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Scythian warrior's grave unearthed in southern Russia

The remains of warrior king who was buried in a cloak covered in gold and ruled the Russian steppes around 2,500 years ago has been uncovered.

Scythian warrior's grave unearthed in southern Russia
Archaeologists discovered the remains of a Scythian warrior king who was buried
 with his horse, weapons and a golden cloak in a barrow mound in southern Russia.
 It is thought the man had been a ruler of the nomadic warriors during between
 400BC and 500BC. Flakes of gold from his cloak were found in the grave 
[Credit: buimvd.ru]
Archaeologists found the man, who is thought to have been a Scythian ruler, in a tomb within a burial mind in the Altai Territory of southern Russia.

He had been buried in the mount with his horse and riches including a melt made of several different types of metal, a iron Scythian sword, or akinak, a bronze chisel-shaped knife and other bits of iron.

They also found what they believe to be the remains of his funeral meal – lamb bones.

However, perhaps most surprising was the discovery of small pieces of gold foil that appear to have adorned his clothing.

Professor Alexander Kazakov, the archaeologist leading the excavation and head of research at the Barnaul Law Institute of the Russian Interior Ministry, said: 'Although the material of the warriors clothing had long rotted away, the gold flakes were still present in the soil.'

The Scythians were a group of nomadic people who lived in a region of central Eurasia that stretched from Iran to China and across Asia to what is now Eastern Europe.

Scythian warrior's grave unearthed in southern Russia
A bronze chisel and an iron Scythian sword were found in the tomb with the warrior. 
The researchers also found the remnants of a leather belt, a belt made with several
 types of metal and other iron fragments [Credit: buimvd.ru]
There are several mentions of this ferocious band of nomads in ancient Greek and Chinese texts which make reference to their warrior prowess.

They began to rise to prominence in the 8th Century BC and their skills of fighting from horseback made them formidable foes.

In the 7th Century BC, the Scythians established their first kingdom using their powerful short bows and short swords to devastating effect from horseback.

However, by around the 5th Century BC, the Scythians had established a highly lucrative trade with Greece and many of the elite became incredibly wealthy.

The Scythians were known for wearing spectacular jewellery, like a gold necklace thought to date from 400BC which was found in Ukraine.

The new tomb, found on the outskirts of the village of Krasny Yar in the Altai Territory of southern Russia, is thought to date from between 500BC and 400BC.

Scythian warrior's grave unearthed in southern Russia
The archaeologists from the Barnaul Law Institute of the Russian Interior Ministry
 spent several days excavating the site. The burial mound had almost been
 obliterated by decades of ploughing by farmers [Credit: buimvd.ru]
The site of the grave had been almost obliterated by decades of farming which had ploughed over the burial mound, or kurgan.

However, Professor Kazakov said the remains were found protected by a stone ring beneath the barrow.

He said that the fact the man had been buried with his horse at least 500-years before the birth of Christ showed how greatly horses were valued.

The archaeologist added that such a tomb was extremely rare and was yielding valuable insights into the little-known nomadic culture that left few records other than the spectacular jewelled creations of their master craftsmen.

He added: 'Until now we have very little details about how they went about the burial process which is why this tomb is so valuable.'

One of the students, Alyona Naumova, who took part in the research, told local media that he felt privileged to be able to take part in the spectacular find.

He said: 'As a student of history this was a rare opportunity of experiencing it first hand and being in direct touch with our ancestors.'

Author: Richard Gray | Source: Daily Mail Online [August 27, 2015]
TANN

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