Zana The Wild Woman

Razumov

zermatism.wordpress.com
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
72
Likes
40
Points
19
#61
I don't find it all that odd - particularly once you consider the historical contexts for these two distinct Fortean story lines.

I find it easy to believe Ivanov was in a relatively 'foreign' environment completely engrossed in something very important to him professionally, and he spent little time interacting with locals or exploring local folklore / history.
He collected exactly such folklore in Africa, where he was a foreigner:

"The locals told Ivanov about their fears connected to the apes. From time to time, chimpanzee males raped local women, they said. If such a thing happened, the community forever ostracized the woman. This news confirmed Ivanov’s beliefs in the technical possibility of insemination." (Etkind)
 

Razumov

zermatism.wordpress.com
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
72
Likes
40
Points
19
#62
There's yet another issue ... Even if Ivanov had been aware of the Zana story, would he have considered it all that relevant to his work?"
He was collecting such stories in Africa and Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was willing to carry out the most gruesome crimes in order to obtain an ape-human hybrid for Darwinism. He went all the way to Africa to conduct dangerous rape experiments on native women, why not take a weekend drive into the mountains and dig up a grave? That would explain how all the evidence disappeared. About the time Ivanov would have been doing this, our mad scientist is arrested by the NKVD for imaginary crimes. When the NKVD was ordered to release him, he suddenly died of a brain hemorrhage.

It is entirely possible that Ivanov didn’t have the time or interest. The real implausibility is that no one from the Soviet Union’s main center of primate research heard anything for the next 20-30 years. (Does anyone have a hard date on the start of Porshnev’s Zana investigation?) Sometimes implausible things happen, of course. And sometimes the implausible lie is a string that will unravel all sorts of things if you pull hard enough.

The only evidence the Zana case has comes from stories that held on for 70 years after her death. So unless Porshnev etc made those stories up, they have to have been around 30 years before. Indeed, such scandalous stories about a noble, would have made their way to the local capital Sukhumi very quickly, especially as Zana originally belonged to a prince from the traditional royal house of Abkhazia. One thing that every known form of nobility does is gossip. Drunken sex parties with the Yeti is a story with legs.

The only hope of a resolution of the Zana case is that a prior investigation collected the hard evidence that Porschnev and everyone after have failed to find. When you consider that the Soviet Union built a world class primate research center right down the road, it seems implausible that such an investigation did not occur.
 

Razumov

zermatism.wordpress.com
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
72
Likes
40
Points
19
#64
One of the candidates for Zana's original owner is in this photo, but I am not sure which one he is.

Rusudan_Janashia-002.jpg
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#65
... Does anyone have a hard date on the start of Porshnev’s Zana investigation? ...
It's difficult to determine the timeline of Porshnev's Zana-related activities. Let me start with an overview of 'where he was coming from' in researching relict humans.

Porshnev was primarily a historian and social psychologist who addressed humans as primarily, if not purely, social entities. He disputed the importance of biological factors in understanding humans.

He characterized the progression from pre-human to human as a radical shift involving a completely new manner, if not capacity, for thought and thinking. As I understand it, he considered this shift had transformed proto-humans subject to biological influences into humans subject to primarily social influences.

his interest in prehistoric and relict hominoids (his term) grew out of his earlier work, which had been successful in giving him a high academic reputation starting in the early 1950's and apparently continuing through the 1950's.

My theory is that he shifted his attention to subjects like the yeti and almas in the context of demonstrating something about the transition / transformation he'd characterized in purely historical / philosophical terms earlier.

This sets the background ...
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#66
About Porshnev's publication history ...

Porshnev's publications have a jumbled timeline. Some of his writings during the 1960's originally included sections on proto-humans / relict humans, but those sections were omitted from his major publications at the time, apparently as a decision of editors rather than Porshnev himself.

