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

Khairullina O.F., Chernykh E.M. (Izhevsk, Russian Federation)


              page 5266


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 3rd5th 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.

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

Accepted: 02.03.2020

Article is published: 05.06.2020


Khairullina O.F.

Udmurt State University, Universitetskaya st., 1, bld. 2, Izhevsk, 426034, Russian Federation



Chernykh E.M.

Udmurt State University, Universitetskaya st., 1, bld. 2, Izhevsk, 426034, Russian Federation