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Solid gold artifacts found on a farm in Russia, suggests Scythian ritual grounds location

The Scythians were Eurasian nomads, who traveled the continental landmass of Europe and Asia from about 9th century BC up until the 4th century ADThey were known as great horsemen, warriors, and invaders, therefore portrayed as such on artifacts discovered throughout time, an example of which is a gold comb, dating to the late 5th to earth 4th century B.C found in a royal tomb of Solokha, Eastern Ukraine.

The collection of finds discovered in the burial mound

Separate tribes spoke the same language and were united in some ways, but not believed to be governed by one body.  Historic finds reveal that separate tribes had, for example, differences in their artistic expression as well as burial practices. They also had no written language. Being constantly on the move left no traces of settlement. Most of what we know today about them are from writings of other cultures of which the main source is the Greeks. The word Scythian was first used by the Greek historian Herodotus.


Scythians

About 30 miles east of Stavropol, stands a burial mound, called a kurgan.  Throughout the Caucasus, there are similar burial mounds, marking the final resting place of members of the tribe. The discovery of the treasure-filled mound is no surprise.  Deep inside the earth‘s layer lay buried a stone box, containing partial remains of a juvenile.
With it, was buried two gold vessels, three gold armbands, a ring and three smaller bells shaped gold cups.  It tells the story of a wealthy tribe, but the reason for the human remains is uncertain.  There were postholes near the stone box, suggesting something like tree trunks were pressed down in the earth to support a pavilion or roof and 
furthermore a substantial construction positioned on the mound was found, which makes the likeliness of an altar or ritual ground even more probable.
Finding solid gold items are not as often as that of items made of bronze or silver.  Whatever the material the items are made of, they all hold a significant value and great historical importance.

The solid gold vessels are believed not to have been manufactured by Scythian craftsman, but ancient Greek ones, who may have been contracted. The holes in the bottoms suggest that it was not intended for practical use, but instead ornamental.  These types of vessel shaped items have been found in other burial mounds before and is believed to have been used to hang on horse bridles.


A Scythian horse with decoration

The estimated date which the items found near Stravropol were buried is 2,400 years ago. Black residue found on the vessels suggests that these specific ones were used in a ritual in which mind-altering substances such as opium and cannabis were burned.  These rituals were described by the ancient author Herodotus. 
One of the vessels features a flat bottom. On one side is an image of two griffins destroying a stag; on the other a different scene of similar type. The presentation of bare ground and lifeless trees suggests a season of Fall or Winter. 


The gold finds at the site where it was discovered

The other vessel features a curved bottom and decorated with a vivid scene of Scythian warriors in combat.  Turning the vessel to the side, reveals a scene of an elderly man, stabbing a younger warrior in the neck. They are pictured in grassland and a scene of trees suggests either a spring or summer season.  A story told by Herodotus could possibly have relation to the scenes engraved on these vessels. Scythian men were away from home, years at a time, starting war and invading neighboring settlements to in the south.
When time proceeded far, Scythian wives married slaves and started new families.  The warriors eventually returned home to find new rivals inhabiting their homes.  Battles would break out between the returning warriors and new inhabitants.  



Especially the scene of an elderly man attacking a younger one may have reference to the fights between the older, returning warriors and younger rivals. Finds of artifacts and the writings of Herodotus have provided insightful knowledge, still there is much to be discovered from this historic tribe.

                                     

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