The fascinating discovery of a golden treasure left by the ancient Saka people in a burial mound in Kazakhstan was reported by Ancient Origins last week.
The man’s remains were removed from the site for analysis.
It was hailed as one of the most important discoveries in helping archaeologists in deciphering the ancient Scythian sub-group. group’s Archaeologists have now discovered the missing component of the Saka burial mound – a ‘golden man.’
The mummy of a Saka man who died in the 8th-7th centuries BC was discovered in the remote Tarbagatai Mountains of eastern Kazakhstan, according to Archaeology News Network.
He died when he was just 17 or 18 years old and it is estimated he was 165-170 centimetres (5.4-5.6 ft.) tall.
There are plans underway to find out more about the man, as lead archaeologist Zeinolla Samashev, stated, “We will do facial reconstruction from the skull of this young man, extract DNA from the bones to find out the environment people lived in back then, to learn about their everyday life and habits”.
Kazakhstan’s ministry of information and communications explained why the human remains received their shining nickname, “When buried, the young man was dressed in gold, with all of his clothes being embroidered with gold beads.
The man was buried with a massive gold torc around his neck (suggesting his noble origin) and a dagger in a golden quiver beside him.”
These gold beads would have been used to decorate his clothing.
That fits in well with the previous discovery of 3000 golden artefacts in the kurgan (burial mound).
Archaeologists have unearthed plates, necklaces with precious stones, earrings, beautifully crafted figurines of animals, and golden beads which may have been used to embellish Saka clothing.
The find also corresponds with the belief that elite members of the culture were laid to rest in the Saka burial mound.
As Yegor Kitov, an anthropologist at Moscow’s Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, said, “The finds and the size of the mound suggest that the young man buried inside had a high social status.” Kitov also suggests “The body was mummified to allow time for those coming from far away to say farewell to the man,” further exemplifying the man’s social status in his time.
The burial mound which held the man’s remains was created by members of the Saka culture. This was a Scythian nomadic group who spoke an Iranian language and lived on the Eurasian Steppe. The Saka is best remembered as skilled horsemen and metalworkers.
Danial Akhmentov, head of the East Kazakhstan regional administration, notes the craftsmanship of the Saka in the recently revealed treasures from the burial mound, “The finds indicate the high level of technological development in gold jewellery production in the 8th century B.C., which, in turn, suggests the high level of civilization at that time,” he said.
The Saka is known to have buried members of the elite in their kurgans, usually in pairs or as a family unit. That means that there may still be other skeletons inside the Yeleke Sazy burial mound.
One of the gold figurines was found in the treasure.
There are still more plans to excavate in the area because estimates suggest that there may be 200 burial sites in varying states of conservation nearby. Unfortunately, it is believed that looting has been an issue in at least some of the kurgans.
Akhmetov said that the discovery of the burial mound “shows that the people of Kazakhstan are descended from a great culture” and “gives us a completely different view of the history of our people.”