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A Scythian Age Sword from the Forest-Steppe Altai

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2016.44.3.056-062

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Abstract

In 2008, a long iron sword dating to the Scythian Age was found near Klyuchi, northern Altai. It has a kidney-shaped guard and a pommel sculptured as two griffi n heads and decorated with gold. The grip is braided with gold wire. The archaic design of the guard and the grip as well as the zoomorphic pommel suggest that the sword is no later than 6th–early 5th centuries BC. The realistic way of rendering griffi n heads evidently originated in the east of the Scythian world somewhat earlier than in the west, where their imitations with claw-shaped pommels circulated from the 5th–4th centuries BC onward. A large series of Scythian Age swords and daggers, found incidentally, comes from the forest-steppe Altai. Many of them have broken or bent blades, implying that they had a ritual function. Three more long iron swords dating to the early Scythian Age were found in the south of the Ob-Irtysh watershed. Because prestigious weapons of that type are more numerous in those regions than elsewhere, they probably originated in an area which included the northern Altai as its easternmost part.

About the Author

Y. V. Frolov
Altai State University, Lenina 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russia
Russian Federation


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For citation:


Frolov Y.V. A Scythian Age Sword from the Forest-Steppe Altai. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2016;44(3):56-62. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2016.44.3.056-062

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