The collection of Scythian golden articles from the burial hills Arjaan-1 and Arjaan-2 is probably the most unique exhibit in the National Museum. The burial hills Arjaan-1 and Arjaan-2 were excavated in the Valley of the Kings in Tuva at the beginning of the 2000s.
The grave Arjaan-2 is dated to the 6th-5th century B.C. About 9,000 gold ornaments and articles weighing in total over 20 kilograms of gold of two nine fineness were taken from the burial hill. Scientists believe that Arjaan-2 was a burial hill of a married couple from the Scythian elite. A massive torc (a symbol of power) and Scythian headdresses decorated with golden plates in the form of horses and deer, as well as iron weapons inlaid with gold, were found there.
Out of the public eye, this collection is called «the most important archaeological discovery of the 21st century». Having studied them, one of the heads of the expedition that discovered the articles, the Hermitage senior researcher Konstantin Chugunov, pointed out that the age of the discovered grave raises questions about the theory of the Black Sea origin of the Scythians. Central Asia could be their motherland.
In March 2004, articles from the collection were presented at an exhibition in the Hermitage, and in 2006-2008, the collection toured Germany. In 2008, the year of the opening of the new building of Aldan-Maadyr National Museum, the collection returned to the museum. The Scythian gold is placed in the museum in the bulletproof showcases in halls with cutting-edge security systems.
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