The earliest Porshnev publication on this subject I've found is a monograph(?) published in 1963:

Б. Ф. Поршнев СОВРЕМЕННОЕ СОСТОЯНИЕ ВОПРОСА О РЕЛИКТОВЫХ ГОМИНОИДАХ. ВИНИТИ, Москва, 1963
(B. F. Porshnev THE MODERN STATE OF THE QUESTION OF RELICIAL HOMINOIDS. VINITI, Moscow, 1963)

It wouldn't be until 1974 (after his death in 1972) that a book-length account of his relict human research was published:

L’Homme de Neanderthals est toujours Vivant [Neanderthal Man Still Lives], by Bernard Heuvelmans and Boris Porshnev, 1974, in French.

As of 2017, an English translation was done of an extensive section of this book. My understanding is that it does not represent the entirety of the 1974 book.

This English translation is available as a PDF file at:

https://www.isu.edu/media/libraries/rhi/essays/PORSHNEV-FORMATTED.pdf
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#67
Having set the background and publication base, here's the fragmentary timeline I can discern in the English version of the 1974 book section:

Up to 1957:

Porshnev writes:

"Late in 1957, A.G. Pronin, a hydrologist, revealed to the press that he had seen the Snowman from afar in the Pamir region, in the Balaind-Kyik valley. This name means the valley of the thousand ibexes. Two years earlier, I had concluded a study about the alimentary resources of fossil neanderthalians who had lived in a cave found by Soviet prehistorians at Techik-Tach, in central Asia."

1958:

[Porshnev]" ... relates in the first part of the French work Neanderthal Man is Still Alive that in January 1958, his interest suddenly focused on the snowman* following the sighting of one in the Pamir."

* 'snowman' = 'Himalayan yeti'

- Porshnev participated in an expedition to the Pamir region to look into the 'snowman' sighting(s). He leaves in September. The expedition 'falls apart' sometime after that.

- Porshnev made a connection between the yeti and almas, considering them both to be of one type - a relict Neanderthal.

- Porshnev published an article about his emerging theory (July 11; Komolskaïa Pravda).

- Porshnev receives letters (in response to the July article) claiming similar creatures were known in the Caucasus.


1959:

Porshnev writes a critical report on the Pamir expedition. He debates his views with other academics. Porshnev strongly believes the 'snowman' is a relict Neanderthal rather than any sort of ape or non-human ape-like species.

"In the Tien-Chan, on the foothills of the Tchatkal range, there is a dark green lake, the Sary-Tchelek. ... I went there in the fall of 1959."


1960:

Porshnev 'tours' Azerbaijan to follow up on reports from that area (October). He and his colleagues also gathered data in eastern Georgia.

It is while describing this trip that Porshnev mentions his colleague professor A. A. Machkovtsev (sometimes cited as 'Machkotsev') first heard of Zana's story while collecting data in or from Abkhazia. It's not clear whether Machkotsev's first encounter with the Zana story occurred during this trip.*

Porshnev would also state that he later continued Machkovtsev's work on the Zana matter where Machkovtsev left off. It's not clear when or where Machkovtsev 'left off'.

*NOTE: See the 1962 entry. Bayanov's 1996 English version of Porshnev's text states Machkovtsev first learned of the Zana story in 1962.


1961:

"In 1961, he [Porshnev] came for the first time to visit me [Heuvelmans] in Paris where, as the newspaper say –- and it was true – we had a frank and fruitful exchange of views and survey the problem. It was two years later that appeared the admirable monograph The Present State of the Problem of Relict Humanoids where the Russian scientist expressed his personal views of the situation."


1962:

Professor A. A. Machkovtsev finds a chipped stone in the T'khina area and suggests it may have been done by Zana, who had a habit of striking stones together.

NOTE: Dmitri Bayanov (In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman, Moscow, Crypto-Logos, 1996) provides his own English translation of Porshnev's account. In Bayanov's version, it was 1962 when Machkovtsev first heard the story of Zana.


1964:

Porshnev's first trip to T'khina to search for Zana's remains. (September)


1965:

(March) Porshnev's second trip to T'khina to search for Zana's remains.

