Hail to the Bождь (Chieftain)


May/June 2013

chieftan-battle-axRussian archaeologists excavating a third-century B.C. necropolis on the slopes of the Central Caucasus Mountains have unearthed a spectacular warrior’s burial. Along with a dozen gold artifacts, including a brooch that holds a small crystal, the warrior went to the afterlife dressed in iron chain mail and armed with two iron swords and a battle-ax. One of the swords measured three feet long and was discovered between the warrior’s legs, its tip pointed toward his pelvis. “The burial goods are exceptionally rich,” says archaeologist Valentina Mordvintseva of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, who helped analyze the unprecedented trove.chieftan-brooch “He belonged to the upper class of the society and was possibly a chieftain.” The burial of three horses and a cow nearby indicate that his people held the warrior in unusually high esteem.