A farmer in Russia was in for a surprise after he stumbled across an old bronze pot that led archaeologists to a 2,500-year-old burial mound.
The mound, which was found in the village of Nikolskoye in the Astrakhan Region, was found to contain the skeletons of Sarmatian nobility, as well as a horse ’s head and a range of gold oranaments.
Sergey Morozov, head of the Astrakhan Region, said: “Thanks to these findings, we can understand what was happening here at the dawn of civilisation.”
Farmer Rustam Mudayev was digging a pit near his house when he found the bronze pot.
He handed the pot over to authorities, before archaeologists returned to the site for a full excavation.
So far, the dig has revealed three graves containing skeletons, as well as numerous household items, weapons and gold ornaments, and a horse’s head in a decorated harness.
According to the experts, this suggests a high status of those buried there.
The archaeologists now plan to explore the site further. The mound is multi-layered, and the team believes there could be further items, or even skeletons, buried within it.
This isn't the first time that archaeologists have discovered 6th century BC finds in the area.
Around 30 years ago, similar burials were unearthed in the nearby village of Kosika, including the tomb of the Sarmatian king.
These findings are held in a collection at the Astrakhan State Museum, and archaeologists hope the new findings will join them there.