Early plate stirrups from the sites of Central and North Asia: new finds and possibilities of cultural-chronological interpretation

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Seregin N.N. (Barnaul, Russian Federation), Fokin S.M. (Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation), Klyuchnikov T.A. (Minusinsk, Russian Federation)


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The article presents two previously unknown stirrups from the collections of the Krasnoyarsk Regional Museum of Local Lore and the Minusinsk Regional Museum of N.M. Martyanov. These items are accidental finds discovered in the pre-revolutionary period in the territory of the Minusinsk District. Both stirrups belong to the rare group of flat plate stirrups having a T-shaped footplate. The front side of these items is almost completely covered with an ornament in the form of triangles. In this study, we analysed information on all known early plate stirrups from the sites of Central and North Asia. The number of finds amounted to more than 30 items. While a significant part of this collection (about 20 items) is made up of accidental finds and objects from destroyed sites, only 11 stirrups are recorded in closed complexes. The analysis of available materials helps identify key typological features of items demonstrating the evolution of the morphological characteristics of objects, as well as the traditions of their use. It has been established that flat plate stirrups existed in Central and North Asia in the second half of the 5th beginning of the 7th centuries AD. The distribution analysis of finds in archaeological complexes suggests that early plate stirrups are associated with various population groups of nomads from Central and North Asia. These stirrups from museum collections can be preliminarily associated with the material culture of Tashtyk population. It is likely that the appearance of such items in the territory of the Minusinsk Hollow is due to contacts with more southern territories. A further increase in materials, primarily due to field research in Mongolia and Northwest China (Xinjiang), will contribute to a more thorough cultural and chronological interpretation of early plate stirrups.

Key words: stirrups, museum collections, Early Middle Ages, Central Asia, North Asia, Tashtyk culture, chronology, Türks.


Funding. The reported study was funded by RFBR and MCESSM according to the research project 19-59-44013.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted: 29.09.2019

Accepted: 19.12.2019

Article is published: 02.03.2020


Seregin N.N.

Altai State University, prosp. Lenina, 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation



Fokin S.M.

Krasnoyarsk Regional Museum of Local Lore, Dubrovinsky st., 84, Krasnoyarsk, 660049, Russian Federation



 Klyuchnikov T.A.

Minusinsk regional Museum of N.M. Martianov, Lenina st., 60, Minusinsk, 662610, Russian Federation