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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.’
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
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.