Forged products by Russian craftsmen of the 17th19th centuries on the basis of materials from the Kikki-Akki burial ground

of Upper Taz Selkups: technological characteristics

Zinyakov N.M. (Kemerovo, Russian Federation), Poshekhonova O.E. (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


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The article studies the technology of making iron and steel items of Russian origin, discovered in the Kikki-Akki burial ground of Northern Selkups (18th19th centuries) in the north of Western Siberia in the upper reaches of the Taz River. In the study, we established the origin and chronology of Russian industrial goods in Western Siberia, as well as factors under the influence of which they appeared among the indigenous Siberian population. We examined knives and axes (17th early 19th centuries) using the methods of metallographic analysis including macro- and micrographic examination, as well as microhardness testing. They provide an opportunity to determine the structure of the metal, which in turn helps determine chemical composition, physical and mechanical properties of the product. The analysis of forged products revealed that they were made according to the technological traditions of Russian metalworking production existing in the 17th early 19th centuries. Its distinctive features included the development and widespread practice in applying the modifications of two technological schemes for producing items from ferrous metal. The former was based on the welding either of iron and steel or of different grades of steel, whereas the latter involved all-steel structures. The former technological scheme predominated in the production of items found in the Kikki-Akki burial ground. Moreover, the production of welded structures lacked standardisation. The following techniques were used in the production of knives: two-layer wel-ding of iron and steel, three-layer welding, V-joint welding, oblique welding, built-up welding at the ends and wel-ding of the steel blade. The use of soft quenching was noted as an additional operation that improved the operational properties of the household tool. This variety of used technological schemes reflects the complex nature of the formation of the industrial goods market in Western Siberia. The selection of items made using different welded technologies is associated with the intention to use metal products of the highest quality for the fur trade and yasak collection. However, all-metal structures predominated in the main centres for the production of forged goods cities of European Russia and Western Siberia.

Key words: Western Siberia, the Late Middle Ages, Upper Taz Selkups, ferrous metal, Russian products, metallographic analysis, production technology.


Funding. The article is written within the framework of the State Project No. AAAA-A17-117050400143-4.


Acknowledgments. The authors are grateful to A.S. Afonyn researcher of archaeological and natural reconstructions department of IPDN of the Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, for determining the species of wood samples, as well as A.V. Naberukhin an expert in metals of value and gem stones of WSSASI, for determining the composition of non-ferrous alloys.


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

Submitted: 09.11.2019

Accepted: 19.12.2019

Article is published: 02.03.2020


Zinyakov N.M.

Kemerovo State University, Krasnaya st., 6, Kemerovo, 650000, Russian Federation



Poshekhonova O.E.

Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625003, Russian Federation