers who practiced agriculture, and this high-value jadeite pendant may indicate the woman was from a nomadic group. Nomadic women during this period were part of the warrior class, although it appears that all the women were interred at Cheremukhoyava Pad were without weapons.
The artefact is curated at the Museum of Buryat History (Ulan-Ude, Russia), inventory number 18671/3.
The Xiongnu were a nomadic people that dominated the steppes of East Asia in an area centred on Mongolia. The are considered the first tribe to establish a regional empire across the Eurasian Steppes. They accomplished this by confederating separate nomadic groups across the region, under the rule of Modu Chanyu, the founder of the Xiongnu Empire, in 2209 BP. Modu Chanyu expanded the empire into southern Siberia, eastern Mongolia, and Manchuria, and under his leadership they threatened the Han dynasty in China, from whom they demanded tribute payments. The Xiongnu eventually split into northern and southern empires. Some scholars argue that the Xiongnu were the precursors of the Huns that invaded Europe, and other scholars note that the Xiongnu were the ancestors of the Mongols and Genghis Khan. These scenarios are broadly supported by the analysis of ancient DNA from Xiongnu cemeteries and burials.