Indo-Europeans in the Altai Mountains Part 1 of 5
Excavation of a royal Scythian Kurgan (burial mound)
The Scythians were ancient nomadic Iranian tribes that had a horse riding warrior culture who from about 900 BC to about 200 BC lived on the Eurasian Steppe. They were related to the Medes and Persians. Much of the surviving information about the Scythians comes from the Greek historian Herodotus (c. 440 BC) in his Histories and Ovid in his poem of exile Epistulae ex Ponto, and archaeologically from the exquisite gold work found in Scythian burial mounds in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Southern Russia. The name "Scythian" has also been used to refer to some other nomadic horse riding warrior cultures seen as similar to the Scythians, or who lived anywhere on the vast short grass prairies covering present day Kazakhstan, Southern Russia, and Southern Ukraine known as the steppes. The Romans called the Goths Scythians but they were really a North Germanic tribe not Iranian.
The Altai Mountains echo a legendary past when mounted warriors once ruled these high plateaus, where towering stone monuments reach toward the heavens. Golden treasures from these days are rare and enigmatic. But new finds cast light on a culture cloaked in mystery: Sacrificed animals, valued possessions, and a startling emissary from this age of warriors a 2400 year old woman frozen in time. But this Ice Maiden will not be left to rest. Removed from the grave, her body has traveled half way around the world to be displayed and admired. Now, she is returning to Siberia, back to the scientist who discovered her, and who hopes to learn more of the Ice Maiden's secrets.