In 2004, International Expedition Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads (USA), Donskaya Arkheologia journal (Russia), and Rostov State University continued work in the Lower Don River region excavated two kurgans, 12 and 20 (see map).

Kurgan 12. The international group of volunteers excavated kurgan 12. It was a complicated mound with a stone cover, which when removed revealed a stone construction. This was found to be a Kipchak (Polovtsian) era sanctuary dating to the11-13th centuries AD. The sanctuary had been placed on a Sauromation kurgan dating to the 4th century BC. The kurgan contained two burials, supposedly a male and a female.

The male burial had been robbed in ancient times. Human bones were mixed with animal bones. The animal bones were mostly covered with green bronze oxide. It is assumed that they had been deposited in a bronze cauldron, which was later taken by the robbers.

The female burial was partially robbed in ancient times. The robbers took the garments embroidered with bone and gold beads and destroyed the upper torso of the skeleton. The rest of the skeleton was well preserved. Artifacts found in this burial were a bronze mirror, bronze bracelet and few bone and golden beads.

Kurgan 20. This kurgan was excavated by a group of students from the Rostov State University. This mound dated to the Early Bronze Age, with the primary burial belonging to the second half of the third millennium BC. Several secondary burials dating to the Catacomb Culture of the Middle Bronze Age, middle of the second millennium BC, and the Srubnaya Culture of the Late Bronze Age, end of the second millennium BC were also encountered. Several ceramic vessels, bronze knives and animal bones were found in these burials.


Kurgan 12

Bronze mirror and bracelet

Bone and golden beads

Removing rocks from surface of kurgan

Primary excavations

Excavating the Kipchaks sanctuary

Students on sanctuary wall

Detail of Kipchak sanctuary

Sauromatian female skeleton in situ

Juice break while excavating


Kurgan 20

Bronze Age burial

Students excavating

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