Tomb of Hun warrior and his horse unearthed in Romania

Tomb of Hun warrior and his horse unearthed in Romania
Photo: Vasile Pârvan Institute of Archeology
When workers on a new highway in Romania realized they were excavating the burial walls of a Hun warrior, they called in archaeologists.

When it became clear that workers on a new highway in Romania were digging straight through the tomb walls of a “princely Hun warrior,” they were forced to call archaeologists. The tomb, which dates to the fifth century CE, contained more than 100 relics, including many weapons, items wrapped in gold, and gold jewelry with gemstone inlays.

The Hun warrior’s whole skeleton, whose face was hidden by a golden mask, was also discovered, together with the remains of a gilded saddle, the skull, and leg bones of a horse.

According to Silviu Ene of the Vasile Pârvan Institute of Archaeology in Bucharest, Romania, this tomb is of considerable interest because, in addition to the rich inventory, it was discovered at a site along with 900 other archaeological elements such as; pits, homes, and graves.

Also an iron sword, dagger with golden bejeweled scabbards and three adorned “sconces” fittings to hold candles on a wall were also discovered in the tomb.

A intriguing Iron Age civilization that is now thought to be extinct was the Huns. Despite the enormous influence these fierce nomadic horse warriors had on Eurasian history, especially when they were led by the legendary warlord Attila, often known as “the Flail of God,” little little is known about their race or culture.

They are thought to have descended fully or in part from a group called the Xiongnu, who were nomads in Northern China as early as 100 CE. They are assumed to have crossed the Eurasian Steppe to the west and mixed with the Scythians, another nomadic people from present day Iran.

The dagger, sword and gems discovered in the tomb. (The iron sword has mostly rusted away, yet its sheath is embellished with gold leaf over its whole length.) Photo: Vasile Pârvan Institute of Archeology

The Huns invaded Eastern Europe in the 4th century CE, perhaps at the time that the royal warrior discovered in the tomb lived and fought, and seized authority from the Romans, who had previously written most of what is known about the Huns.

The Hun warrior’s burial in the tomb included a bronze cauldron, providing proof that this technique of ritual head binding with cauldrons was used to lengthen the backs of peoples’ skulls. It’s one of the few instances when archaeological findings and primary sources concur, being a practice among the Hunnic nobles to distinguish their physical traits from the commons. Certain head shaping practices have been used as indicators of social status.

The process of learning to ride began as soon as a toddler could walk without the assistance of its mother, according to several Roman historians, but the Huns allegedly spent almost their entire lives on a saddle, sleeping, eating, and fighting there.

Strangely, historian Denis Sinor claimed that no horse remains had ever been discovered in a Hunnic burial in a 1990 article. The discovery of at least a horse skeleton in the warrior prince’s tomb might be very helpful in providing additional information about the types of mounts they rode and even the origins of the mounts, which would provide more proof of their genetic heritage.

According to Good News Network, half of the tomb has now been excavated. Over the next few months, the bones and artifacts will be on display to the public after they have been cleaned and examined.

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