(October) Porshnev's third trip to T'khina to search for Zana's remains.

NOTE: Porshnev states Machkovtsev was also involved in this October trip.
 
Last edited:

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#68
One possible way to get more clarity about the timeline would be to find any data on A. A. Machkovtsev and his activities during the early 1960's.

Both English translations of Porshnev's account claim it was Machkovtsev who first learned of the Zana story. Porshnev's account is vague about when this occurred. Bayanov's version claims it happened in 1962.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to track down any source info on Machkovtsev. I suspect the 2nd-generation English translation of his name is sufficiently mutated phonetically that I can't go back in the other direction and figure out how his name was actually spelled in Russian.
 

blessmycottonsocks

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
3,334
Likes
4,906
Points
154
Location
Wessex and Mercia
#69
Interesting thread.

One of the comments in the Wiki main article on Almas which refers to Zana is "They have been connected to the Denisova hominem [13]"
The first thing that struck me when observing Zana's son Khwit's skull was a resemblance to the Pintupi-1 skull from Australia. Both are from individuals who lived in the last century (or possibly 1800s for the Pintupi skull) but both display some characteristics of archaic hominems. Australian aborigines have some 4% Denisovan DNA (something which was not known when this thread started).

IMG_0496.JPG

IMG_0497.JPG
 
Last edited:

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#70
... One of the comments in the Wiki article main article on Almas which refers to Zana is "They have been connected to the Denisova hominem [13]"
The first thing that struck me when observing Zana's son Khwit's skull was a resemblance to the Pintupi-1 skull from Australia. Both are from individuals who lived in the last century (or possibly 1800s for the Pintupi skull) but both display some characteristics of archaic hominems. Australian aborigines have some 4% Denisovan DNA (something which was not know when this thread started). ...
The Denisovan angle is very relevant to evaluating this case, because:

(1) The Denisovan group or branch wasn't known at the time Porshnev and associates were doing their research;

(2) Porshnev adamantly maintained almas and similar reported creatures had to be relict pre-H. sapiens sapiens hominids - specifically Neanderthals*; and

(3) We now know this distinct Denisovan group / branch was primarily distributed across the same broad region as the almas / yeti claims Porshnev was exploring.

I'm not saying this refutes Porshnev's basic approach to the issue. I'm only saying his ideas need to be updated to accommodate the possibility the relict early humans he sought were more likely to be Denisovans than Neanderthals.

*If you read the PDF file cited earlier, you'll see that Huevelmans and Sanderson disagreed with Porshnev's insistence that an almas / yeti must represent left-over Neanderthals.
 

Xanatic*

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Mar 10, 2015
Messages
3,300
Likes
2,704
Points
154
#71
I had not seen those photos of the children before. Certainly their jawline doesn't look as that of neanderthals, which is meant to have had a receding chin.
 

blessmycottonsocks

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
3,334
Likes
4,906
Points
154
Location
Wessex and Mercia
#72
I had not seen those photos of the children before. Certainly their jawline doesn't look as that of neanderthals, which is meant to have had a receding chin.
Can't really tell from front-on photos, but look at the side-on photo of Khwit's skull above. Although the accounts described how he physically resembled his father much more than Zana, his chin is large but definitely receding.
Three or four generations after Zana, any archaic hominem traits have been almost bred out in her descendants.
 

Xanatic*

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Mar 10, 2015
Messages
3,300
Likes
2,704
Points
154
#73
I can't say I get that impression from the skull either, though the image is rather dark.
 

Razumov

zermatism.wordpress.com
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
72
Likes
40
Points
19
#75
About Porshnev's publication history ...

Porshnev's publications have a jumbled timeline. Some of his writings during the 1960's originally included sections on proto-humans / relict humans, but those sections were omitted from his major publications at the time, apparently as a decision of editors rather than Porshnev himself.

