The fourth, final, second shift of the second field season of the Complex Archaeological and Geographical Expedition of the Russian Geographical Society for the Study of the Tunnug Kurgan took place on August 10. The expedition was attended by 90 volunteers from different regions of Russia, as well as India, Germany and Belarus.
The Tunnug Kurgan is located in the floodplain of the Tunnug and Uyuk rivers, near the Chkalovka settlement in the Piy-Khemsky district of the Republic of Tyva. It is part of the so-called Valley of the Kings, where are many "royal" kurgans of the Scythian time. According to preliminary data, the burial of the Tunnug Kurgan is the largest and the earliest Scythian monument - about the 9th century BC. Presumably, the kurgan stands on the permafrost, so there is a chance to find preserved organic matter under its stone embankment.
The International Complex Archaeological and Geographical Expedition for the Study the Tunnug Kurgan has been held in the Republic of Tyva since 2018. Volunteers of the Russian Geographical Society and archaeologists of the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences participates in the expedition. The second field season of the expedition started in May 2019, it was led by the chairman of the Krasnoyarsk regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society Igor Spiridenko. In the course of archaeological work, a number of valuable artifacts were discovered, in particular: a stone altar of Scythian time, burials of the Kokel archaeological culture, that contained, in addition to human remains, sets of ritual objects, a stone slab with a bronze age petroglyph in the form of a bull, and many others.
On the first day of the shift, a delegation of volunteers went to the city of Turan for the district festival of livestock breeders "Naadym-2019"at the invitation of the administration of the Piy-Khem district of the Republic of Tuva. Volunteers took part in the parade, and then saw a contest of national yurts in which various municipalities of the Piy-Khem district competed.
The trip became a full-fledged ethnographic expedition. Young participants were told about the life of the Tuvans, various aspects of their culture. There was food from traditional Tuvan dishes in each yurt, and local residents were happy to invite volunteers from the Russian Geographical Society.
In the evening, a concert was held at the expedition camp, the participants of which were volunteers of the Russian Geographical Society and archaeologists of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. A volunteer from India Japanda performed a traditional Indian dance, and the representative of Tuva, Chechek Delikey perfomed a popular in the 70s waacking dance. Archaeologist Konstantin Dotkin played classical expeditionary compositions with a guitar. In addition, there were harp, violin, guitars, as well as instruments made from improvised means - buckets and basins. This instrumental polyphony was combined with the vocals of a dozen volunteers - the guys made a great team from the very first days of the shift. Absolutely spontaneously, they had formed the international band "Tongues of Flames" already in the evening of their acquaintance.
The next day, the volunteers went to the Ergaki Nature Park. The expedition members were inspired by the grandeur and beauty of the Sayan Mountains and returned to the expedition's field camp to go to the excavations early in the morning to discover the Scythian kurgan that had not yet revealed all its secrets.
The project is implemented with the benefit of the grant from the President of the Russian Federation for the development of civil society provided by the Presidential Grants Foundation.