‘Monkey and Cranes’ Gold Relief Overlay from Lytoi Scythian Kurgan in Ukraine

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The two birds on the plaque were identified as cranes by Gerhard Friedrich Müller (although others see in them herons which is hard to agree with). Some scholars think that the monkey is portrayed with a human hand.

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Lytoi Kurgan was excavated in 1763 by General Melgunov who reported on the finds to Catherine II in Moscow. Almost all the finds from the kurgan were taken to Hermitage. Lytoi Kurgan has its almost identical “brother” in the Kuban area. Both are briefly described in the “Cradle of Civilizations” book.

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