Chechushkov I.V., Molchanova V.V., Epimakhov A.V.

The absolute chronology of the Late Bronze Age settlements Kammenyi Ambar and Ust’ye I in the Southern Trans-Urals and its Bayesian analysis

In this paper, we examine the series of AMS radiocarbon measurements (N = 52) obtained from the Late Bronze Age settlements of Kamennyi Ambar and Usty’e I in the Southern Trans-Urals, Russia. The exploratory data analysis applied to uncalibrated dates allows for the batches and outliers isolation. Furthermore, based on the facts of stratigraphy and application of the Bayesian statistics, we reconstruct the chronology, estimate spans of habitation, and discuss issues of the existing samples. As the first step of the analysis, we consider archaeological contexts of the measurements and statistically identify apparent outliers. Despite the small sample size, the dataset from Ust’ye I obtained in the way that allows to date stratigraphically isolated construction/utilization episodes and thus are highly reliable. At least five measurements from Kamennyi Ambar date the natural events before the settlement construction and serve as upper limits in models. On the second stage of the analysis, the Bayesian models of the sites’ chronology constructed with OxCal 4.3. For Ust’ye I, we designed a three-phase model that allows to date two early habitational phases during which the walls and ditches were built around the settlement. The third phase defines the lower limit of the previous period, as this phase consists of a single radiocarbon measurement. The model suggests the existence of the gap between the two earliest stages, associated with the Sintashta and Petrovka ceramic types. While the sample size is small, this hypothesis agrees well with the site’s stratigraphy, as the settlement was re-modeled entirely at least once. We designed two models for Kamennyi Ambar. The first model includes all available data and consists of three phases: 1) natural events before the settlement construction; 2) the early «walled» phase; 3) the late «unwalled» phase. The second model incorporates data on the wells’ stratigraphy and uses only measurements from the wells. The models almost the same for the early habitational phase, but the modeled chronology of the late phase differs drastically, as the wells-based model condenses the phase and pushes it earlier. Further, the models suggest that Kamennyi Ambar existed only for about 50 years, and Usty’e I for nearly 100 years. The habitational phases within the same periods are partially desynchronized, and possible gaps in the habitation suggested by the models. One possible explanation of the short-term habitation spans and differences is that people needed to resettle regularly as resource depletion made the areas inhospitable for the communities of the livestock breeders.

Key words: Late Bronze Age, radiocarbon dating, Bayesian analysis, Southern Trans-Urals.


Vinogradov N.B.

The myth of the journey of the soul and Bronze Age funerary sites of the Sintashta and Petrovka type in the Southern Trans-Urals

The article presents an attempt to interpret the semantics of one of the brightest examples of the burial rite among the pastoral population with high level of metal production, which left the sites of the Sintashta and Petrovka type, localized in the Southern Trans-Urals (Trans-Ural peneplain). They are presently dated to the period between the 21st and 18th c. BC (transitional time from the Middle to Late Bronze Age). Materials from the burial sites (cemeteries of Sintashta and Krivoye Ozero) have been analysed, with direct involvement of the author. The problem appears as follows. The vast majority of researchers believe that within the burial chamber of some Sinthashta and later Petrovka socially significant persons, the chariots were placed, in an assembled or disassembled form, yet chariots. The main purpose of the chariots, in their opinion, was participation in military activities, with a caveat about the possibility of their use in rituals, and that the buried themselves should be recognised as chariot drivers-warriors who ruled the life of communities (clans). The article substantiates the hypothesis of the apparent existence of a tradition in the Sintashta, Petrovka and other synchronous Eastern European steppe cultural formations, of placing in the burial chamber the very parts of a chariot, especially the wheels, and not the whole chariots. The author suggests considering the funeral rite of the chosen members of the Bronze Age Sintashta and Petrovka communities (clans) of the Southern Trans-Urals, which involved the use of chariot parts (wheels), as a kind of symbolic text, as a modelled realization of the funeral myth, which tells the story of the journey of the soul to the afterlife on the burial chariot of the Vedic twin gods Ashwins. The detailed parameters of such models should not be literally correlated with the real transportation means. According to the author, the individuals buried in such tombs were not necessarily chariot drivers-warriors. The paper discusses another important aspect the localization of the other world for the Bronze Age Sintashta and Petrovka population of the Southern Trans-Urals. According to our observations, the ideas about the localization of the world of the dead were not permanent and could change over several centuries, from the Sintashta period to the time of the classical stage of the history of the Alakul Culture (pottery with a ledge shoulder, with ornamentation spread across two or three zones). The majority of adults in the Sintashta burials with wheel hollows, were orientated with their heads to the northwest sector. Similar was the orientation of symbolic wagons and equally symbolic horses. For alike Petrovka burial sites, the latitudinal orientation already prevailed. These changes, as it appears to the
author, reflect modifications of the funeral myth.

