Salbyk Kurgan

The Salbyk Kurgan is a Saka burial mound located in the “Valley of the Kings” in Khakassia, Russia.

Salbyk Kurgan

The Salbyk Kurgan (also known as Bolshoi Salbykskii Kurgan, meaning “Great Kurgan of Salbyk”) is a Saka burial mound belonging to the Tagar culture. It’s located in the “Valley of the Kings” in the western part of the Minusinsk Depression, in Khakassia, Russia. The Salbyk Kurgan is estimated to date back to 500 to 300 BCE, though some suggest an earlier period between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE.

Measuring 11 meters in height with a circumference of about 500 meters, it’s the largest tumulus of the Tagar culture. This mound serves as the tomb of a Saka noble, surrounded by slaves and wives.

There are approximately 30 other kurgan mounds in the “Valley of the Kings,” all smaller than the grand Salbyk Kurgan.

Surrounded by huge sandstone slabs weighing between 50 and 70 tons each, sourced from the banks of the Yenisei River about 100 kilometers away, the tumulus is speculated to have had an astronomical significance, possibly aligning with the sun’s movements throughout the year.

Originally having a square pyramid structure, the Salbyk Kurgan was excavated in 1954-56, leaving only the monumental slabs in place after removal of the earth. It was discovered that the tomb had been looted in antiquity.

  • References

    image by Kartazon Dream. License and details at https://www.flickr.com/photos/levviktorov/52034436496/

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