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Culture news, 03.03.2004 13:26

Archeological discoveries in Tuva on display in the Hermitage

Archeological discoveries in Tuva on display in the Hermitage Yesterday an exhibition "Arzhan. The Source in the Valley of Kings. Archeological discoveries in Tuva" opened in the Hermitage. It presents objects from a 'royal' burial site dating back to the Scythian period in Tuva. The show displays around 1000 articles of applied art, all of which are exhibited for the first time.

The investigation of Arzhan II, an undisturbed 'royal' burial site from the period of the Scythians in Tuva has come about through a joint Russian-German scholarly program.The excavations were carried out by the Central Asian Archeological Expedition created by the St Petersburg Branch of the Russian Research Institute into the Cultural and Natural Science Heritage under the RF Ministry of Culture and the Russian Academy of Sciences together with the Eurasian Section of the German Archeological Institute in Berlin and its director Professor Herman Parzinger as well as Dr. Anatolii Nagler. The excavation work was led by the head of the Central Asian Expedition, Konstantin V.Chugunov.

The Arzhan II barrow, which has a diameter of 80 meters, was investigated during the years 1998 - 2002. An extremely important result of the 2001 excavations was the discovery in the burial mound of an undisturbed grave dating from the 6th-5th centuries B.C. in which a man and woman were buried. The richness of the burial costume and articles accompanying the deceased tells us that they belonged to the very top level of the nomad nobility. For example, the clothing and headgear of the buried couple were embroidered with golden emblems and complemented by other decorations including grivnas, earrings, and pendants.

This was the first time that the State Hermitage undertook such a large volume of restoration and reconstruction work on archeological monuments. Members of the restoration commission, scholars, restorers and designers had to solve a great many highly complex issues.

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