The collection of unique archeological finds, discovered in the summer of 2001 by a joint Russian-German expedition, headed by Konstantin Chugunov in the Valley of Tzars (Pii-Khem district, Tuva), after 5 years in the laboratories of the Ermitage, and after almost a year of being exhibited with great success in the museums of Germany, as part of the exhibition “Tombs of Scythian Kings’, finally returned to Tuva.
“This is definitely a historical event,- Sholban Kara-ool, the premier of Tuva, told the reporters gathered at he museum for a press-conference. – Three thousand years ago, Scythians lived on the territory of Tuva, with a high level of culture, high level of civilization. The treasures of the collection, their return to Tuva, is a great step towards the rebirth of our spirituality, it is an offering of respect to our ancestors.”
The director of the State Ermitage, Mikhail Piotrovski, called the results of the archeological excavations at the Valley of the Tzars “the main archeological discovery of the 21st Century.
11,000 artefacts traveled more that 6,000 km throughout Russia in an armored vehicle with escort of ROSINKASS employees.
It does not seem possible at this time to place the collection in the new museum building, under appropriately “armored”, secured conditions. The Judicial branch of the Great Khural refused to apportion means from the budget for the technology necessary for protection of such treasures. The collection will have to be introduced to the public later. The idea of archeologists from St.Petersburg, concerning the museification of the kurgan, is under realization. On July28, in the framework of the international symposium “Khoomei – a cultural phenomenon of nations of Central Asia” , an open-air museum at the location of the “Arzhaan-2” kurgan was to be opened..
Remember, that in 2001, Konstantin Chugunov’s expedition discovered an intact tomb: on the bottom of the burial chamber, a log construction walled with trunks of the Siberian larch, bodies of a man and a woman were found. Both were clothed in outfits decorated by almost 5 thousand of sewn-on small gold objects in the image of animals of the cat family. The man’s pants were embroidered with delicate gold beading, the boots were covered with gold leaf. The headdresses of both were decorated with gold images of horses, deer, panthers. The woman’s headdress was topped with long gold hairpins with engravings in the so-called Scythian Animal Style.
The next year, the research of the unique kurgan continued. In the kurgan, the remains of 14 horses were discovered, and with them, bridles of bronze, mane decorations, and tail decorations made of gold foil. Altogether 19 burial complexes were researched. At the same time, the central part of the kurgan, despite the expectations of the archeologists, did not contain burials, but the other tombs held burials with numerous accompanying objects – knives, pickaxes, arrowheads, mirrors, beads, and, aside from that, extremely well preserved fragments of clothing of felt and furs.
This find radically changed the concept about the origin of the Scythians in the Black Sea area – these newly discovered burials were shown to be much older than any heretofore known finds of nomadic peoples material from the Black Sea.
“There is no analogy in archeology to the finds from the kurgan “Arzhaan-2”,- said Konstantin Chugunov in his interview. – All the parts of the components of the Scythian Triad are so extremely well developed, that at first we could not even imagine that they were made earlier than in 6th Century BC. Thorough analysis of both the “Kings” burials and those of the “commoners”, not belonging to the upper level of the society, showed that they were actually from 7th Century BC. This completely turned over the concepts about the Asian nomadic cultures. Now one can speak about the origins and development of Scythian art, which exceeds by the level of development the art of Ancient Greece, which was contemporaneous to it, in a totally different way.
The extreme old age of these finds documents the fact that Scythian peoples came to the Black Sea area from Inner Asia.