Bolshoy Salbyksky burial mound
The Bolshoy Salbyksky burial mound is a part of an open-air museum, the «Ancient Burial Mounds of the Salbyk Steppe». The mound is a significant sacral, architectural and astronomical monument of the 5th-4th centuries BCE.
The Bolshoy Salbyksky burial mound was built over the course of several years. Hundreds of people erected a pyramid of earth, 25-30 meters high with a stone wall around it, forming a square measuring 70 by 70 meters. Giant plates of Devonian sandstone weighing up to 30 tons were moved from a stone quarry at the Khyzyl-Khaya («Red Rock») mountain 18 kilometers away to build the wall, from the chieftain’s burial place and from another stone quarry 70 kilometers away on the banks of the Yenisei River.
Originally the burial mound was for one man only — an old warrior with broken bones about 70 years old. Presumably he was not only the tribe’s leader but also a powerful priest. The remains of this noble man were mummified.
Later, 6 more people were buried here — associates, relatives, and slaves, accompanying their masters to a better world. The burial room was accessed through a dromos — a corridor leading to it from the entrance. It was established that two of those buried there were brother and a sister. Two skeletons of murdered «guards of the peace of the deceased» were also found in the dromos. One of them had a bronze knife with him. Human sacrifices were discovered in the mound’s most important parts. They include three adults, one of them tied up, and a child. Presumably, one of the sacrifices was buried alive.
Back in ancient times, the Bolshoy Salbyksky burial mound was plundered. Archeologists managed to find fragments of a huge vessel used for storing grain, two bronze knives, and the round millstone of a handmill, currently the oldest of its kind in Siberia.