Remains of ancient warrior found buried with his horse

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The unearthed burial mound revealed the remains of a high-ranking Scythian warrior. Photos: Russian Interior Ministry
The unearthed burial mound revealed the remains of a high-ranking Scythian warrior. Photos: Russian Interior Ministry

Archaeologists in Russia have uncovered the 2500-year-old remains of a high-ranking warrior buried with his horse.

The archaeologists discovered two Scythian burial mounds in the Altai territory, on the outskirts of the village of Krasny Ya.

The Scythians were Iranian nomads who moved around large areas of the central Eurasian steppes from the 9th century BC till around the fourth century AD. They are considered to be among the earliest peoples to master mounted warfare.

The archaeological team, a joint initiative between the Russian Interior Ministry and the
Barnaul Law Institute, was fortunate to have pinpointed the mounds as ploughing by local farmers had rendered them almost invisible.

The team, which included personnel from the Research Institute of Humanitarian Studies at Altai State University, focused on a 182 square metre area, where they unearthed the two mounds.

The archaeological team at work.
The archaeological team at work.

The richest yield came from the one belonging to the Scythian warrior, who was buried with his horse. His grave included a belt set made up of several metals, a Scythian sword, and small flakes of gold foil that the researchers believe had adorned his clothes. They also found remnants of a leather belt, iron bits and other accompanying equipment, including a funeral meal, from which only lamb bones remained.

Associate Professor Alexander Kazakov, head of research and publishing with the Interior Ministry, said the dig team paid particular attention to the structure of the mound, which included, among other elements, a ring of stone.

Student Alain Naumov, who was involved in the dig, said the research presented a unique chance to touch history in the literal sense, and discover something new. He said it involved a lot of work in challenging weather. “But we were all ready for it. It’s nice to know that we have contributed to the preservation of cultural heritage.”

The unearthed items will undergo careful scientific scrutiny and reconstruction before being placed with the Barnaul Law Institute. They are likely to end up on display in a state museum.

A bronze chisel and iron Scythian sword were found with the warrior.
A bronze chisel and iron Scythian sword were found with the warrior.
The dig team excavated two Scythian burial mounds.
The dig team excavated two Scythian burial mounds.

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