Children’s and Adult Cross Pendants of the 17th19th centuries in Siberia

Gorokhov S.V. (Novosibirsk, Russian Federation)


             page 4958


When conducting a chronological and planigraphic analysis of cross pendants discovered in Russian orthodox necropoleis belonging to the 17th19th centuries, a researcher may encounter a situation of both adults and children of different age groups being buried in the same cemetery area, as well as within the same time period. However, these adults and children acquired their cross pendants at different moments. Therefore, to reconstruct the chronological development of such necropoleis in greater detail, it is required to know whether children’s graves contain any specific cross pendants and, if they do, at what age a children’s cross pendant was replaced with an adult one. This study was aimed at resolving the issue of correlation between the age of a buried person and the size of his/her cross pendant on the basis of archaeological material. The research base was represented by the collections of cross pendants formed during excavation works across the territory of the necropoleis of the Umrevinsky and Ilimsky Ostrogs, the cemetery of the Izyuk-I settlement, as well as by a collection of accidentally lost cross pendants from the Ob area near Novosibirsk. At the first stage, the dimensions of cross pendants were correlated with the age of the buried persons. It is determined that the width of a cross pendant depended on the age of a buried person, i.e. the older the buried person was, the wider his/her cross pendant turned out. This regularity has been observed in all the studied monuments to a various extent. The identified regularity testifies to the tradition in Siberia of replacing cross pendants when people reached a particular age; thus, a cross pendant was replaced once or twice at the age of 10–20 years. Such replacement of cross pendants might have been related to an accidental loss and a necessity to acquire a new cross pendant rather than to a tradition. The second research stage implied a planigraphic analysis of distribution of children’s graves with small-sized cross pendants within each necropolis. The analysis has shown the cemetery of the Izyuk-I village and the necropolis of the Ilimsky Ostrog to be characterized by a homogeneous distribution of small-sized cross pendants. Moreover, the necropolis of Umrevinsky Ostrog reflected an increase in the difference between the sizes of children’s and adult cross pendants in the 19th century. The sized-based comparison of cross pendants from the necropoleis and cross pendants accidentally lost during lifetime has demonstrated that, in the south of Western Siberia, people were buried with the same cross pendants they had been wearing during their lifetime.

Key words: staurography, children cross pendant, Izyuk-I, Umrevinsky Ostrog, Ilimsky Ostrog, Spassky necropolis of Irkutsk, Siberia.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2019-45-2-049-058


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Submitted: 26.02.2019

Accepted: 01.04.2019

Article is published: 28.06.2019


S.V. Gorokhov

Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of Siberian Branch RAS, Akad. Lavrent’ev av., 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russian Federation