Skeletons with rings around their necks found in thousand-year-old tomb

More than 107 skeletons in a thousand-year-old tomb discovered near Kiev, Ukraine

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A thousand-year-old cemetery has been unearthed with skeletons buried with rings around their necks and buckets at their feet.

In addition to bones, axes, swords, spears, jewelry and chicken bones were also found in the grave, which was discovered near Kiev, Ukraine and is thought to be a pagan mass grave.

Archaeologists also found a stone altar, as well as bracelets, beads and the remains of votive foods such as eggshells, according to the new research.

A photo shows a female skeleton with rings around its neck and wrists. Researchers said this may have been used to distinguish gender.

Skeletons with rings around their necks found in thousand-year-old tomb 1
Axes, swords, spears and jewelry were found with the bones (Vyacheslav Baranov)

At the time the cemetery was in use, people in Ukraine were converting to Christianity. This included Vladimir I, who left his pagan roots behind and was baptized around 987.

Vsevolod Ivakin and Vyacheslav Baranov, the researchers leading the project, said:

The weapons found in Ostriv are typical of Kievan Rus’ and northeastern Europe more broadly.

Other elements, such as buckets from two men’s graves in Ostriv, are also found in 11th-century Prussian cremation and burial cemeteries of the military elite of Pomerania and Mazovia.

Researchers excavated the cemetery between 2017 and 2022. But Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has halted many excavations in Ukraine, including this one, archaeologists told Science Live.

Skeletons with rings around their necks found in thousand-year-old tomb 2

The discovery comes after archaeologists uncovered a 2,000-year-old temple in Greece, filled with gold and jewelry.

The site excavated on the Greek island of Evia was found to be full of gold, silver and amber.

The 30-meter structure, dated to the 7th century BC, was unearthed in 2023 by a team of 50 researchers.

“The excavation of the ancient temple has brought to light a wide variety of votives: Corinthian alabaster, Attic vases and ritual jugs of local manufacture, as well as jewelry made of precious materials such as gold, silver and coral,” the Greek culture ministry said in a statement.

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