Wednesday, June 5, 2024

2,000-Year-Old Gold Jewelry Unearthed in Kazakhstan from Mysterious Culture

Archaeologists have unearthed gold jewelry, arrowheads, and a large bronze mirror from burial mounds dating back roughly 2,000 years in the Turkistan region of southern Kazakhstan. These artifacts are believed to originate from the Kangju state, a little-known entity that ruled the region between the fifth century B.C. and the fourth century A.D.


The discoveries showcase the advanced craftsmanship of the Kangju era, a time when the state engaged in trade with ancient Rome, ancient China, and the Kushan Empire, according to a statement from Turkistan’s regional government. Notably, the bronze mirror, with its circular shape, eight-sided arched design, and central hole for threading, appears to be of Han dynasty origin (206 B.C. to A.D. 220), indicating significant cultural exchange. Similar mirrors have been found in Afghanistan and the southern Ural region, suggesting that the woman buried with it was wealthy and influential.


A team from Kazakhstan’s Ozbekali Zhanibekov University and local government archaeologists made the discoveries in three burial mounds in Turkistan’s Ordabasinsky district. While two of the mounds had been looted in ancient times, the third contained valuable relics, according to the official statement.

In addition to the bronze mirror, the unearthed artifacts included:

A Roman-style brooch (fibula)

Large and small beads

A pottery jug

A shoe

A belt buckle

An arrowhead designed for hunting birds

Two gold earrings dating from the first century B.C.
The earrings are particularly ornate, fashioned from a colorful alloy known as “polychromatic” gold, inlaid with turquoise and rubies. Their crescent shape represents the moon, with lower decorations symbolizing clusters of grapes, designed to reflect sunlight.

Expedition leader Aleksandr Podushkin, an archaeologist at Ozbekali Zhanibekov University, explained that the Kangju state was a federation of various peoples, including nomadic groups such as the Sarmatians, Xiongnu, and Saki (who may have been Scythians). The strategic location of Kangju cities along the Great Silk Roads between China and the Mediterranean facilitated extensive diplomatic and trade connections throughout the ancient world.

The artifacts will be displayed at the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Astana, providing insight into the rich cultural heritage and historical significance of the Kangju state.

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