Previously, we had talked about the Scythian penchant for gold-made artifacts. Well, as it turns out, their nomadic brethren in Kazakhstan were no less allured by the precious metal. To that end, archaeologists excavating a site in the remote Tarbagatai Mountains in East Kazakhstan came across what they have dubbed as the ‘Golden Man’ mummy. Dating from circa 7th-8th century BC, the mummy was originally draped and bedecked ostentatiously in various gold-made objects and jewelry.
According to the press release put forth by the country’s ministry of information and communications –
Anthropologists say the mound is a burial place of a young man aged from 17 to 18 who was some 165-170 centimeters tall. All the burial items are well-preserved making it possible to visualize his garments and appearance. When buried, the young man was dressed in gold, with all of his clothes being embroidered with gold beads. The man was buried with a massive gold torc around his neck (suggesting his noble origin) and a dagger in a golden quiver beside him.
Yegor Kitov, an invited anthropologist from Moscow’s Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, made his statement which mirrored the ‘noble origin’ hypothesis –
The finds and the size of the mound suggest that the young man buried inside had a high social status. The body was mummified to allow time for those coming from far away to say farewell to the man.
Danial Akhmentov, head of the East Kazakhstan regional administration, also talked about how the gold objects found in the grave of the ‘Golden Man’ allude to the scenario where the Iron Age population in the steppe region made technological developments in crafting and jewelry production. Similarly, the proximate (and later) Scythians demonstrated their expertise in creating fascinating specimens of gold-made artworks and artifacts – as could be gathered numerous specimens found in the kurgans (burial mounds) strewn across from Siberia to Ukraine.
The case in point was made by the incredible discovery (in 2003) of a relatively unharmed kurgan located in the Republic of Tuva, which is a little-known precinct of Siberia. This expedition headed by Konstantin Chugunov of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, unveiled two skeletal remains accompanied by lots and lots of gold. The amazing hoard comprised a whopping 5,700 pieces of gold objects – including a gorytus (a combination of quiver and bow case), an impressively robust chest pectoral (an ornament that weighed over 3.3 lbs), a small pectoral, foot-long headdress pins, gold-inlaid daggers, and small animal figures of lions and boars.
And lastly, reverting to this ‘Golden Man’ discovery made in Kazakhstan, archeologist Zeinolla Samashev, who led the excavation project, talked about the importance of deeper investigation that could shed light on the cultural fabric of the Iron Age people of this area –
We will do a facial reconstruction from the skull of this young man, extract DNA from the bones to find out the environment people lived in back then, to learn about their everyday life and habits.
All ImagesValery Sharifulin/TASS