Kovalev A.A., Solodovnikov K.N., Munkhbayar Ch., Erdene  M., Nechvaloda A.I., Zubova A.V.

Paleoanthropological study of a skull from a burial at the Chemurchek sanctuary Hulagash (Bayan-Ulgii aimag, Mongolia)

Recent studies show that, in the 3rd millennium BC, the highlands in the basin of the upper reaches of the Khovd (Kobdo) River constituted a ritual zone, which was of particular importance for the population inhabiting the western foothills of the Mongolian Altai Mountains. Its cultural singularity was due to the so-called Chemurchek cultural phenomenon a set of characteristics of West European origin, which appeared there no later than 2700–2600 BC. Three large-scale ritual complexes-‘shrines’ attributed to this period were discovered in the area of Lake Dayan Nuur. Excavations conducted by the expedition of A.A. Kovalev and Ch. Munkhbayar revealed that these structures constituted fences consisting of vertical stone slabs, decorated all-over on the outside with the images of fantastic anthropomorphic creatures and animals. The excavation of Hulagash 1 (one of these sanctuaries), radiocarbon dated to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, revealed a single grave in the centre of the structure, synchronous with the time when the complex was used. The grave belonged to a man of advanced age, whose body was wrapped in a wide piece of cloth. The significance of this man being buried in the centre of the ritual site remains unclear. This person could have been sacrificed during construction or, conversely, he could have had a special status. Craniometrical measurement and dentological investigation of the scull from the Chemurchek sanctuary Hulagash were conducted; its graphic reconstruction was performed. Its anthropological type shows a significant Mongoloid component. Intergroup comparison revealed its significant morphological differences from markedly Caucasoid groups, including the Afanasievo culture of South Siberia and Central Asia. This excludes the morphogenetic continuity of the Chemurchek phenomenon from the antecedent Afanasievo population. The individual from Hulagash bears the greatest anthropological similarity to the Neolithic-Eneolithic and Early Bronze Age populations of the Circumbaikal region (Serovo and Glazkovo cultures) and the Barnaul-Biysk Ob area (Itkul and Firsovo XI burial grounds dating back to the pre-Bronze Age; Early Bronze Age burial grounds of the Elunino culture). This is obviously a manifestation of a shared anthropological substrate, since the anthropological component of the Baikal type (which the population of the Elunino culture included) was recorded in the Neolithic-Eneolithic materials from the northern foothills of the Altai Mountains. Remarkable morphological similarities between the individual from Hulagash and the bearers of the Elunino archaeological culture reinforce the assumption that there is a cultural affinity between the Chemurchek and Elunino populations of the Early Bronze Age.

Key words: Early Bronze Age, Chemurchek cultural phenomenon, Elunino culture, Western Mongolia, paleoanthropology.


Khudaverdyan A.Yu., Hovhanisyan A.A., Yengibaryan A.A., Matevosyan R.Sh., Qocharyan G.G., Palanjan P.S., Eganyan L.G., Khachatryan A.A.

Population of the Armenian Higlands in the age of Antiquity (according of anthropological materials of urban and rural settlements)

Article is devoted to studying of bone remains from antique burial grounds from the territory of the Armenian Highland. Anthropological materials of burials consist of 322 skeletons and dated IIII c. AD. The article analyzes the differences in anthropological characteristics of urban and rural population of Armenia of Antiquity period. The work is based on classical craniometric and statistical research methods. Artificial cranial deformationare and unintended deformation of a cradle-type found among urban and rural populations. As an intragroup analysis showed, the main differences between male urban and rural population across the size of the width of the frontal bone and face. If the villagers face orthognatic, angle of horizontal profiling at the top level enters the category of averages, in urban women face mezognatik, the angle of horizontal profiling is characterized by small values. Intergroup analysis showed, closest to urban male groups it turned out the tribes of Chernyakhov culture and the population of the Middle East. A male part of the villagers shows intimacy with Scythians of Crimea, Ukraine and Transnistria. The female part of the towns’ people is close with the Scythians of Ukraine and Crim; villagers are morphologically similar to the carriers of the Middle Sarmatian cultures of the Don region, with a population of the first centuries AD from Tanais, European and Asian Bosporus. Morphological analogies with the population of Northern Turkmenistan (Tumek-Kichidzhik), Western Ukraine (Chernyakhov culture), Middle Dnieper and Moldova (Scythians) were also revealed. This circumstance confirms the fact of sustainable, constant migration flow to the territory of the Armenian Highlands.

Key words: Armenia, Antiquity period, anthropological type, craniology, urban and rural population, artificially deformed skulls.