This conference draws together scholars of all ages and many nationalities to share the results of their research projects, latest archaeological discoveries and new scientific research on early nomads of Eurasia with papers on horseriding, warfare, technology and many other topics. Many of these results are presented here for the first time and they evoke the world of the steppe, a natural open corridor without borders which connected China and Europe. Papers will be presented in English and illustrated with PowerPoint. Additional research will be displayed in the form of posters.

This major three-day conference is open to all.

The conference is part of the programme associated with the exhibition Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia.

Tickets £100

Members/Concessions £75

Book online 

Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181

Ticket Desk in Great Court


(Please note that the programme is subject to minor changes due to visas and rescheduling)


DAY ONE: 27/10/2017

Scythians and other early Eurasian nomads: origins and eastern connections


09.00-09.30       Registration

09.30                Dr H. FISCHER (Director of the British Museum): welcome

09.35-09.45       Dr St J. SIMPSON (The British Museum): opening remarks

09.45-10.15       Dr L. S. MARSADOLOV (State Hermitage Museum): The Okunevo Culture of southern Siberia and its links with later Scythian and Tashtyk cultures

10.15-10.45       Dr K. V. CHUGUNOV (State Hermitage Museum): The “Royal” Burial-Memorial Complex of Arzhan-2, Tuva (southern Siberia): stages of function and internal chronology

10.45-11.15       Dr T. RYABKOVA (State Hermitage Museum): The formation of the early Scythian complex in the Kuban region of the north Caucasus according to the materials from the burial mounds at Kelermes


11.15-11.35       COFFEE


11.35-12.05       Dr Petr SHULGA (Novosibirsk): New fieldwork in the Altai (tbc)

12.05-12.35       Dr Yana LUKPANOVA (History and Archaeology Centre of Western Kazakhstan), Dr Latife SUMMERER (University of Munich): From Tatarlı to Taksai: the Iconography of Scythian Warriors in Anatolia and Altai

12.35-13.05       Dr I. K. AKHIYAROV, Dr A. Z. BEISENOV, Dr D. B. DUISENBAY (Institute of Archaeology, Almaty): Elements of the funeral rite of the Saka area population of central Kazakhstan


13.05-14.05       LUNCH


14.05-14.35       Dr Daniil P. SHULGA (Novosibirsk): “Jiang Yuan” and north Chinese nomads

14.35-15.05       Prof. T. TAYLOR (University of Vienna), Dr C. HAVLICEK (University of Vienna), James JOHNSON (University of Copenhagen), Sergey MAKHORTYKH (Institute of Archaeology, Kiev): Scythia and China: innovations and formation processes on the boundaries of empire

15.05-15.35       CANCELLED


15.35-15.55       TEA


15.55-16.25       Dr Catrin KOST (Shenzhen): Sandaohaizi: a newly deerstone-khirigsuur complex in northwest China

16.25-16.55       Dr Svetlana PANKOVA (State Hermitage Museum): Mummies and dummies in family graves at Oglakhty: different rites from different ancestors?

16.55-17.40       Prof. Hans BAKKER (University of Groningen): The Sasanian and Gupta Empires and their Struggle against the Huns: a keynote lecture


17.40-19.30       Free admission for conference attendees to BP exhibition Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia. 


18.30                Separately ticketed evening lecture by Professor Barry Cunliffe



DAY TWO: 28/10/2017

Nomads and nomadic relations


09.00-09.30       Registration


09.30-10.00       Dr Chris GOSDEN (University of Oxford), Peter HOMMEL (University of Oxford), Courtney NIMURA (Griffith University, Australia): Burying Contacts, Building Communities: Early Iron Age monumentality in Eurasia

10.00-10.30       Dr Sergei POLIN (Kiev), Dr Marina DARAGAN (Institute of Archaeology, Kiev), Dr Ksenia BONDAR (Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev): New investigations on Scythian kurgans in Ukraine: non-invasive studies and excavations

10.30-11.00       Dr James A. JOHNSON (University of Copenhagen): Landscape, Community, and Labour in the Pontic Iron Age Forest-Steppe Region, ca. 650–300 BC


11.00-11.20       COFFEE


11.20-11.50       Olga GORSKAYA (State Hermitage Museum): Scythian gold from private collections of the nineteenth century in the Department of the Ancient World at the State Hermitage Museum