The earliest Porshnev publication on this subject I've found is a monograph(?) published in 1963:

Б. Ф. Поршнев СОВРЕМЕННОЕ СОСТОЯНИЕ ВОПРОСА О РЕЛИКТОВЫХ ГОМИНОИДАХ. ВИНИТИ, Москва, 1963
(B. F. Porshnev THE MODERN STATE OF THE QUESTION OF RELICIAL HOMINOIDS. VINITI, Moscow, 1963)

It wouldn't be until 1974 (after his death in 1972) that a book-length account of his relict human research was published:

L’Homme de Neanderthals est toujours Vivant [Neanderthal Man Still Lives], by Bernard Heuvelmans and Boris Porshnev, 1974, in French.

As of 2017, an English translation was done of an extensive section of this book. My understanding is that it does not represent the entirety of the 1974 book.

This English translation is available as a PDF file at:

https://www.isu.edu/media/libraries/rhi/essays/PORSHNEV-FORMATTED.pdf
The Russian Wiki entry is a good place to start on Porshnev.
 

Razumov

zermatism.wordpress.com
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
72
Likes
40
Points
19
#76
The major problem with the Zana narrative is her missing body. All anyone needs is a single tooth to confirm that she was an unknown hominid.

Perhaps for superstitious reasons the body was buried outside the village or otherwise disposed of, and was never in the graveyard in the first place. Abkhazians are a strange people with many old rituals.

Perhaps the body was dug up and relocated by the villagers once Porshnev started nosing around for it. (If you plan on doing any digging in Tkhina, look under the church.)

Perhaps her corpse was sold. Alchemists were reputed to prize the creatures for their immortality potions.

There are so many stories about Zana, but I can't find a single one about how she died. Perhaps she died under circumstances not to be repeated to children.

Perhaps she was only a loan from prince Achba, and upon his death she reverted to his heir, who wanted her back.

Perhaps the body was recovered by a prior investigation that Porshnev either didn't know about or knew not to poke around in. If there was such an investigation, the primate research center is almost certainly where it originated from, and also where a living almasty would have been housed and studied.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#77
The major problem with the Zana narrative is her missing body. ...
I'd say there's an even more major problem underlying the problem of her as yet undiscovered body - the problem of the Zana story itself. Even the most detailed versions of the story contain gaps or ambiguities, among which the following are the most troublesome.

It's not clear when Zana was captured.

The widely recycled versions of the story either make no claims about the timeframe for her capture or attribute the capture to sometime in the 1850's. I have yet to find an original source (or reference to an original source or evidence) for the claim she was captured in the 1850's. The Wikipedia article describing Zana's story states she was captured in 1850, and attributes this claim to the 1996 English translation from Bayanov's book. However, the linked Bayanov text says nothing about when she was captured.

I can't determine whether the 1850's claim - much less the specific claim of the year 1850 - is reliable, because I can't determine when it surfaced or what its source may have been.

NOTE: Porshnev's account mentions there's also no consensus on where Zana was captured. He mentions two versions - one in the forested mountains and the other at or near the Black Sea coast.


Zana's age is a mystery.

I've never seen any comment as to Zana's apparent age at the time of her capture. If she was captured in 1850, and bore a child unaided as late as the early 1880's, one has to presume she was captured at a relatively young age. None of the accounts give any clues to her age, save for two indirect clues:

- she was big enough to require being shackled for transport and delivery to her original 'owner'; and
- (assuming one accepts the childbirth dates specifically cited) she was old enough to bear a second or later child as of 1878.


It's not clear when Zana was transferred from one 'owner' to another.

The accounts all agree that she ended up in the possession of Edghi Genaba (sometimes cited as Edgi / Ghenaba) in T'khina. Some accounts list 2 prior owners (as you've mentioned). No account that I've found offers any clues to how long she was held by the first two owners and / or how long Genaba kept her.


It's not even clear when Zana died.

Porshnev's account (in both English translations) states Zana died in either the 1880's or 1890's. Some accounts specify a death in the year 1890. I have yet to see any explanation for the specific 1890 claim.

