Scythian Remains, Artifacts From Grave Taken to Kiev

KIEV -- The skeletons of a Scythian tribal chief, his servant, and his decapitated horse were brought to Kiev 2,300 years after their deaths.


Archaeologists uncovered the remains last month from a burial cave 150 kilometers south of Kiev. Gold and silver artifacts and ancient Greek pottery were also found. The items were brought to Kiev on Friday.


The chief was found lying on a raised platform with a golden sword still in his hand and his servant next to him. The horse and its head lay nearby -- thought to be a traditional burial custom. Tapestries were nailed to the cave's walls with wooden pegs.


"This treasure will remain in Ukraine and we hope that we will be able to exhibit it all over the world," archaeologist Serhiy Skory said.


A nomadic and warlike people, Scythians settled on the steppes of Ukraine north of the Black Sea in the seventh century B.C., living there until their kingdom was destroyed by the Sarmatians 400 years later.


"When we found this burial site we couldn't believe our eyes. There were about 600 items, many of them made of gold or silver," Skory said.


The site itself consisted of a giant earthen mound built about 12 meters high and four meters deep.


Skory said there were more than 3,000 Scythian burial sites in Ukraine, but most had been looted a few years after the burial.


The roof of this site collapsed, hiding it from view and creating perfect conditions to preserve the artifacts.