One of the recurrent patterns in the Eurasian past is the tension between the steppe and the sown—between the nomadic peoples occupying the grassland belt from the Ukraine to China, and the settled farmers living along their southern margins. Peoples of the steppe have featured regularly in recent issues of Antiquity: the bronze-working traditions of the eastern steppes (Hsu et al. 2016) 1 , Andronovo settlement in Xinjiang (Jia et al. 2017) 2 , the Yamnaya people of the western steppes (Heyd 2017; Kristiansen 2017) 3,4 , or animal husbandry in the southern oases (Lhuillier et al. 2017) 5 . The more nomadic the lifestyle, the fewer the archaeological traces one might expect to find; but for some steppe peoples, those traces are nonetheless spectacular. And for none is that truer than for the Scythians, subject of the current major exhibition at the British Museum.
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