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Pazyryk: 5th - 3rd century BC

The Scythian tombs at Pazyryk, in the Altai mountains to the west of Mongolia, are perfectly preserved due to an accident of their design. They are capped by loose boulders, through which water can filter to form a layer of ice protected from the summer sun. The occupants of the tombs, together with their possessions, have been deep-frozen since soon after their burial.

The tombs have yielded elaborately embroidered garments, felt cushions and mattresses and wall hangings, a woven carpet of great beauty from Persia, and embalmed bodies decorated with intricate tattoos. The burials date from the 5th to the 3rd century BC.


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