The Treasures of the Litoy Kurgan and Academician G.F. Miller

Tunkina Irina V.

The burial mound of Litoy Kurgan (30 miles from the Fort Saint Elizabeth, now Kirovograd in Ukraine) was excavated in 1763 by order of Lieutenant-General A.P. Melgounov. It included an early Scythian complex with gold and silver artifacts: specimens of oriental toreutic art and objects manufactured in the traditions of Scythian «animal» style, their prestige being comparable with the inventory of Scythian royal kurgans. The finds were submitted to Empress Catherine II, who ordered that they should be inventoried by G.F. Miller (1705-1783) and preserved in the Kunstkamera (Cabinet of Curiosities) of St Petersburg Academy of Sciences. A century later the treasure was transferred to the Hermitage. The author attempts a reconstruction of the Litoy Kurgan complex on the basis of archive documents and publications of the 18th-21st centuries and discusses modern interpretations and dating of the objects found their, which were partly transferred from the Hermitage to Kharkov Museum in 1932 and perished during the World War II. The excavation of the Litoy Kurgan was duly considered to be connected with the development of scythology into a special field of archaeological research. This kurgan ranks with the archaic Scythian monuments connecting the Dnieper Area with the Northern Caucasus. It could be a cenotaph dating from the period of Scythian invasions of Near East, probably from the 2nd half of the 7th century BC.