Unusual burial of an adolescent with military equipment from the Rouran time necropolis of Choburak-I (Northern Altai)  

Seregin N.N., Tishkin A.A., Matrenin S.S., Parshikova T.S.


Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2022, 1 (56)




              page 122133




In this article we introduce into scientific discourse and provide diverse interpretation of the extraordinary burial of a young man of 1315 years old, investigated during the excavation of the necropolis of the Bulan-Koby Archaeological Culture within the Choburak-I funeral and memorial complex. This site is located on the right bank of the Katun River, 3.6 km south from the Elanda Village in the Chemal District, Altai Republic. The unique nature of this object (mound no. 29a) is determined by the presence of a full-fledged male inventory with the deceased, including long-range weapons (bow and arrows with iron tips) and close combat (knife in a scabbard), items of equipment (belt buckles, distributors, fasteners), whip with a bone handle. In addition, a bone comb was discovered in the grave, which is traditionally an attribute of grave goods in female burials of the Altai population of the Xianby-Rouran period. At the same time, there was no riding horse in the burial, which was a mandatory attribute of funeral practice for full-fledged members of society. A comparative study of different categories of weapons, equipment, tools and household utensils, as well as comparison of the obtained results with radiocarbon dates, made it possible to establish the chronology of the published complex within the second half of the 4th first half of the 5th c. AD. In the context of the funeral rite of adult population who used the Choburak-I burial ground, the grave of an adolescent from mound no. 29a belongs to the Dyalyan tradition, whose representatives were the elite of the society of cattle breeders in the Northern Altai during the Rouran period. The analysis of the obtained materials testifies to the special (transitional) individual status of the deceased person in the nomadic society of the Bulan-Koby Culture in the middle of the 1st mil. AD. Probably, the specificity of the deceased's life position was determined, on the one hand, by reaching a certain age and belonging to a fairly wealthy family, and by limitations in physical development recorded in the course of anthropological research, on the other hand.

Keywords: Altai, Bulan-Koby Culture, Rouran time, burial, chronology, interpretation, social history.


Funding. The analysis and cultural-chronological interpretation of the published complex was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 20-78-10037). Processing materials of the Choburak-I necropolis was carried out in the framework of Priority-2030 Program by the Altai State University.


Creative Commons License

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

Accepted: 16.12.2021

Article is published: 21.03.2022


Seregin N.N., Altai State University, Lenin av., 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation, E-mail: nikolay-seregin@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8051-7127


Tishkin A.A., Altai State University, Lenin av., 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation, E-mail: tishkin210@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7769-136X

Matrenin S.S., Altai State University, Lenin av., 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation, E-mail: matrenins@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7752-2470

Parshikova T.S., Altai State University, Lenin av., 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation, E-mail: taty-parshikova@yandex.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5078-8244