Curse of the Argonaut's treasure

An entire archaeologist's family dies after unearthing a treasure.

As soon as the treasure was discovered, it was transported to St. Petersburg's Hermitage. Specialists were stunned after seeing the find. They have never had such complete collection of artifacts. Each piece of the collection is worth nearly $50 000. However, few know what price the archaeologist and his family had to pay for it. Andrei Chamkin had been searching for the treasure for 15 years. Until one day, he finally found it…    

The unique finds

The “black” antique market in Sochi was feverish. Its customers could now acquire most rare antique pieces of artwork made of gold and silver at a reasonable price. One local attorney was offered to purchase one of the statues. He in turn went to the experts of Sochi’s Museum of Fine Art in order to prove the statue’s authenticity.

“In no circumstances should you purchase this statue,” suggested head of the museum Peotr Khrisanov to the attorney. “Judging by the artistic work of the piece, this is a remarkable possession of the government.”

This is how the story of the magnificent treasures began

It took FSB servicemen no more than a week to find out that Andrei Chamkin, resident of the Kazachii Brod village, was a proud owner of the unique find. When the guy was told of the tremendous importance of the find, he immediately gave it away. Those pieces that were already sold to several people have later been purchased back from them by the museum of fine arts.

That is how in 1997 the entire collection of silver cups, golden plates with engravings, various accessories, swords, a total of 26 items dating back to V-IV BC ended up in the museum.

Family's madness

Among all the villagers, 26-year-old Andrei Chamkin had a reputation of a rather strange person. He was a decent student. After school, he was admitted to a local junior college. Later, however, he left the institution in order to search for treasures. He was able to find some tiny fragments of the past here and there, nothing major. However, he remained determined that one day he would definitely find something tremendous.

“He is digging his own grave with this shovel,” local villagers used to say.

There are numerous rumors about ancient treasures hidden in the depths of Sochi's grounds. Local residents believe that evil guards those treasures. No one should ever touch them. Otherwise, he will always be haunted by bad luck. Andrei did not believe in such rumors.

“He chose a very good spot,” remarks history professor, Yuri Voronov. “There used to be a Greek settlement by the river Mzimta. Most likely, this is a treasure of legendary Argonauts. Such finds carry a rather mysterious energy in them…”

Research assistant of the Sochi's museum of fine arts Olga Khirsanova managed to interview Andrei right after his legendary discovery.

“He did not know himself why he had been searching for the treasure for so many years. He joked around saying that he simply wanted to continue his family tradition. Apparently, his father and grandfather had both been treasure hunters and had been digging in the same area for years. Perhaps, they wanted to discover second Troy. During a dig, Andrei lived in a tent. He was able to unearth the objects that had been hidden by earth for centuries. He then brought them home and placed them carefully on the floor.”

Then began the horrors, which Kazachii Brod does not want to recall.

The treasure has “taken” the entire family

“Father was the first one to go,” recalls the wife of Andrei's brother Sofia Pavlovna Chamkina. “As soon as he found the treasure, he suddenly died of lung cancer. Then, when the family has somewhat come in terms with his death, strange things began to happen with the younger sister of the 'archeologist'”.

“She has gone through major metamorphism after her brother's death,” remembers the aunt Sofia Pavlovna. “She became so rude. She would disappear for days. Then arrive home with some strangers. Some time later, she was found in Sochi with a bullet in her head.”

Their neighbor recalls: “After finding his treasure Andrei became so strange, cold and isolated. After he gave away the treasure, he was awarded some monetary compensation. …He bought an entire case of vodka and got drunk. He then quietly stepped into a nearby hut and shot himself in the head with a rifle.”

Andrei's wife along with her kids has soon left the village. According to locals, she was trying to escape from the curse.

Andrei's mother, after the death of her son and daughter, tried to drink the pain away… She got drunk and burned herself in her house.

Nowadays, only one Andrei’s brother Pavel still lives in the village Kazachii Brod. Whenever somebody tries to start a conversation about the treasure, one can see genuine horror on his face.

Experts comment    

Olga Semenova, assistant researcher of Hermitage comments:
“We have never had a complete collection of this sort in our museum. These items are priceless. Most likely, the treasure belonged to the Argonauts.” 

Valentin Morozov, president of St. Petersburg’s society of history and archaeology:
“People often tend to develop psychological dependency after finding a single worthy item. Treasure hunters have an entire array of various beliefs and superstitions. Interestingly, majority of them do work. Such finds are dangerous for people. They are connected to the world of the dead. Such treasures pull treasure hunters to go with them. ”

In the meantime…

The unique, Sochi's treasure is currently undergoing restoration at Hermitage. It is expected to be exhibited in its motherland in Greece during Olympic games in summer.

Elena Ivanenko
Souce: (“KP” Kuban”)

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov