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Ancient Gold treasures from Kazakhstan on show in UK first

Gold of The Great Steppe - opening 28th September - will display an archaeological sensation. Hundreds of outstanding gold artefacts recently discovered in the extraordinary ancient burial mounds built by the Saka people in East Kazakhstan will be brought to the Fitzwilliam and exhibited for the first time this September.

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On show in the exhibition will be the spectacular contents from an extremely rare undisturbed intact Saka burial, only the second to be discovered on the territory of Kazakhstan. In a richly furnished grave, a teenage archer, no older than 18 when he died, was buried in the same chamber with a younger female close relative, aged 13-14. While the girl’s remains were heavily looted in antiquity, the grave of the male youth appears to have been protected from being plundered by a rock fall which shielded him from view and knowledge of his existence for over 2,500 years.

This exhibition will place archaeological finds discovered in the last three years by Kazakh archaeologists on a global stage for the first time, amplifying voices that often go unheard in museums in the west and giving UK audiences a unique opportunity to see and understand for the first time the rich cultural history of a country the size of western Europe.

Luke Syson, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, said:

‘It is hugely exciting to be announcing the loan of these incredibly important, recently discovered gold artefacts this autumn. We look forward to bringing the extraordinary culture of the Saka people to life for our audiences and are grateful to our partnership with East Kazakhstan without which enlightening exhibitions such as these would simply not be possible.‘

H.E. Erlan Idrissov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Kingdom, said:

“In the coming few months, we will celebrate a number of important milestones, including the 30th Anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence and the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of a diplomatic relationship between Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom. I find it very timely and appropriate that the Gold of the Great Steppe exhibition is coming to one of the best UK museums at such an auspicious time.”

The exhibition is supported by and organised with the Regional Museum of History and Local Studies of the Department of Culture, Archives and Documentation of East Kazakhstan.

9 August 2021

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