Housebuilding of the Itkul Culture population in the subtaiga forest-steppe Trans-Urals  

Berlina S.V., Zimina O.Yu.  (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


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This paper presents the results of the analysis of housebuilding tradition and graphical reconstruction of nine buildings from three stages of the eastern branch of the Itkul Culture (end of the 8th 6th c. BC): Itkul (end of the 8th first half of the 7th c. BC); Karagay-Aulsky (second half of the 7th c. BC); and Vak-Kurovsky (6th c. BC). The fortified settlements, whose buildings have been studied, are located in the valley of the Tobol River (subtaiga northern forest-steppe zone, Western Siberia): Karagai Aul 1; Karagai Aul 4; Vak-Kur 2; and Sanatoriy Lesnye Gorki 1. By means of constrained reconstruction based on the analysis of planigraphy and stratigraphy of the excavation site, basic elements of the building frame, viz., the postholes marking the boundary and belonging to the building structure, were identified. Then the specifics of the building frame, techniques employed in construction of walls and roof, and building materials were determined. In the final step of the reconstruction, a series of drawings of the buildings were created. As a result of the analysis of the building remains, a long-lasting housebuilding tradition of the western Itkul Culture population has been recorded the use of a pile-dwelling structure built on the day surface. In terms of the shape, elongated sub-rectangular and polygonal-rounded dwellings have been identified. The wall framework consisted of two pillars joined by a beam at the top. These modules constituted perimeter of the structure and were held together by a second row of joists. The framework of the walls and the ridge beam were fixed to each other by scaffold poles placed on the ridge beam at one end and on the wall joist at the other end. The space between the frame elements was filled with tilted timber logs, whole or split lengthwise, and the walls at the top would be insulated with bark and hay or have a soil filler. The roof of the buil-dings was mainly double-slope and a four-slope roof has been recorded only in one instance. The exit from the building was located in one of the walls, usually the short (face) wall. Annexes (lofts?) have been recorded for four buildings. The pile-dwelling structures of above-ground type have a broad range of territorial and chronological analogies; although in the Tobol River region at the turn of the Bronze to the Early Iron Age they appeared in a developed form. The origins of this phenomenon in the studied territory can be established by further research.

Key words: Western Siberia, Trans-Urals, transition period from Bronze Age to Early Iron Age, Itkul ulture, fortified settlement, housebuilding.


Funding. The article is written within the framework of the State Project -17-117050400147-2.


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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


Berlina S.V.

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



Zimina O.Yu.

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