Porshnev's three 1964 / 1965 visits (to search for Zana's grave) all depended on local residents who were alleged to be witnesses to her funeral. If one accepts a death timeframe of 1890 or the decade of the 1890's, these witnesses were being asked to recall an event circa 65 - 75 years in the past. If one accepts the possibility her death occurred as early as the 1880's, one has to add up to another 10 years to the retrospective time horizon.

Wikipedia cites Zana's last childbirth as having occurred in 1884, and attributes this claim to the 1996 English translation of Porshnev in Bayanov's book. Once again, the alleged source makes no specific claims supporting the details in the Wikipedia article. If one accepts the 1884 date, this would represent the earliest timeframe for her death.
 

blessmycottonsocks

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
3,334
Likes
4,906
Points
154
Location
Wessex and Mercia
#78
Well done to unearth those really clear images! They do seem to reflect the analysis of Russian anthropologist M.A.Kolodieva's analysis that the skull, with its unusually low cranium, large brow ridges and orbits and smaller than normal chin, displayed some archaic characteristics.

I guess this fascinating case will never be really settled unless Zana's remains are ever discovered.
Would be amazing if proof could be found that Denisovans or possibly even Homo Erectus survived until the late 19th century.
 

Razumov

zermatism.wordpress.com
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
72
Likes
40
Points
19
#79
I'd say there's an even more major problem underlying the problem of her as yet undiscovered body - the problem of the Zana story itself. Even the most detailed versions of the story contain gaps or ambiguities, among which the following are the most troublesome.

It's not clear when Zana was captured.

The widely recycled versions of the story either make no claims about the timeframe for her capture or attribute the capture to sometime in the 1850's. I have yet to find an original source (or reference to an original source or evidence) for the claim she was captured in the 1850's. The Wikipedia article describing Zana's story states she was captured in 1850, and attributes this claim to the 1996 English translation from Bayanov's book. However, the linked Bayanov text says nothing about when she was captured.

I can't determine whether the 1850's claim - much less the specific claim of the year 1850 - is reliable, because I can't determine when it surfaced or what its source may have been.

NOTE: Porshnev's account mentions there's also no consensus on where Zana was captured. He mentions two versions - one in the forested mountains and the other at or near the Black Sea coast.


Zana's age is a mystery.

I've never seen any comment as to Zana's apparent age at the time of her capture. If she was captured in 1850, and bore a child unaided as late as the early 1880's, one has to presume she was captured at a relatively young age. None of the accounts give any clues to her age, save for two indirect clues:

- she was big enough to require being shackled for transport and delivery to her original 'owner'; and
- (assuming one accepts the childbirth dates specifically cited) she was old enough to bear a second or later child as of 1878.


It's not clear when Zana was transferred from one 'owner' to another.

The accounts all agree that she ended up in the possession of Edghi Genaba (sometimes cited as Edgi / Ghenaba) in T'khina. Some accounts list 2 prior owners (as you've mentioned). No account that I've found offers any clues to how long she was held by the first two owners and / or how long Genaba kept her.


It's not even clear when Zana died.

Porshnev's account (in both English translations) states Zana died in either the 1880's or 1890's. Some accounts specify a death in the year 1890. I have yet to see any explanation for the specific 1890 claim.

Porshnev's three 1964 / 1965 visits (to search for Zana's grave) all depended on local residents who were alleged to be witnesses to her funeral. If one accepts a death timeframe of 1890 or the decade of the 1890's, these witnesses were being asked to recall an event circa 65 - 75 years in the past. If one accepts the possibility her death occurred as early as the 1880's, one has to add up to another 10 years to the retrospective time horizon.

Wikipedia cites Zana's last childbirth as having occurred in 1884, and attributes this claim to the 1996 English translation of Porshnev in Bayanov's book. Once again, the alleged source makes no specific claims supporting the details in the Wikipedia article. If one accepts the 1884 date, this would represent the earliest timeframe for her death.
I agree with all of that.

