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Weapons, treasures found in 2,000-year-old Russian mountain grave

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The remains of an ancient warrior buried wearing golden jewelery and with his sword positioned between his legs have been discovered in Russia. Amazed scientists marveled at the array of artifacts found within the 2,200-year-old necropolis, even more remarkable as the site had already been raided by grave-robbers.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The warrior was buried wearing chain-mail. Two swords and a pair of bronze helmets were also found. One of the helmets was inscribed with curled sheep horns. A sword, 36-inches long was found resting between his legs.

Scientists believe the warrior, whose burial place was located near the town of Mezmay in the Caucasus, was a "chief of a people," rather than the head of a town or city. Animal remains were also found in the grave, including three horses, a cow and a wild boar skull.

A researcher at the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences Institute of Archaeology, Valentina Mordvintseva said that the animals "were particularly valuable among barbarian peoples of the ancient world."

"It was [a] sign of [the] great importance of the buried person, which was shown by his relatives and his tribe," she told journalists.

The bones of other animals and pottery found in the grave suggest that a feast was held to mark the warrior's death.

Writing in the journal "Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia," the team behind the discovery detailed the 12 gold artifacts discovered, which included a gold brooch, measuring 2.3 by 1.9 inches, with a rock crystal fixed in its centre.

Something the scientists had never come across before were two swords also included gold decorations.

A smaller 19-inch sword featured a gold plate, leading the team to note "actual fact that these articles were used to decorate weapons sets them apart in a category all of their own, which has so far not been recorded anywhere else."

Grave robbers first discovered the necropolis in 2004, a year before excavations began at the site. Researchers believe the grave was used between the third century BC and the beginning of the second century AD, but they could not link the artifacts with any particular culture.

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