Arzhan (Russian: Аржан) is a site of early Scythian kurgan burials in the Tuva Republic, Russia, some 60 kilometers (40 mi) northwest of Kyzyl. It is on a high plateau traversed by the Uyuk River, a minor tributary of the Yenisei River.
Arzhan-1 was excavated by M. P. Gryaznov in the 1970s, establishing the origins of Scythian culture in the region in the 9th to 8th centuries BCE. Further excavations were conducted in 1997 and in 1998-2003 (Arzhan-2). The excavations showed burials with rich grave goods including horses and gold artifacts. There are several hundred kurgans, arranged in parallel chains.
Arzhan-2 turned out to be an undisturbed burial; the builders created two central pits that were fake graves to throw off looters, and the main burial was 20 meters offcenter. It was first explored by a joint German and Russian archaeological expedition from 2000 to 2004. They found the royal couple, sixteen murdered attendants, and 9,300 objects. 5,700 of these artifacts were made of gold, weighing a Siberian record-breaking twenty kilograms. The male, who researchers guess was some sort of king, wore a golden torc, a jacket decorated with 2,500 golden panther figurines, a gold-encrusted dagger on a belt, trousers sewn with golden beads, and gold-cuffed boots. The woman wore a red cloak that was also covered in 2,500 golden panther figurines, as well as a golden-hilted iron dagger, a gold comb, and a wooden ladle with a golden handle. The couple was buried together, suggesting that the woman was killed to keep the king company in the afterlife. The tomb also had thousands of beads, including over four hundred made of Baltic amber.
In 2017, the large royal burial mound Tunnug 1 (Arzhan 0), which dates to the same period as Arzhan-1, was investigated by a Russian-Swiss expedition.