Key words: Bronze Age, Southern Trans-Urals, chariot, Sintashta and Petrovka burials, journey of the soul, Ashwins.


Chikunova I.Yu.

Accidental find of the Late Bronze Age casting mould on the Pyshma River

The purpose of this publication is to present to scientific discussion a unique casting mould. The foundry mold was discovered accidentally in 2019 near the Pyshma River in the Yalutorovsk District of the Tyumen Region. It represents a four-sided trapezoid bar of gray slate stone, slightly tapered to one end. On three sides of the bar, negatives are cut out for casting three different products. The first side has a negative for casting à slotted spearhead with roller on pen slots. The bushing is hollow, the blade is laurel-shaped. The second negative was also used for casting the short-socketed slotted spearhead. The third matrix was for casting celt-adze. The synchronicity of the negatives of the spearheads and the celt-adze on the cast allows dating this mould to the 15th–11th c. BC and correlating it to the time of existence of the Alekseevka-Sargary Culture.

Key words: accidental find, mold, wålt spearheads, celt-adze, the Late Bronze Age, the Tobol River, the Pyshma River.


Seregin N.N., Matrenin S.S., Iderkhangai T.-O.

Cave burial of Urd Ulaan Uneet (Mongolian Altai): ðotential of cultural-chronological interpretation

The article considers the materials of the Urd Ulaan Uneet cave burial, investigated in 2015. This complex is located in the Tsagaanbulag Myangad Somon of Kobdo Aimak of Mongolia, at the altitude of 1327 m a.s.l. Presented is the description of the circumstances of discovery of this important site, as well as the existing experience of studying and publishing of the materials. The main objective of the study is the detailed analysis of the main categories of finds from the cave burial, the most informative of which include wooden saddle, iron bits with horn psalia, compound bow, arrowheads, leather quiver with iron hook, and wooden vessel. For the interpretation of these items, extensive archaeological sources of the Syanby-Rouran and medieval time, assembled during the excavations in various parts of the Central Asian region, were involved. Based on the results obtained, a number of conclusions have been made regarding the cultural and chronological interpretation of the site. It has been established that the Urd Ulaan Uneet complex is one of the rare objects of the Rouran time in Mongolia, and the only known cave burial of this chronological period. The monument can be confidently dated to the middle of the 4th –5th c. AD with the possible extension of the upper chronological boundary to the beginning of the 6th c. AD. This conclusion is generally supported by the results of radiocarbon analysis presented in the publications of Mongolian archaeologists. An indicative characteristic of the cave site, not revealed during the excavations of other objects of the Rouran period in Mongolia, is the accompanying burial of a horse. Obviously, this feature of the funeral rite is explained by contacts with the population of the Bulan-Koby Culture. The weighty argument in favor of the proposed possible interactions between the Altai cattle breeders and nomads of Western Mongolia in the Rouran period could be found among the investigated burials of the Bulan-Koby Culture in the Bayan-Ulgiy Aimag. The material complex found during the excavation of the Urd Ulaan Uneet cave burial reflects the very wide contacts of the population of Mongolia in various directions (Altai-Sayan Region, Trans-Baikal Region, Manchuria, East Turkestan, Central Asia) in the middle of the 1st mil. AD. In addition, the «western» relations are clearly distinguishable; these obviously demonstrate the complex migration processes of the Great Migration

Key words: rock burial, Rouran period, Mongolian Altai, finds, chronology, interpretation.


Khairullina O.F., Chernykh E.M.

