The Scythians were a people of skilled horsemen and nomadic conquerors who built a formidable, transient empire in much of Southern Europe and Asiatic Russia between the 9th and 3rd centuries B.C. The only remaining traces of their existence are their tombs : the kourganes. In April 1999, a Franco-Italian and Kazakh scientific team made an exceptional discovery in Kazakhstan : a Scythian tomb over 2,400 years old. It is an intense and emotional moment when the undreamed-of discovery is revealed. The tomb is an incredible archaeological treasure-trove: objects of a ritual sacrifice, twelve horses, completely harnessed in gold, have lain here in the frozen Altai wastes for over 2,000 years. The precious metal garments indicate the social rank and importance of the deceased they honoured. Near the mummified corpses, still wrapped in their shrouds, lie gold-covered wooden statuettes, precious metal ornaments, embroidered textiles, gold coins and pendants decorated with wildlife scenes. Every piece is unique : no copies or equivalent objects have ever been discovered during the numerous digs carried out over the years concerning this historic civilisation.