The English language version of The Struggle for Troglodytes was originally written in Russian then translated into French and then translated from French into English. As such, to research places or names from the text, you definitely want to use the Russian version:

борьба за троглодитов

http://alamas.ru/rus/publicat/porshnev_book2/Index.htm

I have located two additional sources for the Zana story from Abkhazians here:

http://war-in-abkhazia.ru/tales.html

http://docplayer.ru/61559917-Pyat-s...hurnal-tvorchestvo-bez-izlishnego-pafosa.html

The Zana folklore is alive and well on the Russian internet, but god only knows where anything comes from.
 

Razumov

zermatism.wordpress.com
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
72
Likes
40
Points
19
#80
One possible way to get more clarity about the timeline would be to find any data on A. A. Machkovtsev and his activities during the early 1960's.

Both English translations of Porshnev's account claim it was Machkovtsev who first learned of the Zana story. Porshnev's account is vague about when this occurred. Bayanov's version claims it happened in 1962.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to track down any source info on Machkovtsev. I suspect the 2nd-generation English translation of his name is sufficiently mutated phonetically that I can't go back in the other direction and figure out how his name was actually spelled in Russian.
That would be Alexander Mashkovtsev:


The founders of hominoid research in Russia are (left to right): Boris Porshnev, Alexander Mashkovtsev, Pyotr Molin, Dmitri Bayanov, and Marie-Jeanne Koffmann. Photograph is from January 1968.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#81
... Perhaps she was only a loan from prince Achba, and upon his death she reverted to his heir, who wanted her back. ...
I forgot to mention something Porshnev wrote about the 'chain of custody' for the captured Zana.

It is quite possible that she was sold a number of times before becoming the property of D.M. Atchba, a local sovereign kinglet of the Zaadan forest. She then lived with Kh. Tchelokua, a vassal of that prince. Later, she was given to the noble Edghi Ghenaba when he visited.
This further complicates an evaluation of her age and travels, because Achba may not have been her original 'owner' following her capture.
 

Razumov

zermatism.wordpress.com
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
72
Likes
40
Points
19
#82
I forgot to mention something Porshnev wrote about the 'chain of custody' for the captured Zana.



This further complicates an evaluation of her age and travels, because Achba may not have been her original 'owner' following her capture.
The reports that Zana had a brand on her face and pierced earlobes, together with her behavior in many of the stories, lead me to suspect she was raised by humans in captivity, and the "capture" stories are later additions to the cycle.
 

Razumov

zermatism.wordpress.com
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
72
Likes
40
Points
19
#84
Zana Timeline milestones

In 1815 ruler Levan Dadiani issued an order against the ancient Abkhazian practices of robbery, rapine and slave taking. Included in the names of the princes forced to sign oaths to stop robbing and kidnapping people are Anchabadze and Chkotua. Anchabadze is a form of Achba. Porshnev reports Zana was first owned by a prince "D M Achba" and then his vassal "Chelokua".

https://archive.org/details/Abkhazia

p 314

From Marakov's Atlas on Abkhazia:




Jamal Dergachev (88 years) from the village Kaldahuara said that in the gorge of the Bzyb river, where nobody lived, the hunters, led by Mardio Mardanovym caught three almas... All three were brought to the village and presented to Prince Chachba... All three were male gender. They were all like people, only without clothes and covered with black hair. They were fed raw meat. They lived with the Prince for about a year. Their fate is unknown. It happened in the mid-1800s.

http://alamas.ru/rus/publicat/Makarov_Atlas/VMK06.htm

2018_04_29_21.25.58.jpg

Brian Sykes genealogy chart says Zana's child Eshba was born in 1870, so she has to be in the village and domesticated by that point.

The second child listed by Sykes is Khwit in 1886, so we have a 16 year span of fertility that runs from 1870-1886. (Unless Zana was using birth control, Sykes is missing some babies.)

A human woman still having babies in 1886 cannot have been caught much before 1860, so if Zana was a human slave she has to have been caught between 1860-1870.

