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Historical burial site containing child and noble woman remains discovered in South Kazakhstan

In one of the mounds © otyrar.kz In one of the mounds © otyrar.kz

Kazakhstani archaeologists have discovered artefacts of historical significance during excavation of the ancient settlement of Kultobe in South Kazakhstan.

The three mounds in Ordabasy district in South Kazakhstan Oblast contained remains of 12 people, including that of a child. They were all buried at different times.

The scientists believe they belong to the mysterious and poorly studied state of Kang-kü or Kangju. The state existed from the 2nd century BC until the 4th century AD and was a nomadic federation of unknown ethnic and linguistic origin. They were one of the greatest powers on the territory of Central Asia for about two centuries and even the Chinese had to reckon with this power in the West. Still, little is known about Kangju.


Alexandr Podushkin, leader of the excavations. © otyrar.kz

Scientific advisor of Kultobe excavations Aleksandr Podushkin said: “The religion of the time was Zoroastrianism. However, no signs of Zoroastrianism can be traced here. But we did find religious Dualism - the belief in the afterworld shows itself very clearly,” he is quoted as saying by 24.kz.

In addition to the human remains, the three tombs also contained more than 100 archeological artefacts, some of which were household items and precious jewellery dated back as far as 2000 years, Tengrinews reports citing Otyrar.kz. The latter include a beaded necklace, a gold pendant with ruby, ivory bracelets and rock crystal decoration of incredible beauty.


The archaeologists value this rock crystal beads with a ruby pendant framed in gold at 100,000 euros. © otyrar.kz

Another peculiarity of the discovery is the remains of a noble Sarmatian woman. Beside the body there lay a mirror and other items, which belonged to the diseased during her lifetime.


© otyrar.kz


© otyrar.kz


The status of the woman is supported by the artefacts found nearby: a mirror, an incense burner, a knife and many jewelery pieces. © otyrar.kz


The woman’s dress was embroidered with eighty rolled gold plates. © otyrar.kz


A characteristic feature of the burial is that it is five meters deep. © otyrar.kz

Leader of the expedition Alexander Podushkin also said: "We found hundreds of completely different artifacts. These are clothing and household items, knives, but most importantly - we found more than 100 jewelry pieces, which has never happened before. In addition, the five meter deep burials point to the fact that the people here lived well.”


Students were among those, who made the discovery. © otyrar.kz


© otyrar.kz

Both female and male remains were in the tombs. The archeologies suppose that the burial belongs to a Sarmatian tribe. The historians believe that Kangju state was polyethnic and consisted of Sarmatians, Saks (Saka), Huns and possibly Alans.


This is probably a bronze figure of a bird, which could have been used in rituals. © otyrar.kz


© otyrar.kz


The artefacts are relatively well preserved. Some of the items are almost undamaged. © otyrar.kz


© otyrar.kz

The jewelry is more than 2,000 years old.  It appears that two millennia ago people were able to make jewelry from materials that are now worked with special equipment.


Signet with a characteristic pattern belonged to an affluent man. © otyrar.kz

One of three mounds contained 10 pitchers. According to the archaeologists, this is very rare. Earlier, a maximum of seven vessels were found in a single tomb.

The work at the site is not completed with only three mounds excavated. The scientists will examine the human remains, household items and jewelry in greater detail later. Nevertheless, the high significance of these findings is already obvious.

Excavations of Kultobe mounds have been underway for several years. Earlier, unique ceramic brick-tables were found here. These 13 epigraphic artifacts included two nearly complete texts and eleven fragments.

By Dinara Urazova

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