#AceHistory2Research – PETERSBURG – April 07 – Russian scholars from the State Hermitage Museum have concluded that a discovery of Scythian gold in a Siberian grave last summer is the earliest of its kind ever found and that it pre-dates Greek influence.
The find is leading to a change in how scholars view the supposed barbaric, nomadic tribes that once roamed the Eurasian steppes.
The dig near Kyzyl, the capital of the Siberian republic of Tuva, revealed almost 5,000 decorative gold pieces — earrings, pendants and beads — that adorned the bodies of a Scythian man and woman, presumably royalty, and dated from the fifth or sixth centuries B.C. In addition to the gold, which weighed almost 44 pounds, the archaeologists discovered items made of iron, turquoise, amber and wood.
“There are many great works of art — figures of animals, necklaces, pins with animals carved into a golden surface,” said Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum. “It is an encyclopedia of Scythian animal art because you have all the animals which roamed the region, such as panther, lions, camels, deer, etc. This is the original Scythian style, from the Altai region, which eventually came to the Black Sea region and finally in contact with ancient Greece, and it resembles almost an Art Nouveau style.”
Russian and German archaeologists excavated a Scythian burial mound on a grassy plain that locals have long called the Valley of the Kings because of the large number of burial mounds of Scythian and other ancient nomadic royalty.
The fierce nomadic Scythian tribes roamed the Eurasian steppe, from the northern borders of China to the Black Sea region, in the seventh to third centuries B.C. In the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. they interacted with the ancient Greeks who had colonized the Black Sea region, which is now in Ukraine and southern Russia.
Not surprisingly ancient Greek influence was evident in Scythian gold previously discovered, but the recent find dates from before contact with the Greeks and from the heart of Siberia where, scholars say, contact with outsiders can almost be excluded.
After its discovery, the treasure was sent to the Hermitage Museum for storage and restoration, and it will stay there until Tuva can build a museum to house the items. This is in accordance with Russian Federation law stating that items be displayed in their place of discovery so long as local authorities provide the proper conditions.
Building such a museum is years away, however, Dr. Piotrovksy said. Until then they will remain in the Hermitage, and at some point will be put on display.
Recently arguments are in existence over who should be looking after the gold and “If the collection does not return to its legal owners in the near future, the question of taking any items of cultural value out of Crimea to European countries will be removed from the agenda,” Kosarev said to (Tass).
Scythian gold collection should be returned to Crimea – Russian State Duma speaker
“We are going to regard it as an absolutely disgraceful attitude on the part of Europeans to the idea of museum cooperation,” Kosarev added.
The Scythian gold was taken out of Crimean museums for an exhibition in the Netherlands. “It belongs to Crimea and not Ukraine,” Kosarev emphasized.
“The Scythian golden items and other historical artifacts were found in the territory of our republic. They were described, stored and exhibited in our museums,” Kosarev said, wondering who else could claim the right to the Scythian gold if the collection had been collected in the Republic of Crimea and had left abroad from the Crimean territory.
If the collection does not return to Crimea, the republic will challenge this decision to the very “end”, Kosarev stressed.
According to him, Europe will lose a lot if it hands over the collection to Kiev.