Burials with arrowheads in graves of the Mazunino Culture in the Middle Kama Region

The paper is focused on burial grounds of the Mazunino Culture (or Mazunino stage of the Cheganda Culture of the Pyany Bor Cultural-Historical Community by R.D. Goldina) in the Middle Kama Region. They date to the 3rd–5th c. AD and chronologically correlate with the Great Migration Period. The processes of major and minor migrations of that time had an impact on various components of the autochthonous Kama Region cultures. The focus of our research is the burials with throwing weapons, primarily arrowheads found in the Mazunino archers’ burials. The interest in throwing weapon was trigged by the heuristical observation of anthropologist Ivan G. Shirobokov for the Boyar «Aray» cemetery, where the existence of morphological differences in a group of buried men with arrowheads was statistically proven. To examine this phenomenon, a working hypothesis was put forward: intra-group differences of one small necropolis could be reflected in the burial rite and the grave goods of all Mazunino archers’ burials. In total, 148 burials and 146 skeletons with arrowheads from 12 necropolises of the Mazunino Culture have been examined. The comparative analysis of the burial rite features demonstrated a stable correlation between the presence of arrowheads and male burials. The archers’ burials correspond to the burial practices of the majority of the Mazunino population. Rare deviations suggest close relations between local communities and other cultures and ethnicities, primarily with nomadic tribes. Bone arrowheads as a primary weapon of the Mazunino warriors continue the previous traditions of the Ananyino, Pyany Bor (Cheganda) / Kara-Abyz Cultures. A comprehensive analysis of the inter-occurrence of implements in male equipment with arrowheads allowed distinguishing two conventional groups of burials. The first one is characterized by the presence of only arrowheads in the burial equipment. These grave goods were typical for Mazunino population and consisted of ordinary belts, iron knives, beads, etc. The second group was significantly different, as these were individuals who were skilled in using various weapons, and their kit included various types of weapons for both close and long-range combat. Probably, there was a military gradation among such archers, which needs to be supported by analysis of a larger number of the Mazunino burials. The results of our work need to be verified using the anthropological materials from other Mazunino burial grounds.

Key words: Western Cis-Ural, Middle Kama region, Mazunino Culture, necropolis, burial rite, wea-ponry, arrowheads.


Tkachev A.A., Tkachev Al.Al., Rafikova T.N.

The Sarov complex on the Singul Lake

The paper presents the results of the study of the Sarov complex in the Roza Vetrov VII settlement, located in the forest-steppe Tobol River Region (Western Siberia). The Sarov stage of the Kulayka Culture terminates the Early Iron Age and dates to the 1st c. BC 3rd c. AD. The dwelling represented by a hut-like superstructure used by fishermen during the spawning period of the warm season is described. Also characterised are the tools including pestle, grindstone, and a fragment of the casting form. The pottery complex reflects all specific features of the Sarov stage ware the monotony of the ornamental composition, which consists of multiple repetition of rows of the combed stamp and waves, downswept rims. The characteristic of the sample is the complete absence of figured stamps in the ornamentation. The time of migration of the northern taiga population into the sub-taiga and forest-steppe zones of Western Siberia is based on the chronological position of the Sarov sites and specifics of the historical and cultural situation in the present region in the end of the Early Iron Age. The Sargatka Culture, which was spread in the territory of the forest-steppe Trans-Urals, existed until the end of the 2nd early 3rd c. AD. The Sarov complex of the Ayga VIII settlement is attributed to the 3rd c. AD; the burials of the multicultural Kozlov burial ground, where the Sarov pottery has been found, are dated to the 3rd6th c. AD. The spread of the Sarov population occurred from the Surgut area of the Ob River Region or the Lower Irtysh River Region along the main water arteries the rivers of Irtysh, Tobol, Tura, Iset from the 3rd c. AD. The Sarov materials of the Roza Vetrov VII settlement could be dated to the same time. The Sarov population took part in the genesis of the early medieval cultures of the forest-steppe and the sub-taiga Trans-Urals. Bakal Culture inherited from the bearers of the Sargatka Culture the pottery ornamentation technique, while from the population of the Sarov and Karym Cultures the shape of vessels with a whisk and cornice sloping inside. The influence of the northern taiga population can also explain the spread of fortifications with bastions in Tobolo-Ishim Region.

Key words: forest-steppe Tobol River Region, Early Iron Age, Sarov stage of Kulayka Ñulture, dwel-ling, material stock.


