A farmer digging on his land in Russia discovered something unexpected: a 2,000-year-old burial mound containing the remains and artifacts of a nomadic royal — including a strange « laughing » man skull.
The trove of amazing jewelry, weapons and other artifacts was found by farmer Rustam Mudayev in a grave near the Caspian Sea, according to The Daily Mail.
Mudayev consulted with the Astrakhan History Museum, which eventually organized an expedition to the village where the remains were found.
« After inspecting the burial site we understood that it to be a royal mound, one of the sites where ancient nomads buried their nobility, » the museum’s scientific researcher, Georgy Stukalov, told the British news site.
According to the museum, which has been leading a dig at the site for two weeks, it’s believed the burial belongs to a leader of a Sarmatian nomadic tribe.
Excavators reportedly found the male skeleton inside a wooden coffin with a collection of knives, a small mirror and various pots, as well as beautiful gold jewelry decorated with turquoise and lapis lazuli.
The burial mound also contained other remains, including the skeleton of a young man with an artificially deformed, egg-shaped skull that was likely « molded » in some way during infancy.
The practice of shaping the skull was fairly typical among several ancient tribes.
These deformed heads were often viewed as a marker of a person’s special status and noble roots.