Materials from the burials of Sergushkin-3 ground cemetery in the Northern Angara region: on the issue of chronology and geneses of the Tsepan Culture

German P.V., Leontev S.N.


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


              page 101114





The Sergushkin-3 ground cemetery (Northern Angara region), studied in 1974-2011, included 24 burials of the Bronze Age, Early Iron Age and the Middle Ages. The cultural and chronological attribution of some complexes is polemical. The purpose of this article is to introduce into scientific discourse materials from burials 8 and 9, including the results of contextual and comparative study of funeral and commemorative practices of these assemblages, as well as paleo-anthropological data and radiocarbon dates. Burial 8 contains macerated, broken and partly burned bones of a 2530 year old woman and represents an oval pit oriented along the river. According to the grave contents, the remains of the dead woman were burnt in the burial pit. She was accompanied with two sickle type bronze blades, a stone arrowhead and two bone plates. The burnt tree samples provided the radiocarbon ages of 3165 130 BP (SPb_147) and 2945 130 BP (SPb_148). Burial 9 contains macerated, partly broken and burnt bones of a young 1820 year old man and a young 1620 year old woman in a ground pit oriented along the river. The partial cremation of the remains was performed outside. The deceased were accompanied with a piercing tool made of moose splint bone, one stone and four bone arrowheads, four horn arrowhead sockets and a hollow horn collar. The burnt tree samples were radiocarbon dated to 2790 100 BP (SPb_381) and 2750 100 BP (SPb_382). The grave goods of both burials are similar to those of the Tsepan Culture of the Early Iron Age (8th2nd c. BC), while the calibrated calendar interval of their radiocarbon ages is within 15th-10th c. BC. It agrees with the dates of the same early Tsepan burial 4 on the Pashina settlement (late 2nd early 1st mil. BC). The recorded details of funeral rites of these burials are typical for earlier assemblages in the Baikal-Angara region. The sickle type bronze blades and horn sockets are unique for the Bronze Age materials in Angara and Baikal regions, but they impressively resemble the curved knives and bone sockets of the pre-Scythian period from Yakutia and Trans-Baikal region. Based on the above, a suggestion has been made regarding the initial stage of formation of the Tsepan Culture as having been the result of migration processes in the region in the second half of the 2nd mil. BC.

Keywords: Northern Angara region, Sergushkin island, burials, Bronze Age, Early Iron Age, Tsepan ulture, radio-carbon dating.


Funding. The research has been conducted as part of the State mission of the Ministry of Sciences and Higher Education of the Russian Federation No. 0286-2021-0011 -21-121012090006-0 "Social and cultural genesis and trans-border interaction of the ancient and Middle Ages societies in the contact zones of Western and Middle Siberia".


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


German P.V., Institute of Human Ecology FRC CCC SB RAS, Leningradskiy prosp., 10, Kemerovo, 650065, Russian Federation, E-mail:,

 Leontev S.N., Institute of Human Ecology FRC CCC SB RAS, Leningradskiy prosp., 10, Kemerovo, 650065, Russian Federation, E-mail:,