A remarkable saga of survival in the remote Siberian wilderness has recently resurfaced, concerning the discovery by Soviet mining scientists of a family who had spent four decades of their lives in complete isolation from the outside world.
According to the Smithsonian in 1978 four geologists were sent by the Soviet government to a remote mountain in the Siberian wilderness, entrusting with the mission of prospecting in the area for iron ore.
Upon broaching the area by helicopter the scientists were stunned to discover signs of human settlement, despite its extremely remote and inaccessible location and official records indicating that the entire region was as yet unexplored.
The mountain was situated over 150 miles from the nearest settlement, in area with no prior record of human exploration, let alone inhabitants.
Led by geologist Galina Pismenskaya the team of scientists subsequently returned to the area on foot, bearing gifts in their packs for their prospective hosts, as well as fire arms just in case the response to their surprise visit proved to be hostile.
By the side of the mountain the group of intruders found a ramshackle dwelling place, which served as the home for a small family comprised of an elderly man and his two daughters.
The Lykov family were members of a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox Sect called the Old Believers, who had met with harsh oppression at the hands of both Russian's traditional religious authorities and the Bolsheviks.
The Lykovs had fled to Siberia in the mid-1930's to escape religious persecution at the hands of the Communists, and had spent more than four decades in complete isolation from the rest of the humanity, oblivious even to upheaval of the Second World War or the full horrors of Stalinist rule.