Archaeologists believe to have uncovered what may be the oldest and largest tomb of a Scythian prince, at Uyuk River valley, Russian Republic of Tuva.
The site was discovered by Swiss archaeologist Gino Caspari on high-resolution satellite images of the Uyuk River valley in South Siberia. A join team of scientists from Bern University, Russian Academy of Sciences and the Hermitage Museum have identified the structure as a kurgan, a Scythian princely tomb. The region in which the discovery is made is referred to as the Siberian Valley of Kings due to a high number of such structures found there. The researchers have found wooden beams that possibly created the walls of the burial chamber. They date back to the 9th century BC, earlier than the kurgan known as Arzhan 1, which was excavated in 1970 and dates back to the turn of the 9th to the 8th century BC.
The newly discovered structure, known as Arzhan 0, was located within a remote area which made it hard for potential robbers to reach. It is located around 10 kilometres away from the Arzhan 1 site. The earliest princely tombs consist of a stone packing with a circular arrangement of chambers. The walls of the chambers are made of larch logs. Scythian burial objects typically include weapons, horse’s harnesses and objects decorated in the so-called animal style. The research is scheduled to be continued after the snow melts in order to reach the deeper layers which might contain organic material, including the possibly mummified remains locked in permafrost.
(after Science Daily, Swiss National Science Foundation, Smithsonian, Gino Caspari, Timur Sadykov, Jegor Blochin & Irka Hajdas)