11.50-12.20       Dr Alexandru BERZOVAN (Iași Institute of Archaeology, Romania): A Scythian treasure in the lands of the Getae. Considerations regarding the hoard of Stâncești

12.20-13.00       Dr Nikolaus BOROFFKA (German Archaeological Institute, Berlin): Interaction between urban societies and mobile peoples: some highlight examples

13.00-14.00       LUNCH


14.00-14.30       Dr Denis TOPAL (Republic of Moldova): Ceremonial swords and daggers of early nomads of Eurasia

14.30-15.00       Dr Oleksandr HALENKO (Kiev): The Scythian banquet

15.00-15.30       Burzine WAGHMAR (SOAS, University of London): Settled, not Saddled, Scythians: the easternmost Sakas


15.30-15.50       TEA


15.50-16.30       Dr Eileen MURPHY (Queen’s University, Belfast): Life and Death in the Scythian World of Southern Siberia: a keynote lecture

16.30-17.00       Dr Ursula BROSSEDER (University of Bonn): The potential of bioarchaeological research for analyzing nomadic polities in Mongolia

17.00-17.30       CANCELLED

17.30-18.15       Prof. Thomas BARFIELD (Boston University): Traditional nomad economies: an ethnographic perspective keynote lecture

18.15-18.30       Group photograph on forecourt or in the Great Court (weather dependant)

18.30-20.30       Evening reception



DAY THREE: 29/10/2017

Objects in focus: style, transmission and technology


09.00-09.30       Registration

09.30-10.00       Dr Elena KOROLKOVA (State Hermitage Museum): “Animal Style” art: influences and traditions in the nomadic world

10.00-10.30       Elena MIKLASHEVICH (Museum-reserve “Tomskaya Pisanitsa”, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Kemerovo): “Openwork Style” in the art of early nomads of Eurasia

10.30-11.00       Arman Z. BEISENOV, Gulnara S. JUMABEKOVA, Galiya A. BAZARBAYEVA (Institute of Archaeology, Almaty): “Animal Style” in the art of the Saka era population of Central Kazakhstan


11.00-11.20       COFFEE


11.20-11.50       Raphael WONG (University of Oxford): “Steppe Style” in South-eastern Gansu Province, China in the Fourth and Third Centuries BC

11.50-12.20       Prof. Tim TAYLOR (University of Vienna): The “Animal Style” and the Hindu pantheon: new observations on east-west connections

12.20-13.05       Prof. Henri-Paul FRANCFORT (Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris, France): Scythians, Persians, Greeks and Horses: Reflections on Art, Culture, Power and Empires in the Light of Berel’ 11 Frozen Burial Excavation (Altay, Eastern Kazakhstan): a keynote lecture


13.05-14.05       LUNCH


14.05-14.35       Prof. Lloyd LLEWELLYN-JONES (Cardiff University): Differing Dress Codes: Sleeves and Trousers in Persian and Greek Culture

14.35-15.05       Dr Marina DARAGAN (Institute of Archaeology, Kiev): The production technology of Scythian archery equipment: bows, arrows and quivers

15.05-15.35       Dr L. SPINDLER (BioArCh, University of York), Dr M. GLEBA (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge), Dr M. DARAGAN (Institute of Archaeology, Kiev), Dr M. COLLINS (Natural History Museum of Denmark): Testing Herodotus: leather species identification of Scythian quivers using novel scientific methods


15.35-16.00       TEA


16.00-16.30       Dr Elena KOROLKOVA (State Hermitage Museum), Dr Aude MONGIATTI (British Museum): Gold working techniques in the Siberian Collection of Peter the Great

16.30-17.00       Dr R. MINOSIAN (State Hermitage Museum): Scythian and Sarmatian weapons with gold decoration

17.00-17.30       Dr E. A. SHABLAVINA (State Hermitage Museum): One of the secrets of Achaemenid jewellery

17.30-18.00       Dr Margarita GLEBA (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge), Dr I. VANDEN BERGHE (Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels), Dr M. DARAGAN (Institute of Archaeology, Kiev): Dyes of the Scythians: the first evidence

18.00-18.15       Dr S. V. PANKOVA (State Hermitage Museum): New data on dyes and textiles from Arzhan-1

18.15-18.20       Closing remarks by Dr S. V. PANKOVA (State Hermitage Museum)