After 1864 the old Abkhazian nobility was being liquidated and the province was under the direct military rule of the Russian Empire. In the turmoil of uprisings, mass deportations and wars that followed it is hard to imagine an Abkhazian prince having the time or inclination to buy or capture either a Yeti or a mentally disabled feral slave.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#85
... Perhaps for superstitious reasons the body was buried outside the village or otherwise disposed of, and was never in the graveyard in the first place. Abkhazians are a strange people with many old rituals. ... .
The presumption Zana was buried in the Genaba family cemetery / plot has always seemed odd to me. She arrived as a sort of curiosity or pet, and the stories consistently describe her most tamed status as being that of a servant.

Was it customary to bury family servants (or slaves, for that matter ... ) in the master's family's plot?
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#86
... Brian Sykes genealogy chart says Zana's child Eshba was born in 1870, so she has to be in the village and domesticated by that point.

The second child listed by Sykes is Khwit in 1886, so we have a 16 year span of fertility that runs from 1870-1886. (Unless Zana was using birth control, Sykes is missing some babies.) ...
Who's Eshba?

The more commonly encountered accounts list four children who survived and grew up. According to the accounts giving specific birth dates they were:

Djanda (b. 1878; male)
Kodjanar or Kozhanar (b. 1880; female)
Gamassa or Gamasa Genaba (born 1882; female)
Khvi tGenaba (b. 1884; male)

Porshnev claims Zana gave birth to multiple earlier children, but these died from her habit of washing / dipping them in cold stream water. After more than one such death, local residents took the newborns away and raised them.

I'd love to know where Sykes got his information about an even earlier child who'd survived to maturity and parenthood.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#87
I've been reviewing Sykes' account of the Zana story in his book Bigfoot, Yeti, and the Last Neanderthal: A Geneticist's Search for Modern Apemen (accessible in large part at Google Books).

In addition to introducing the previously-uncited son Eshba, Sykes' account diverges from prior accounts on several points.

I also noticed that Sykes misattributes Porshnev's and Machkovtsev's discovery and exploration of the Zana story to the 1950's (in more than one place). Porshnev's account pretty clearly attributes this to the 1960's.

Another error in Sykes' book is that he claims both Huevelmans and Porshnev believed Zana was a relict Neanderthal. Huevelmans (in his introduction to the 2017 book) clearly states this was a dogmatic presumption of Porshnev alone, and he and Sanderson didn't agree with it.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#88
The reports that Zana had a brand on her face and pierced earlobes, together with her behavior in many of the stories, lead me to suspect she was raised by humans in captivity, and the "capture" stories are later additions to the cycle.
Both the face branding and the earlobe piercing were known practices used by slave traders and / or slave owners.

Certainly, either or both these things could have been done to Zana after her capture rather than before it. As such, these characteristics don't necessarily, much less uniquely, support the idea she was an escaped or freed slave who'd hidden in the wilderness.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#89
Razumov:

Can you shed any light on the location of the 'forests of Zaadan' or 'Mt. Zaadan'?

This location has been cited (even by Porshnev) as one of the two areas where Zana was allegedly captured.

I've tried multiple searches on this name (in both Latin and Cyrillic), and I can't find any information on where this may have been. The only suggestive hits I've gotten seem to refer to Kyrgyzstan - far to the east of Abkhazia / Georgia.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,598
Likes
15,864
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#90
... Porshnev reports Zana was first owned by a prince "D M Achba" and then his vassal "Chelokua". ...
Sykes' version avoids claiming Achba / Atchba was the original 'owner' to whom Zana was brought after being captured. He mentions only that she was sold to / through a series of owners until she was purchased by Genaba. This is the only account I've seen that claims Genaba / Ghenaba purchased her.

Can anyone correlate the alleged prince 'D. M. Achba' (or Atchba or Chachba) to a historical figure? I can find listings for the Chachba lineage (also known as the house of Shervashidze), but I cannot find any of the house's princes or sons with the initials 'D. M.'.
 
Top