Kufterin V.V., Vorobyeva S.L.

Traumatic injuries on the crania from the Novo-Sasykul cemetery

This study is focused on the cranial sample from the Novo-Sasykul cemetery of the Pyany Bor Culture in the Lower Kama region (Bakaly District, Republic of Bashkortostan). The Novo-Sasykul cemetery is dated to the 1st–2nd c. AD, and it is fully excavated. The frequency of traumatic injuries has been analyzed in a sample consisting of 94 skulls of adult individuals (47 males, 47 females) stored in the Bashkortostan National Museum (Ufa). Injuries have been examined according to recommendations and methods used in the forensic medicine and paleopathology. The distribution of traumas was studied depending on sex and the side of the skull (left / right or frontal / dorsal). The intergroup variability of the ratios of combat traumas was studied with the involvement of a number of the Early Iron Age samples. The differences in frequencies were analyzed using the chi-squared test and two-tailed Fisher's exact test. It has been noted that the analysed sample is characterized by the high level of fatal combat injuries. In total, 16 injuries were recorded on 12 skulls (21.3 % in males, 4.3 % in females). A significantly larger number of traumas are localized on the left side of the skull, which may indicate a predominant strike direction from right to left. The identified traumatic injuries are grouped into five types. With the exception of one case of injury by a trilobate bone arrowhead, all injuries are qualified as blade weapon traumas. All traumas are perimortal, without any traces of healing. Against a comparative background, the studied sample is characterized by the high level of combat traumas, similar to those of the Late Sarmatian population from Esaulovskiy Aksai, the Hun from Ulangom, and the Bulan-Koba Culture sample from the Stepushka cemetery. However, archaeologically identified low level of armament of the Novo-Sasykul cemetery population, as well as the short period of the cemetery functioning, testify against the regular involvement of the analyzed group in armed conflicts. The high frequency of combat cranial traumas in this group, considering its low militarization, represented mainly by iron and bone arrowheads with a small amount of melee weapons, suggests that the Pyany Bor groups were more likely to be subjected to armed raids, acting more often as victims. Taking into account the planigraphy of the burials from which the injured skulls originate, it has been concluded that this part of the studied group died as a result of a possibly single armed conflict.

Key words: Early Iron Age, Pyany Bor Ñulture, Lower Kama region, paleopathology, traumas.


Veselovskaya E.V., Galeev R.M.

Anthropological reconstruction of the physical appearance of the «king» and «queen» from the early Scythian burial and memorial complex of Arzhan-2

Arzhan-2, the archaeological site of world significance, a national treasure of peoples of Tuva and Russia, located in the «Valley of Kings» (Piy-Khemsk District, Tyva Republic), was investigated in 20012004 by the Central Asian Archaeological Expedition of the State Hermitage Museum headed by K.V. Chugunov. The sites has been dated to the 7th c. BC and attributed to the Scythian-Siberian cultural community. When exploring the «royal» burial of the early Scythian site of Arzhan-2, the scientists faced the questions of the origin of the buried, periodization and chronology of the monument, its archaeological-cultural attribution, the autochthonous nature of the population that left it, and its relationship with other Eurasian early nomadic cultures. The present study is addressing the most important issue of the appearance of the buried people and characteristics of their anthropological type. The material for the study was comprised of male and female skulls from burial 5 of Arzhan-2 mound. The article describes in detail the process of reconstruction of the physical appearance of the deceased and provides examples of calculating ante mortem parameters based on craniometric measurements. The complex stages of preliminary work related to the restoration of skulls and manufacturing of their exact copies are highlighted. The results of the physical appearance reconstruction are presented in the form of visual museum objects sculptural portraits. The scientific reconstruction of the ante mortem appearance on skulls of the «king» and «queen» was carried out in the Laboratory of Anthropological Reconstruction of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences by anthropologists Drs E.V. Veselovskaya and R.M. Galeev. In anthropological terms, the buried show a peculiar mosaic of Caucasoid and Mongoloid features. They are characterized by brachycephaly and dome-shaped head, with notably developed rugosity of the supercilium in the man and its absence in the woman. For the man, an average width of the face and a narrow forehead of medium height are noted. The woman has broad face and forehead, the height of the forehead is average. Both portraits are characterized by prominent position of eyeballs and large eyes. Man’s nose is short, prominent, with convex dorsum. Woman’s nose has a wavy dorsum, and is slightly prominent. On the male portrait, the cheekbones are moderate, on the female one high and prominent. Faces of the «royal» persons are flattened in the upper part, with a certain degree of alveolar prognathism. The lower jaw of the man is medium in size, narrow in the corners. For the woman, some gracility of the lower jaw can be noted.

Key words: funeral-memorial complex Arzhan-2, anthropological reconstruction of appearance, paleo-anthropology, early Scythians of Tuva, museology.