Burial of a warrior of the Rouran period from Northern Altai

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




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The article introduces into scientific discourse cultural, chronological and social interpretation of the warrior burial, investigated during the excavations of the necropolis of the Bulan-Koby Culture of the Choburak-I funerary and ritual complex. The site is located on the right bank of the Katun River, to the south from the Elanda village of Chemal district, Altai Republic. During the research, a burial of a man with a horse and accompanying equipment, including a representative set of weapons (bow, a large number of arrows with iron tips, a sword, two combat knives), a belt decorated with numerous belt fittings, horse equipment, and other items were studied. A detailed description of the finds, including both widespread and very rare types of items, has been carried out. The indicated circle of analogies from the sites of the Bulan-Koby Culture of Altai, as well as complexes excavated in adjacent territories, allows us to determine the date of burial mound 30 to the 4th c. AD. This conclusion is confirmed by the results of radiocarbon dating of a series of objects from the Choburak-I necropolis. The complex of elements of ritual practice indicates that the burial mound belongs to the previously identified Dialyan burial tradition of the Altai population of the end of the 1st mil. BC first half of the 1st mil. AD. This is suggested by the combination of the following features: an oval mound with a crepidoma, inhumation burial rite, northwest orientation of the deceased, accompanying of the deceased by a horse laid at the feet of the person and its orientation with its head in the same direction as the deceased, inner grave construction in the form of a deck. The composition of the grave goods allows us to conclude that the buried man was of a high social status, possibly a warrior who commanded a large unit of professional warriors, and also, possibly, the leader of a local group of pastoralists who left the Choburak-I necropolis. Some peculiar features of the analysed complex reflect the ideological paradigm of the Bulan-Koby population, such as placement into the grave of a broken (disassembled?) bow and a large number of arrows, covering the persons body at the time of the burial.

Keywords: Altai, Bulan-Koby Culture, Rouran period, warrior burial, chronology, interpretation.


Funding. The analysis and 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.


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

Accepted: 05.12.2022

Article is published: 15.06.2023


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


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


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


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