Maikop Kurgan


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Maikop Kurgan

 

an early Bronze Age remain dating from the end of the third millennium B.C. Located in what is now the city of Maikop, it was investigated by N. I. Veselovskii in 1897.

The 11-m high kurgan contained an extremely rich burial of a tribal chief and his two wives. The chief was buried under a sumptuous canopy supported by four silver posts ending in figures of oxen cast in gold and silver. The canopy linen was embroidered with rows of small gold plaques in the form of stamped rings and small lion and oxen figures. Two gold and 14 silver vessels stood next to the body of the chief. One of the silver vessels was decorated with an engraved landscape reminiscent of the Caucasian Mountains and with an engraved row of animals. The landscape on the vessel proved to be one of the most ancient cartographic drawings. Various copper objects, including picks, axes, gouges, awls, and a dagger, were also found. A number of the ornaments—a gold diadem, silver pierced decorations, various gold and carnelian beads, and pendants of turquoise and lapis lazuli—attest to the close cultural ties of the northern Caucasian tribes with the countries of the ancient Orient, as do the animal figurines and some of the representations on the vessels. The articles from the Maikop kurgan are housed in the State Hermitage in Leningrad.