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Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva

The Siberian Times have published a detailed overview of the contents and information retrieved by archaeologists at the Arzhan 2 tomb in the Republic of Tuva.

Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
The lavish tomb was full of gold suggesting the male was a high-ranking member 
of the 2,600-year-old community [Credit: Vera Salnitskaya/Siberian Times]
The 2,600-year-old tomb has yielded valuable evidence connecting the life of the individual buried there, a warrior tsar, with other places very far away.

However, though it was indeed a nomadic people who buried their king in Arzhan 2, the exquisite processing of the numerous golden and valuable artefacts found in the grave would require skills that nomads would hardly have possessed.

Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
The ancient ruler was buried with a heavy necklace made of pure gold and gold 
quiver with fish scale decoration [Credit: Vera Salnitskaya/Siberian Times]
The king was buried with plenty of valuable items next to him, his clothes and equipment adorned with several gold beads. Alongside him lay a female skeleton, perhaps his queen or concubine, probably sacrificed to be buried with her king.

Apart from the concubine, the king was escorted by 35 individuals, in total; 16 of them were men, 13 women, 5 children, as well as 14 horses, each from a different herd.

Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
A gold pectoral in Animal Style decoration, golden earring with turquoise 
 and a miniature gold cup [Credit: Vera Salnitskaya/Siberian Times]
The ruler was between 40 and 50 years old and died of prostate cancer, the earliest documented example.

The female buried alongside him was about 30 years old and judging from her clothes decorations and ornaments she was of high status, but of different ethnic origin from the king.

Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Thousands of artefacts, including numerous gold beads, were found in the tomb  
[Credit: Vera Salnitskaya/Siberian Times]
The valuable items found in the royal burial chamber are astonishingly beautiful and delicate, and display a high degree of sophistication.

In all, some 9,300 decorative gold pieces weighing more than 20 kilograms were found here, including earrings, pendants and 'uncountable golden beads'.

Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Iron dagger and iron arrowheads with golden encrustation
[Credit: Vera Salnitskaya/Siberian Times]
The style of the adornments is described as Animal Art, since it depicts most of the animals known from the time.

'This is the original Scythian style, from the Altai region,' says, Dr Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum, "which eventually came to the Black Sea region and finally in contact with ancient Greece. And it resembles almost an Art Nouveau style.'

Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
The details and the sophistication of the artefacts is unique for a nomadic people  
[Credit: Vera Salnitskaya/Siberian Times]
The construction and decoration of the burial chamber must have been made with materials that have not survived, such as wood and textiles.

Scattered around the remains of the king and his companion were thousands of gold beads, probably attached to their clothes.

Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Stunning treasures from the rich tomb in Tuva
Early Scythians were people who knew good artwork when they saw it, and used 
contacts to obtain, or commission, jewellery and decorations  
[Credit: Vera Salnitskaya/Siberian Times]
The scene archaeologists uncovered in Arzhan 2 appears to match with remarkable accuracy a description by Herodotus of the macabre Scythian burial rite, where the king is buried along with his entourage and a female companion, his preferred concubine.

The individuals buried with the king were probably sacrificed, some perhaps with poison, while others were probably strangled.

The tomb contents are so unique and valuable that they cannot be exhibited abroad because of the high cost of insurance.

Source: Archaiologia Online [February 16, 2016]
TANN

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