An extraordinary 2,500-year-old grave of an ancient warrior couple has been found in Siberia.
The pair are believed to have died in their 30s and were buried with a baby and an 'elderly' servant woman, archaeologists say.
The elderly woman was likely in her 60s when she died and was entombed in a crumpled position under the feet of feet of the couple, who may have been spouses.
Remains of the child were scattered throughout the grave, which archaeologists say probably happened when rodents ate the flesh of the deceased.
Experts unearthing the find in southern Siberia say the four people probably succumbed simultaneously to the same infection, and the servant was buried alongside them to look after the family in the afterlife.
The warrior couple, the woman specifically, may be proof of the lost Scythian civilisation, which inhabited the region of modern-day Russia until 2,200 years ago.
The pair are believed to have died in their 30s and were buried with a baby and an 'elderly' servant woman, archaeologists say. The elderly woman was likely in her 60s when she died
The fighter woman in the grave was buried with the same weaponry as the man, the researchers say, which is unusual.
In surviving records and other graves from the same time frame and location, female warriors were buried with a bow and arrows, long range weapons,
But the woman in the newly unearthed grave was armed with a long-handled weapon, either a hatchet or an axe, and a short sword.
These weapons are best suited for hand-to-hand combat and a bloody melee and this difference is indicative of the Scythian culture, researchers say.
Dr Oleg Mitko, head of Archeology at Novosibirsk State University, said: 'We have an impressive set of weaponry.
'We found close fight weapons in a female grave, which is not so typical. The woman had a battle axe.. so she was a part of a warrior strata.'
Senior researcher Yuri Teterin said: 'The man had two axes and two bronze daggers.
'It is a brilliant burial in that there is authentic bronze weaponry.' The man also had a bronze mirror, the researchers say.
Wooden handles of the weapons have no survived millennia in soil, but the metallic elements have.
In contrast to other female warriors from ancient Siberia, the female in the grave was armed in with a long-handled weapon, either a hatchet or an axe, and a short sword. These weapons are best suited for hand-to-hand combat
The couple, the baby and servant, are from the Tagar culture, part of the Scythian civilisation, researchers believe
The couple, the baby and