Chertomlykskii Kurgan

Located on private lands northwest of Nikopol in present-day Ukraine, this enormous barrow was hoped to provide as rich a find as the Tsar Kurgan. But I. E. Zabelin’s initial forays, beginning in 1862, revealed that the site had been raided centuries ago. There did remain, however, remain a thin gold lining with decorations identified from the Trojan War. Therefore, it belongs to both Scythia and Greek antiquity. In 1652, a Cossack sech’ had been founded in the area.


One of the Greek colonies founded early in the 6th century, Panticapaeum, present-day Kerch, became the capital of the Bosporan Kingdom in the 5th. Destroyed by an earthquake circa 70 BCE, it was rebuilt by the Romans before being destroyed by the Huns in 370. A number of important kurgans lie nearby.

Semibratnii Kurgan

Located on the lower Kuban River, because of the number of kurgans, this was thought to be the burial grounds of 7 Brothers. Although most had been vandalized for the gold treasures they held, nos. 2 and 6 were untouched when Tizengauzen began his excavations in 1876. The Greek and Scythian artefeacts dated from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE.


Armavir was chosen as the capital of Armenia in 331 BC, when the Orontid Dynasty declared its independence from the Achaemenid Empire. Archeological inscriptions have been found in the Elamite language about Gilgamesh, in addition to Hesoid’s poetry and quotes from Euripides. Cleopatra also figures into this history; King Tigranes II sent an expedition to Palestine to attack, and brought many Jews back in captivity to settle in Armavir. Conquerors include the Seleucids, Parthians, Roman Empire, Sassanids and then Byzantine Empire before the Arabs claimed it in 645.

Tsar Kurgan

This Scythian kurgan was stumbled upon by the Voronezh Infantry detachment quarrying rock for building in 1830. Known as Царский курган, or the Royal Kurgan, it was one of the most important examples of architecture, mixing a Scythian exterior with a Greek interior. The great size of the tomb led to the assumption that someone of stature had found his place of eternal peace, as Anton Ashik, another who excavated it in the 1830s, romanticized the kurgan. Unfortunately, the kurgan was not well guarded and much of the wealth was looted.


Site of both an ancient Greek colony and the place where Vladimir I was baptized. It remains an active archeological dig-site, with a museum in situ.

Kul-Oba Kurgan

Kül Oba, or “hill of ash” in Crimean Tatar, was the first Scythian royal barrow to be excavated in modern times. Uncovered in 1830, the stone tomb yielded a wealth of precious artifacts which drew considerable public interest to the Scythian past, as the most beautiful gold artefacts were sent to the Hermitage Museum. The tomb was built around 400 to 350 BC, probably by a team of Greek masons from Panticapaeum/Kerch.