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The Evidence of the Scythians In archaeology the term Scythians refers to the tribes which inhabited the steppers adjoining to the northern shores of the Black Sea There is also a broader notion of the Scythian world considered as a group of different tribes sharing a common economic and cultural life and occupying a large region The study and excavation of Scythian burial sites in the territory to the north of the Black Sea coast began over two hundred years ago The systematic study of Scythian antiquities started with the excavation of Kul Oba barrow near Kerch in 1830 Scythian finds reveal the highest level of workmanship as well as their close ties with many peoples and tribes in the territories between Far East and Western Europe The distinctive feature of the art and culture of the Scythians were determined by their nomadic lifestyle Born warriors horsemen and herdsmen they roamed the steppers near the Black Sea coast with their many herds of cattle and horsemen and herdsmen all year round Since their dwellings were covered wagons they had no interest in constructing public buildings or temples and did not erect images of their Gods The output of the decorative arts was connected with the class differentiation in Scythian society This process started in the seventh century BC The military leaders formed the upper class of society They tried to stand out from their fellow tribesmen and to show their importance and social superiority with the trappings of wealth and power In the conditions of nomadic life and frequent military engagements these aims could be best achieved by gold and silver decorations worn on ceremonial and ritual clothing or by richly ornamented weapons and horse accessories as well as grooming articles and ritual tools All these objects were decorated with figures of animals or scenes of fighting beasts Scythian art like the whole of its culture may be divided into three periods
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