Craniological sources on the problem of ethnogenesis of the Narym Selkups 

Bagashev A.N.


Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2021, 4 (55)


              page 113124




The Narym Selkups are an indigenous population of the Middle Ob River region speaking various dialects of the Selkup language related to the South-Samodian branch of the Ural language family. In the course of the study of Medieval and relatively recent burial grounds in the territory of the Narym Ob area of Tomsk Oblast, conside-rable amount of craniological material has been collected, which constitutes an important historical source for solving general problems of their origins. According to the archaeological and ethnographic materials, the Medieval burials were left by direct ascendants of modern Narym Selkups, whereas the materials from the later burial grounds are directly associated with their specific local-dialect groups. This paper is aimed to introduce into scientific discourse virtually all craniological materials known today from the burial grounds left by the Narym Selkups, and, on the basis of the results of group cross-correlation, to identify trends of the territorial variability of the whole community. Significant increase of new finds from the vast territory of the Middle Ob region, population-driven approach to the data analysis and development of the craniometric technique warranted re-grouping of the finds by the territorial principle and their repeated measurement and analysis. In view of the current problem, all craniological materials were grouped into ten sampling series, five of which are published for the first time (the burial ground of Ostyatskaya Gora and four combined craniological series from the burial grounds of Lower Chulym, Narym Ob, Upper Ket, and the Tym and Vasyugan rivers). Analysis of the variability of the series from the Narym Ob region in chronological and geographical bands showed their weak variability in space and time. Therefore, prior to the Russian colonization of Siberia, this region of the Middle Ob area was not invaded by considerably large groups of people of different anthropological appearance. All studied craniological series were samples from the single unity. Although the territorial variability of the anthropological features within the groups of the Narym Selkups is not large, in some cases an influence of territorially closest neighbours on the anthropological structures of particular Selkup populations can be discerned. It appeared that the southern groups exhibit resemblance with their territorially closest Turkic populations of the Chulym and Lower Tom regions, while in the composition of other Narym groups, there have been identified an admixture of the component genetically related to the Turkic populations of the Western-Siberian forest-steppe Barabino and Tobol-Irtysh Tatars, and, although being very weak, an influence of the Ob Ugric populations can be discerned.

Keywords: craniology, population, physical type, intergroup variability, southern Samoyedians, Selkups, Western Siberia, Narym Ob river region.


Funding. The work was carried out according to state order No. 121041600045-8.


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

Accepted: 16.09.2020

Article is published: 23.12.2021


Bagashev A.N., Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation, E-mail:,