Archaeologists working in Siberia have discovered an undisturbed ancient kurgan—a tomb of a Scythian prince. The tomb appears to be both the oldest and largest of its kind ever recorded in southern Siberia, according to a press release from the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Gino Caspari, an Swiss archaeologist with Bern University, first identified an intriguing circular structure while studying high-resolution satellite imagery of Siberia’s Uyuk River Valley and suspected it could be a kurgan, according to the press release. A collaboration between Caspari and researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences as well as the State Hermitage Museum carried out a preliminary dig in over the summer of 2017; they found that Caspari had been right. A paper describing the research was published in the scientific journal Archaeological Research in Asia.
The tomb, Tunnug 1, lies in a southern Siberian swamp that’s part of the Russian republic of Tuva. Caspari told Newsweek that the tomb dates to a crucial period around 3,000 years ago, between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, when “radical social changes” began to give rise to a nomadic culture. Read more.