Arzhan

Coordinates: 52°04′23″N 93°37′43″E / 52.0730787°N 93.628701°E / 52.0730787; 93.628701

Arzhan
Arzhan is located in Asia
Arzhan
Arzhan
Arzhan is located in Russia
Arzhan
Arzhan
Geographical rangeSouth Siberia
Dates9th to 8th centuries BC
One of the Arzhan kurgans

Arzhan (Russian: Аржан) is a site of early Scythian kurgan burials in the Tuva Republic, Russia, some 60 kilometers (40 mi) northwest of Kyzyl.[1] It is on a high plateau traversed by the Uyuk River, a minor tributary of the Yenisei River, in the region of Tuva.[2]

The "Arzhan culture" is considered as forming the initial Scythian period (8th–7th century BC), and precedes the Pazyryk culture.[3] The remains of Arzhan are among the earliest of all known Scythian cultures, which has led to suggestions that it is the origin of the Scythian "Animal Style".[4]

Arzhan kurgan

Arzhan-1 was excavated by M. P. Gryaznov in the 1970s, establishing the origins of Scythian culture in the region in the 9th to 8th centuries BCE. Further excavations were conducted in 1997 and in 1998-2003 (Arzhan-2). The excavations showed burials with rich grave goods including horses and gold artifacts. There are several hundred kurgans, arranged in parallel chains.

Arzhan-2 turned out to be an undisturbed burial; the builders created two central pits that were fake graves to throw off looters, and the main burial was 20 meters off-center.[5] It was first explored by a joint German and Russian archaeological expedition from 2000 to 2004.[5] They found the royal couple, sixteen murdered attendants, and 9,300 objects.[5] 5,700 of these artifacts were made of gold, weighing a Siberian record-breaking twenty kilograms.[5] The male, who researchers guess was some sort of king, wore a golden torc, a jacket decorated with 2,500 golden panther figurines, a gold-encrusted dagger on a belt, trousers sewn with golden beads, and gold-cuffed boots.[5] The woman wore a red cloak that was also covered in 2,500 golden panther figurines, as well as a golden-hilted iron dagger, a gold comb, and a wooden ladle with a golden handle.[5] The couple was buried together, suggesting that the woman was killed to keep the king company in the afterlife.[5] The tomb also had thousands of beads, including over four hundred made of Baltic amber.[5]

In 2017, the large royal burial mound Tunnug 1 (Arzhan 0), which dates to the same period as Arzhan-1, was investigated by a Russian-Swiss expedition.[6]

Significance

Arzhan has been a key element in archaeological evidence that now tends to suggest that the origins of Scythian culture, characterized by its kurgans burial mounds and its Animal style of the 1st millennium BC, are to be found among Eastern Scythians rather than their Western counterparts: eastern kurgans are older than western ones (such as the Altaic kurgan Arzhan 1 in Tuva), and elements of the Animal style are first attested in areas of the Yenisei river and modern-day China in the 10th century BCE.[7] The rapid spread of Scythian culture, from the Eastern Scythians to the Western Scythians, is also confirmed by significant east-to-west gene flow across the steppes during the 1st millennium BC.[8][7]

Recent archeological and genetic data suggests that the Western and Eastern Scythians of the 1st millennium BC originated independently, but both combine Yamnaya-related ancestry, which spread eastwards from the area of the European steppes,[8] with an East Asian-related component, which most closely corresponds to the modern North Siberian Nganasan people of the lower Yenisey River, to varying degrees, but generally higher among Eastern Scythians.[8]

Artefacts

See also

Further reading

  • Konstantin Čugunov, Hermann Parzinger, Anatoli Nagler: Der skythische Fürstengrabhügel von Aržan 2 in Tuva. Vorbericht der russisch-deutschen Ausgrabungen 2000-2002. In: Eurasia Antiqua 9 (2003), S. 113-162
  • А. Д. Грач. "Древние кочевники в центре Азии." Москва 1980.
  • M. P. Gryaznov: Der Großkurgan von Aržan in Tuva, Südsibirien. Materialien zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Archäologie 23. München 1984
  • А. М. Мандельштам. "Ранние кочевники скифского периода на территории Тувы." В М. Г. Мошкова, "Степная полоса азиатской части СССР в скифо-сарматское время". Археология СССР. Москва 1992

