Under the Sign of the Golden Griffin

The Royal Tombs of the Scythians

26 October 2007 – 20 January 2008

The Scythians, together with other nomadic peoples, have dominated the history of the Eurasian steppes from the 8th through the 3rd centuries BC. The exhibition “Under the Sign of the Golden Griffon. The Royal Tombs of the Scythians”, is the first to deal extensively with the history and culture of these equestrian peoples, from their regions of origin along the Jenissei river up to the gates of central Europe. Organized by Prof. Hermann Parzinger, President of the German Archeological Institute together with the museum for Pre- and Early History in Berlin, the show opens at the Berlin Martin-Gropius Bau, then continues at the Munich Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung and concludes at the Museum for Art and Design in Hamburg.

From Siberia to the Black sea

Imposing burial mounds, so-called kurgans, dominate the landscape of the Eurasian steppes. Kings and rulers were buried in these tombs with greatest pomp and ceremony. Focal points of the exhibition are the important and spectacular inventories of these royal tombs from various regions. Besides discoveries from the southern Ural, treasures deriving from kurgans east and north of the Black Sea will also be on view.

View insight by natural conservation


Recent excavations have revealed spectacular finds. Due to the permafrost in the Altai Mountains, mummies have been conserved in near impeccable conditions, even preserving tattoos on their skin as well as parts of their clothing. Both ornate and ordinary objects, including arms, cups, horse gear, either made of gold and silver, wood, leather or textiles, complete our image of a lost age. Exhibits deriving from central and southern Europe demonstrate that already in the 1st century BC there existed an avid exchange between Europe and Asia.

Apart from archeological remains of the Scythians, this grandiose exhibition also presents the latest results of modern excavation techniques, as well as new physical and anthropological research. This enables the visitor not only to learn about the fascinating tomb architecture and its golden treasures, but also to obtain a well-rounded image of the Scythians, by understanding the environmental conditions in the steppes, their nourishment, diseases, and kinships with other peoples.