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Valley of the Kings archaeologists unearth treasures in Siberia dating back 2,500 years

By: April Carson

A 50-year-old woman was buried with a one-of-a-kind "male" necklace. According to the Siberian Times, the unique jewelry was found during excavations of a Scythian burial mound in the Altai Republic.

A burial mound dating to more than 2,500 years ago has been discovered by archaeologists in the Siberian "Valley of the Kings." The ancient tomb contains the remains of five individuals, including those of a woman and child who were buried with numerous funerary goods, including a crescent moon-shaped pendant, bronze mirror, and gold earrings.

The mounds were created by the Scythians, a term that refers to culturally associated nomadic groups who lived on the steppes between the Black Sea and China from about 800 B.C. to A.D. 300.

The burial mound, known as a kurgan, is near to a previously excavated kurgan from a Scythian chieftain. According to Łukasz Oleszczak, an archaeologist at Jagiellonian University in Kraków who led the Polish team that worked alongside Russian archaeologists at the site, given the closeness of the woman's burial mound to the chief's — only 656 feet (200 meters) away — and the valuable artifacts buried with her, I believe she was a person of considerable importance in nomadic society.

The crescent pendant stood out, he continued. "She was interred with this item that we had assumed to be a sign of male burials given the similar-shaped pendants that had previously been discovered in men's graves in kurgans in southern Siberia," Oleszczak said.

For almost a century, archaeologists have known about the "Valley of the Kings" (a phrase coined by a journalist years ago, harkening back to Ancient Egypt's Valley of the Kings). This vast valley, known as Touran-Uyuk in Tuva, a Russian republic, is home to numerous Scythian royal graves.

The earliest known elite Sythian burial ever discovered is located in one of the previously excavated kurgans, which dates to the eighth or ninth century B.C. Many of these kurgans, on the other hand, have yet to be fully investigated.

At the request of Russian archaeologists, Oleszczak and his staff conducted digs in the valley during the 2019 and 2021 field seasons. According to Science in Poland, a news site coordinated by the Polish government and independent journalists, the kurgan is about 82 feet (25 m) in diameter and has a damaged, flattened center. According to Oleszczak, today's kurgan is only 12 inches (30 cm) tall.

Five burials were discovered during excavations. A looted burial chamber with weapons, including arrows, was discovered in one room at the kurgan's center. In another room, a skeleton was found with a bronze buckle and an animal skin cape.

"This is a sensational discovery," Oleszczak said in a statement on the Polish Academy of Sciences website. "We have not discovered anything like this in our excavations in the valley of the kings."

The researchers discovered the woman and youngster in an un looted wooden burial chamber with three layers of beams. "There aren't many trees in that region," Oleszczak said, explaining the abundance of wood. "Wood is a highly valuable commodity."

The woman died at approximately age 50, and the kid was 2 to 3 years old, according on an anatomical study. Near her head were a gold ornaments possibly part of a hat, an iron knife, and an engraved wooden comb secured with a leather loop to a bronze mirror, in addition to the crescent pendant. This comb-mirror pair had been put into a leather purse. It's not yet clear how the lady and child perished.

The burial of a young male warrior accompanied with weapons, including a knife, a whetstone, and gold ornaments, was found in another kurgan. On the outskirts of the kurgan, a pit contained the remains of an adolescent. "Graves of children on the perimeter or just outside the ditch surrounding the barrow are a regular feature of this early Scythian culture's funeral customs," Oleszczak said.

The researchers discovered relics of bronze objects outside the kurgan's perimeter, including dozens of horse-riding equipment fragments, a bronze ax, and a goat-shaped ornament, using a metal detector. These stuffs are most likely caused by deep plowing from a local farm community that existed in the region in the 20th century.

"We can say with certainty that the finds from this kurgan date back to the end of the 2nd or beginning of the 1st century BC," said Oleszczak.

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About the Blogger:

April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

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