Royal Tomb of Hunnic Warrior and Horse Discovered in Romania

Herbie J Pilato
Dagger, sword, and gems discovered in tombPhoto byCNAIRVasile Pârvan Institute of Ar

According to journalist Andry Corbley and the Good News Network (GNN), "Workers building a new highway in Romania were forced to call archaeologists when it became clear they were digging straight through the tomb walls of a 'princely Hunnic warrior.'

"Dating to the 5th century CE, the tomb was filled with more than 100 artifacts, including several weapons, gold-covered objects, and pieces of gold jewelry inlaid with gemstones.

"It also included the remains of a gilded saddle, the skull and leg bones of a horse, and the warrior’s complete skeleton whose face was covered with a golden mask; the remains of which were also found," Corbley reported.

“This tomb is of major importance because, in addition to the rich inventory, it was discovered at a site along with 900 other archaeological features — [such as] pits, dwellings, and tombs,” Silviu Ene of the Vasile Pârvan Institute of Archaeology in Bucharest, Romania, told Live Science in an email.

As Corbley continued to document, "Also found in the tomb were several decorated 'sconces'” — fittings to hold candles on a wall, and an iron sword and dagger in golden bejeweled scabbards.

"The Huns were a fascinating Iron Age people who are now considered extinct. For all the great impact these ferocious nomadic horse warriors had on Eurasian history, particularly under the leadership of their famous warlord Attila, 'the Flail of God,' very little can be concretely said about their race or culture.

"They are believed to have originated either entirely or partially from a people known as the Xiongnu, who lived as nomads in Northern China as early as 100 CE. They are thought to have migrated west across the Eurasian Steppe and intermingled with another group of nomads from modern-day Iran called the Scythians.

"In the 4th century CE, likely the time when the princely warrior found in the tomb lived and fought, the Huns invaded Eastern Europe and took control of the region from the Romans, who in turn wrote most of what we think we know about the Huns.

"In the tomb, the warrior was buried with a bronze cauldron—supporting evidence for the practice of using cauldrons to elongate the backs of their skulls through ritual head binding. Practiced among the Hunnic nobility to make their physical characteristics separable from the commons, it’s one of the few points that archaeological and primary sources agree on.

"Several Roman historians claim that the Huns spent nearly their whole lives on a saddle, sleeping, eating, and fighting there, while the task of learning how to ride began as soon as a toddler could walk without its mother’s assistance.

"In strange contrast, historian Denis Sinor wrote in 1990 that no horse remains have ever been found in Hunnic graves. The presence of at least a partial horse skeleton in the warrior prince’s tomb could go a long way towards revealing further details about what kind of steeds they rode, and even where the steeds originated; which would give more evidence as to their genetic origin.

"Ene told Live Science that the tomb is now half-excavated, and over the next few months, the bones and artifacts will be cleaned, investigated, and put on public display," Corbley concluded.

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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