Russian Archaeologists Unearth Jewels in Burial Mound of Ancient Female Warrior

Courtesy Russian Academy of Sciences

The burial site

Archaeologists working near the site of a new airport in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, have discovered a jewel-filled burial mound of a female warrior from the first century.

The Daily Mail reports that experts from the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences said that the woman was a Sarmatian fighter. The Sarmatians were a nomadic people who lived in central Asia from the fifth century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. and are widely believed to be the inspiration for the Amazon people in Greek mythology.

The woman was buried with gold and silver jewelry, a gemstone on her chest, and more than 100 arrowheads.

“Most of the burials on this site are plundered and, of course, it is great luck to find an intact one,” said archaeologist Roman Mimokhod.

Mimokhod detailed the contents of the grave: 

“Next to her skull, gold earrings with pendant chains were found, while a bronze mirror was close to her shoulder. The collar of her dress was decorated with stamped buckles of gold leaf in the form of a stylized ram’s head. Her sleeves were embroidered with colorful beads combined with gold triangular and hemispherical plaques. On each hand, a gold bracelet. On her breasts were various beads, among which was a gem with a single-line of Phoenician or early Aramaic inscription. At her pelvis lay a gold vial. This had a tight lid, and its contents are fossilized. We will analyze this to understand what it was, but most likely it contained some incense.”

Preliminary dating of the contents of the burial found items dated from the first century B.C. to the first century A.D, a wide timespan for one gravesite.

“It is rather unique,” Mimokhod said. “I have not see such a combination before and have not heard about it. This can mean that the most ancient things were handed down for a long time and finally were buried with this noblewoman.”