Knives of the Petrovka Culture in the Southern Trans-Urals: morphological and typological characteristics  

Degtyareva A.D. (Tyumen, Russian Federation), Ryndina N.V. (Moscow, Russian Federation)


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The paper reports morphological and typological characteristics of knives of the Petrovka Culture in the Southern Trans-Urals and Middle Tobol River region (the Early Alakul period, as defined by N.V. Vinogradov). According to the 14 dates (36 dates in total, half them are AMS dates), the chronological period of the Petrovka sites in the Southern Trans-Urals spans the 19th through 18th centuries BC. The inventory metal complexes of the Late Bronze Age cultures between the Don and Ishim Rivers, despite the large territory, have many common types of tools. This is particularly noticeable when comparing the largest category of the tools the knives (49 specimens). Differentiation of the tools by type was based on the methodology of typological attribution of the inventory taking into account the presence or absence of particular qualitative characteristics and their combination analysis of the handle decoration, presence of a bolster, knife tang, shape of the transition from the blade to the tang, and shape and cross-section of the blade. Alongside the morphological and typological characterization of the knives, mapping the tools finds and was also carried out with the search for analogues in neighboring cultures. The most effective results have been obtained by mapping of tools with rhombic tangs, crosshair and interception, which are most numerous (147 specimens). We have identified three types of the knives with prominent massive handle, knives with forged sleeve and seven types of the tools with tangs. The identified types of the Petrovka Culture of the Southern Trans-Urals are more or less characteristic of the family of related cultures of the Eurasian forest-steppe and steppe belt Abashevo, Sintashta, Petrovka, Early Srubnaya, and sites of the Potapovka and Pokrovka types. On the basis of the statistical data, there have been identified the types of the knives with a massive handle, as well as those with a forged sleeve, which are predominantly associated with the metalwork centers of the Petrovka Culture. We have unraveled the particular significance of the knives with rhombic tangs, crosshair and interception in the ritual practices of the entire circle of the cultures from the forest-steppe and steppe belt, apparently related to the special social status of the buried individuals. Prototypes of most forms of knives with tangs have been found in the stereotypes of the objects from the production centers of the Circumpontian Metallurgical Province. The common momentum for the genesis of the forest-steppe and steppe cultures, originating from the Middle Bronze Age cultures of the Eastern Europe and Ural, explains the common morphology of the knives for the family of the related cultures of the first phase of the Eurasian Metallurgical Province with a variety of forms and in contrast to the uniform shape of the knives of the Srubnaya and Alakul types of the second phase of the Eurasian Province.

Key words: Late Bronze Age, Southern Trans-Urals, Middle Tobol, Petrovka culture, knife morphology, typology.


Acknowledgments. We express our sincere gratitude for the possibility of using the knives from unpublished materials of the burial ground Troitsk 7 to the leading researcher at the Institute of History and Archeology of the Ural Branch of the RAS, Doctor of History A.V. Epimakhov, as well as senior research associate of the Tyumen Scientific Centr of the SB RAS, candidate of historical sciences V.M. Kostomarov for assistance in mapping finds.

Funging. The work was carried out on a state assignment, project No. AAAA-A17-117050400147-2 (A.D. Degtyareva).


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

Accepted: 29.05.2020

Article is published: 28.08.2020


Degtyareva A.D.,

Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation


.. ,


Ryndina N.V.  

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Lomonosov prosp., 27, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation