Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tomb of "Saka Princess" Uncovered

Kazakhstan archaeologists discover Saka princess tomb
Monday, 03.06.2013, 15:13
Kazakhstan archaeologists found a tomb of a “Saka princess”, Tengrinews.kz reports citing head of the expedition TImur Smagulov.

The burial site of the high-ranking young woman was discovered during reconstruction of Taskesken-Bakty road in Urdzhar region of East-Kazakhstan oblast. An expedition made of professors and students of Semipalatinsk and Pavlodar pedagogical institutes discovered the stone tomb-chest with remains of the young woman at the depth of 1.7 meters under a burial mount.

The things found in at the burial site certify that the woman was from a distinguished tribe. According to the archaeologists, the golden head wear that looks like Kazakh Saukele (national headgear of women) is the most valuable item for the research. “The pointed golden head wear with zoomorphic ornaments has the top that looks like the arrows and is decorated with a spiral made of golden wire and jewels. A similar head wear used to be part of the official costume of the Saka tribe chieftains. It is quite possible that the woman was a daughter of a king of Saka Tigrakhauda tribe,” Timur Smagulov said.
I think this might be the flattened out gold crown.

According to him, it is quite possible that young Tomiris who later became a warrior-queen used to wear a similar head wear. According to the expedition’s members, ceramic and wooden vessels, as well as bones of a sacrificial sheep were also discovered in the tomb. Pieces of blue and green clothes remained on the woman’s remains. Golden earrings and a stone altar were found next to her head.

“According to the preliminary information, the tomb of the “Urdzhar princess” is dated 4th or 3rd century B.C.,” Smagulov said. According to him, a similar tomb discovered in Issyk burial mount (the "Golden Man").
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Further details about the 'princess' are revealed in a companion article:

Beheaded skeleton discovered next to Saka princess's tomb
Thursday, 06.06.2013, 19:07

Kazakhstan archaeologists have discovered a beheaded human skeleton next to the tomb of the “Saka princess”, Tengrinews.kz reports.

A famous restorer Krym Altynbekov has arrived to the archaeological site to prepare the remains for transportation to a laboratory in Almaty for further study. After the tests the anthropologists will be able to date the burial site more precisely.

According to the archaeologists, another tomb was discovered next to the tomb-chest. It contained a beheaded human skeleton without the right hand. The experts supposed that this could be a sacrifice place but stressed that it was only a guess. Besides, the scientists said that the second body was buried quite carelessly and was merely covered with rocks. It is quite possible that it was done intentionally to confuse potential tomb raiders.

According to the experts, the burial itself is dated around 3-4 century B.C.. It was discovered during an archaeological check made before reconstruction and repairs of a local road. The remains of the “princess” were only several meters away from the road.

The discovery is valuable, according to the archaeologists, because the remains are well preserved and the tomb-chest is intact and in quite a good condition. The discovery was called the “Saka princess” because of a Saukele headgear discovered it in. In its making and appearance it is similar to the one of Issyk’s Golden Man discovered in 1969. Clay and wooden wares containing sheep bones and jewelry were discovered as well. The woman was around 170 cm tall.

The works on cleaning the tomb-chest are being made by Alkei Margulan Archeology Institute. They have only found the remains and the head dress of the “Saka princess” so far. They do not preclude that there are more discoveries on the way.

By Daniyar Bozov

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