The Tomb of the Scythian Prince: Go back in time of the Scythian, these mysterious fearless riders. An incredible archaeological treasure-trove sheds a new light on the life of these nomadic conquerors from Eurasia. The Scythians, skilled horsemen and nomadic conquerors, built a feared Empire in the vast Eurasian steppe between the 9th and 2rd century B.C. The only remaining traces of this people are their graves: the Kurgans. In April 1999, a French-Italian and Kazakh scientific team announced the exceptional discovery of a 2400 year-old Scythian tomb in Kazakhstan.
The incredible archaeological treasure-trove reveals amongst others, twelve horses completely harnessed in gold, the object of a ritual sacrifice, that have rested for more than 2,000 years in these frozen lands of Altai. Their precious metal adornments elevate them to the rank of divinities and reveal the importance of the social stratum of the deceased. Next to the mummified bodies still wrapped in their shrouds, rest wooden statuettes covered with gold, rare metal objects, embroidered fabrics, gold coins, pendants with animal decoration.
All the objects unearthed are unique, there is no replica, no equivalent among the many excavations made over several centuries on this civilization. These spectacular excavations will shed new light on this eastern fringe of the Scythian civilization, the Saka, and make better known this mysterious nomadic people and the life of their fearless riders on whom Herodotos wrote extensively in Antiquity.
The Tomb of the Scythian Prince
The Scythians were a nomadic Indo-European people who inhabited the western and central parts of the Eurasian Steppe, stretching from modern-day Ukraine and Russia to Mongolia and China. Their expertise in horsemanship, archery, and unique nomadic lifestyle made them a significant power in the ancient world.
Firstly, the Scythians were skilled horse riders and used their equestrian abilities to their advantage in battles. Their mobility allowed them to quickly evade enemies and gave them an upper hand in conflicts. This earned them a fearsome reputation, making neighboring tribes and civilizations tremble at the mention of their name.
Moreover, the Scythians were proficient archers and utilized their bow skills effectively in combat. They often poisoned their arrows, increasing the damage they could inflict. They also used their horses as a form of mobile defense, making it challenging for enemies to approach them.
Additionally, the Scythians lived a nomadic lifestyle and traveled with their herds of horses and livestock. They constructed portable tents called “yurts” that served as their homes. Their ability to move quickly allowed them to adapt to changing environments and escape danger. Their nomadic lifestyle also enabled them to trade with various cultures, exchanging goods and ideas.
Contrary to popular belief, the Scythians were not just warriors. They were a cultured people and produced stunning art, such as intricate metalwork and tattoos. They also had a comprehensive system of laws and beliefs, including the belief in an afterlife.
The Scythians or Scyths, and sometimes also referred to as the Classical Scythians and the Pontic Scythians, were an ancient Eastern Iranian equestrian nomadic people who had migrated from Central Asia to the Pontic Steppe in modern-day Ukraine and Southern Russia from approximately the 7th century BC until the 3rd century BC.
Skilled in mounted warfare, the Scythians replaced the Cimmerians as the dominant power on the Pontic Steppe in the 8th century BC. In the 7th century BC, the Scythians crossed the Caucasus Mountains and frequently raided West Asia along with the Cimmerians. After being expelled from West Asia by the Medes, the Scythians retreated back into the Pontic Steppe and were gradually conquered by the Sarmatians. In the late 2nd century BC, the capital of the largely Hellenized Scythians at Scythian Neapolis in the Crimea was captured by Mithridates VI and their territories incorporated into the Bosporan Kingdom.
By the 3rd century AD, the Sarmatians and last remnants of the Scythians were overwhelmed by the Goths, and by the early Middle Ages, the Scythians and the Sarmatians had been largely assimilated and absorbed by early Slavs. The Scythians were instrumental in the ethnogenesis of the Ossetians, who are believed to be descended from the Alans.