Gold of the Great Steppe
Full of research from recent excavations, this book will accompany an exhibition – at the Fitzwiliam Museum, Cambridge – of artefacts from the sophosticated burial mounds of the fi erce warriors of East Kazakhstan, the Saka, who, over 2,500 years ago, lived lives rich in complexity and produced goldwork of intricate design.
The Saka people occupied a landscape of seemingly endless steppe to the west, bounded by mountains to the east and south. Known to be fi erce warriors, they were also skilled craftspeople, producing intricate gold and other metalwork. Their artistic expression indicates a deep respect for the animals around them – both real and imagined. They dominated their landscapes with huge burial mounds of sophisticated construction, burying their horses with elite members of their society. Recent excavations and analyses, led by archaeologists from Kazakhstan, have demonstrated that by looking through a scientifi c and social lens at what the Saka left behind we can paint a picture of a complex society. We can start to understand how it aff ected the way people lived, how they travelled, the things they made and what they believed in.
Including contributions from experts at Nazarbayev University, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, and the University of Cambridge, this publication details the results of new archaeological research from East Kazakhstan. It is richly illustrated with photographs of intricate gold artefacts in the Saka-Scythian animal style, landscape and aerial photography of the burial mounds, and details of the excavations and analyses. Grounded in decades of careful study, papers by the two leading Kazakhstani archaeologists of the East Kazakhstan region, Professors Zainolla Samashev and Abdesh Toleubayev, demonstrate current archaeological thinking in Kazakhstan today. These papers are complemented by material from a team of international scholars, which contribute the results of new scientific analyses on the artefacts, and wider Eurasian perspectives on the Saka people and their practice of horse burial.
Edited by Rebecca Roberts
Hardback, 240 x 168 mm
160 pages, 80 illustrations
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
October 2021 – January 2022
Prof. Zainolla Samashev (translated by Joanna Dobson), Prof. Abdesh Toleubayev (translated by Joanna Dobson), Prof. Emerita Dr Claudia Chang, Prof. Marcos Martinón-Torres, Dr Rebecca Roberts, Dr Laerke Recht, Saltanat Amir