The Araltobe ‘Second Golden Man’
22 October 2019

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In 1999, Kazakh archeologists found remains of a 2nd-century BC Sarmatian chief in one of the burial mounds at Araltobe Barrow, 200 kilometers away from the city Atyrau. The chief, widely known today as Kazakhstan’s Second Golden Warrior, was inferred in a gold-plated tunic together with his wife, two horses, an eagle and clay jars.

Archeologists unearthed a sword, a dagger, a spear, a quiver with arrows, a leather vessel and an iron staff covered with gold and decorated with griffon protomais by the chief’s side. The research team also uncovered hundreds of golden ornately shaped plates. Only chieftains, the nomadic elite or religious persons were inferred wearing burial consumes bedecked with golden ornately shaped plates.

The researchers sought to reproduce a holistic picture but were able to reconstruct only the remains of the chief.

The burial mound initially was of a round stone structure, 2 meters tall and 40 meters wide. The round shape of the structure was typical for Sarmatians who venerated a god of fire to who they offered horses in sacrifice. This is confirmed by a hearth with traces of deep calcine found in the center of the burial mound.

The Sarmatians were a people originally of Iranian stock who migrated from Central Asia to the Ural Mountains. Closely related to the Scythians, they were highly developed in horsemanship and warfare. Unmarried Sarmatian females, who took arms alongside men, may have inspired the Greek tales of the Amazons.