References

  1. ^ Armbruster, Barbara (2009). "Gold technology of the ancient Scythians–gold from the kurgan Arzhan 2, Tuva". ArcheoSciences. Revue d'archéométrie. 33: 187–193.
  2. ^ Chugunov, Konstantin; Anatoli, Nagler; Parzinger, Hermann (2001). "The Golden Grave from Arzhan" (PDF). Minerva. 13 (1): 39–42. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-08-16.
  3. ^ Murphy, Eileen M. (2003). "Iron Age Archaeology and Trauma from Aymyrlyg South Siberia: An examination of the health diet and lifestyles of the two Iron Age populations buried at the cemetery complex of Aymyrlyg". BAR International Series.
  4. ^ Murphy, Eileen M. (2003). "Iron Age Archaeology and Trauma from Aymyrlyg South Siberia: An examination of the health diet and lifestyles of the two Iron Age populations buried at the cemetery complex of Aymyrlyg". BAR International Series: 4. Dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating have ascribed the Arzhan Kurgan to the end of the 8th century BC (Bokovenko 1994b, 32). As such, it is considerably older than the generally recognised Scythian remains throughout the rest of the steppe region. The dating of the Arzhan Kurgan has been used to support the argument for an eastern Central Asian origin of the Animal Style of artwork and the entire Scythian World (Askarov et al 1992, 470).
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Man, John (2020). Empire of Horses: The First Nomadic Civilization and the Making of China. New York: Pegasus Books. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-64313-327-0.
  6. ^ Caspari, Gino; Sadykov, Timur; Blochin, Jegor; Hajdas, Irka (2018-09-01). "Tunnug 1 (Arzhan 0) – an early Scythian kurgan in Tuva Republic, Russia". Archaeological Research in Asia. 15: 82–87. doi:10.1016/j.ara.2017.11.001. ISSN 2352-2267. S2CID 135231553.
  7. ^ a b Unterländer, Martina; Palstra, Friso; Lazaridis, Iosif; Pilipenko, Aleksandr; Hofmanová, Zuzana; Groß, Melanie; Sell, Christian; Blöcher, Jens; Kirsanow, Karola; Rohland, Nadin; Rieger, Benjamin (2017-03-03). "Ancestry and demography and descendants of Iron Age nomads of the Eurasian Steppe". Nature Communications. 8: 14615. Bibcode:2017NatCo...814615U. doi:10.1038/ncomms14615. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 5337992. PMID 28256537. The origin of the widespread Scythian culture has long been debated in Eurasian archaeology. The northern Black Sea steppe was originally considered the homeland and centre of the Scythians until Terenozhkin formulated the hypothesis of a Central Asian origin. On the other hand, evidence supporting an east Eurasian origin includes the kurgan Arzhan 1 in Tuva, which is considered the earliest Scythian kurgan. Dating of additional burial sites situated in east and west Eurasia confirmed eastern kurgans as older than their western counterparts. Additionally, elements of the characteristic 'Animal Style' dated to the tenth century BCE were found in the region of the Yenisei river and modern-day China, supporting the early presence of Scythian culture in the East.
  8. ^ a b c Unterländer, Martina; Palstra, Friso; Lazaridis, Iosif; Pilipenko, Aleksandr; Hofmanová, Zuzana; Groß, Melanie; Sell, Christian; Blöcher, Jens; Kirsanow, Karola; Rohland, Nadin; Rieger, Benjamin (2017-03-03). "Ancestry and demography and descendants of Iron Age nomads of the Eurasian Steppe". Nature Communications. 8: 14615. Bibcode:2017NatCo...814615U. doi:10.1038/ncomms14615. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 5337992. PMID 28256537. Genomic inference reveals that Scythians in the east and the west of the steppe zone can best be described as a mixture of Yamnaya-related ancestry and an East Asian component. Demographic modelling suggests independent origins for eastern and western groups with ongoing gene-flow between them, plausibly explaining the striking uniformity of their material culture. We also find evidence that significant gene-flow from east to west Eurasia must have occurred early during the Iron Age." and "The blend of EHG [European hunter-gatherer] and Caucasian elements in carriers of the Yamnaya culture was formed on the European steppe and exported into Central Asia and Siberia

External links

  • Arzhan - a Scythian royal necropolis in Tuva, Southern Siberia
  • Archaeology in Tuva – Scythian Gold From Siberia Said to Predate the Greeks
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