Scythian burial mounds
Scattered throughout the terrain of the Chui valley, the shore's of Lake Issyk-Kul and southeast Kazakhstan are enigmatic tumuli that represent the graves of the Saka warriors, otherwise known as the Scythians, who lived in the region over 2,000 years ago. Some of the mounds, known here as kurgani, excavated in Kazakhstan have revealed considerable treasures like intricate jewellery, bronze drinking vessels, weapons and armour. The most lavish find so far has been the so-called 'golden man' from Esik, just outside Almaty in Kazakhstan, in which the interned had a costume made up of 4,000 beautifully worked gold pieces. In 2001 it was rumoured that a second gold man had been discovered, and it begs the question as to what might be found if the Scythian mounds at Ak-Bulung or elsewhere were excavated.