Tataurov S.F.

Tobacco and pipes in the city of Tara in the 17th19th centuries

The research was carried out on the materials of 2009–2019 archeological-historical investigations in one of the first Russian cities in Siberia — Tara, founded in 1594. The aim was to study the process of tobacco distribution in the region and the specific aspects of tobacco smoking in the 17th–19th centuries. The perception of this habit from the local administration and various groups of the population, such as servicemen, Old Believers and other social strata of the city, has been considered. The attitude to tobacco smoking changed over the studied period from the government ban to protection by the highest authorities. The perception within the society also varied, from semi-underground smoking and punishment for this habit to permission and encouragement. In total, during the excavation, 10 pipes for tobacco smoking and 2 mouthpieces were found. Pipes from archeological excavations of Siberian sites of the Sayany ostrog, as well as those from Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, were analyzed. Based on this analysis, the Tara pipes were divided into the following types: locally produced items of the 18th century, «Moscow» pipes of the 18th century, and porcelain pipes of the 19th century. By their design, they split into heads with small cups for finely cut tobacco and pipes with large cups for Russian coarsely cut tobacco. The collection of pipes obtained during archaeological research in the city of Tara overall fits into the general concept of the distribution of smoking in Siberia, proposed by A.V. Shapovalov. The mouthpieces are made of wood and bone and fit with dimensions of the pipe heads. Planigraphically, the findings of pipes and mouthpieces in the 17th century are associated to the interhouse spaces, and pipes of the 18th–19th centuries — to the location of drinking houses. This is related to the prohibition of smoking by local administrations before Peter the Great time, and then to the protests of Old Believers against smoking. The issue of the use of drugs during smoking, primarily hashish, a tradition that could come to Siberia from Central Asia, is still to be addressed.

Key words: Siberia, the city Tara, history, archaeology, tobacco, pipe.


Turova N.P.

Pottery from the Vak-Kur cemetery of the Yudina Culture (based on materials from excavations 36)

Researchers associate the medieval archeological artifacts of the Middle Trans-Urals, whose pottery bears cord impressions, with the Chiyalik, Molchanvo and Yudina Cultures. Despite the large number of artifacts that have been studied, many questions remain open. These include the status, chronology, and interaction of the Molchanovo and Yudina antiquities, as well as the evolution and specifics of their pottery complexes. Publication and analysis of the ceramic collections from Vak-Kur, the largest burial ground of the Yudina Culture, contribute to addressing some problems related to «the Corded Ware cultures». The Vak-Kur burial ground is dated to the 10th–11th centuries based on the assemblage of the associated goods. It is located in the south-eastern part of the Yudina Culture areal, on the right shore of the Tobol River. For all the time of excavations in the area of the necropolis, 220 burials have been studied. The dead were buried in shallow pits according to the ritual of inhumation, on their backs. A specific feature of the funeral ritual is breaking of a part of the accompanying equipment and use of funerary masks. Decorative and morphological features of 143 Yudina vessels have been examined. The tableware has been categorized according to four topographic groups after excavations 3 to 6. It has been noted that, despite the similar shapes of pots, and ornamental proportions and patterns, the pottery from excavations 3 to 6 demonstrates a different frequency in use of such elements in the décor as the cord and figured stamps. The biggest differences were detected between the ceramic artifacts found in excavations 4 and 6. It was suggested that the differences in décor between pottery from different excavations are determined not by their asynchronous nature, but by the existence of several tribal sites in the area of the Yudina necropolis. The comparison of ceramic collections from the Vak-Kur burial ground with those from the medieval burial and settlement sites of the Yudina Culture showed that the pottery from the necropolis is most closely related to collections from the Plamya Sibiri 6 and 7, and Antonovo 1 settlements located in the Tura River basin. These sites were dated by their investigator to the earlier period (6th to 9th centuries) and attributed to the Molchanovo Culture. Based on the significant similarity between the pottery of the named sites and the dishware of the 10th to 11th centuries from excavation 4 of the Vak-Kur burial ground, a revision of the chronology and cultural attribution of these sites has been proposed.

Key words: Western Siberia, Trans-Urals, Middle Ages, Yudinà culture, burial ground Vak-Kur, ceramics.