Kazakh Archeologists Discover Ancient Scythian “Sun Lord”
Archeologists in Kazakhstan have discovered the grave of a gold-clad ancient Scythian warrior who has already earned himself a nickname: “The Sun Lord.” Researchers uncovered the find in a Scythian grave consisting of seven burial mounds in Karaganda Region east of the capital, Astana.The opulence of the warrior’s burial indicates that he was a leader as well as a fighter, expedition leader Arman Beysenov explained. “He was probably a ruler and a warrior simultaneously,” Beysenov said in remarks quoted by the Kazinform news agency on July 16. “The person’s torso was entirely covered with gold. The figure of a leader like this was associated with the sun. He was a sort of ‘sun lord.’”The warrior was likely buried in the 4th or 5th century BC in a grave that was actually discovered half a century ago, though excavation work only started last year.Robbers had looted the grave in ancient times, Beysenov said, but it still contained quite a horde of ancient treasure. One of the burial mounds alone yielded 130 gold objects that included the figure of a feline predator, pendants and parts of sword belts. Archeologists also found hundreds of gold beads and 14 bronze arrowheads in the grave.Inevitably, the archeological discovery is being trumpeted as comparable to that of the Golden Man, found in the Issyk burial mound just outside Kazakhstan’s commercial capital, Almaty, in 1969. The Golden Man, who’s believed to have been a young Scythian prince who lived in the 4th or 5th century BC, was interred wearing some 4,000 gold ornaments.He has become a national symbol -- the image of the Golden Man, with his trademark conical gold headdress, decorates the monument to independence on Almaty’s Republic Square, and in 2006 President Nursultan Nazarbayev unveiled a statue of him outside the Kazakh Embassy in Washington. The original is on display at Almaty’s Museum of Gold.Archeologists are now hoping that their digs in eastern Kazakhstan will reveal more information about the glorious “Sun Lord,” the latest find from the Scythian past.
Joanna Lillis is a journalist based in Almaty and author of Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan.
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