In 1969, excavation of a burial mound in Kazakhstan revealed a stunning find – the skeletal remains of a Scythian from the 2d or 3d century BCE, clad in golden armor and buried with treasures. Since then, the armor and treasures have toured the world as symbols of Kazakhstani pride and prehistory.
Unfortunately, while the treasures were celebrated, the bones of the ancient Scythian were ignored and abandoned in a cardboard box. Not much is known about the dead person; in fact, there’s even controversy over whether it’s a male or a female. DNA testing would shed light – but because the remains have been improperly stored for fifty years and been exposed to bacteria and viruses, scientists say that DNA tests available today wouldn’t reveal usable information.
The Kazakhstan government has decided to rebury the bones in a time capsule – to preserve it and await the day when scientists will have the tools to study it properly.
The Scythians were nomadic people of Central Asia, famed as horsemen and horsewomen. I hope I’m still alive when the mysteries of the gold-armored skeleton are revealed.