The Russian Geographical Society announces the start of a competition to participate in the third season of the Complex Archaeological and Geographic Expedition to Study the Tunnug kurgan in the Republic of Tuva. Men and women aged 18 to 35 years old (inclusive) can become a part of the expeditionary team of a large-scale archaeological project that sheds light on the history of the Scythians.
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 Tuva. It is part of the so-called Valley of the Kings, where there are many "royal" kurgans of the Scythian time. According to preliminary data, the Tunnug kurgan is the largest and the earliest Scythian monument of the first half of the 9th century BC. Because the Tunnug kurgan is located in the permafrost, there is a good chance to find preserved organic matter and various artifacts under its stone mound.
The Complex Archaeological and Geographical Expedition for the Study of the Tunnug Kurgan has been held in the Republic of Tuva since 2018. Volunteers of the RGS and archaeologists of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences participate in the expedition. The expedition is supported by the Expedition Center of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and by the Government of the Republic of Tuva.
In 2019, during archaeological work on the kurgan, a number of valuable artifacts was discovered, in particular a stone altar of the Scythian time, a Scythian hatchet; burials of the Kokel archaeological culture, which contained, in addition to human remains, sets of ritual objects, a stone slab with the Bronze Age petroglyph in the form of a bull, and more. In addition, a surprise for archaeologists was that the Tunnug kurgan was based on wooden structures around which clay walls were built – earlier, clay was not found in kurgans on the territory of Tuva.
This year, the study of the kurgan and the search for artifacts will continue. The leaders of the expedition suggest that the third season of the expedition may be the richest in interesting finds, as archaeologists will get to the heart of the ancient kurgan.
In addition to excavations, a rich cultural program was prepared for the volunteer team: lectures by archaeologists of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences, sports events, visits to museums and attractions of Tuva and neighboring regions.
The expedition will take place in three shifts:
First shift: June 1st – 30th, 2020,
Second shift: July 1st - July 31st, 2020
Third shift: August 1st – 31st, 2020
In order to take part in one of the shifts, you must fill out an application before March 31st.
More detailed information can be found in the Regulations of the competition (in Russian).