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British Academy publishes new article on Scythian burial mounds in Eurasia

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The British Academy has published a new article exploring the phenomena of ‘Kurgans’ – huge burial mounds of riding nomads of the Scythian period (9th century – 1st century BC).

In ‘Burial mounds of Scythian elites in the Eurasian steppe: New discoveries’, published in the Journal of the British Academy, author Hermann Parzinger examines the findings from his previous 20 years of investigating kurgans in the steppe belt of Eurasia (modern day Kazakhstan, southern Siberia, the Ural region and the northern Caucasus).

Kurgans were first investigated in southern Ukraine and southern Russia, the core area of Scythian tribes according to Herodotus.

East of the Ural Mountains, however, the kurgans are less known, as very few of these burial mounds have been decently excavated.

But in the last 20 years Parzinger has led several Russian–German projects dedicated to better understanding the kurgans, which have contributed an enormous amount of new information about the complexity of the burial monuments.

Hermann Parzinger is a German historian who specialises in the culture of the Scythians. He has been president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation since 1 March 2008.

The British Museum’s ‘Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia’ exhibition runs until January 14 2018.

The article is available to read for free online.