May 16, 2019 – Archeologists excavating a burial site in the southern Russian town of Nikolsk, near the city of Astrakhan on Volga River, have discovered skeletal remains of eight individuals, one of which believed to belong to a Sarmatian prince, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) has reported, citing Dmitriy Vasiliyev, the head of the Astrakhan State University Archeological Research Laboratory.
“These human remains belong to various periods in Sarmatian culture,” an Iranian confederation lasting from the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD,” Mr. Vasiliyev explained. “We believe the eight skeletons are from 3,000 BC to the 7th century AD.”
Vasiliyev added: “The most significant find is the remains of a Sarmatian male who lived either in the 1st or 2nd century AD. Our team unearthed the skeletal remains under a wooden board and on top of an embroidered burial cloth. We also found gold pieces and other objects in the grave, including a ceremonial dagger and a copper bowl used in religious rituals. We believe this person was a member of a royal family.”
“The burial site dates to the Bronze Age [3,300-1,200 BC],” Vasiliyev noted. “It was later used by the Sarmatian and the Alans [nomadic Iranian tribes 1st century BC].”
The discovery of the burial site occurred by pure chance. While digging a well in Nikolsk, a villager unearthed an ancient clay water jug which he gave the Astrakhanskiy Muzey-Zapovednik. After determining the age and origin of the water jug, the museum sent a team of archeologists and experts to excavate the site.
[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]