The bird image in Neolithic–Eneolithic art of the forest zoneof Eastern Europe
A. M. Zhulnikov, Ye. A. Kashina
The article is devoted to regional, chronological and functional and semantic features of the bird image in rock art and the minor arts of the Neolithic–Eneolithic within the forest zone of Eastern Europe. The differences between the functions of the image in monumental and mobile art are related to the fact that petroglyphs reflect collective and group function of the image, whereas minor art forms correlate with the familial and personal. The iconography of the bird image in petroglyphs and the minor art forms testifies to the existence of a series of canonic images which seldom echo each other. The image of waterfowl played a special role in both rock and mobile art. The bird image in mobile Eneolithic art was also connected with sex-age and, possibly, social factors.
Axes from Fat’yanovo cemeteries near Novinki village (Kalininsky region, Tver oblast’)
The article is devoted to elaborating an overall systematics for the stone axes and other woodworking tools from the excavations at four Novinki cemeteries of the Bronze Age Fat’yanovo culture. The article lists the typical sizes and proportions of the different types of tools and suggests the criteria for reconstructing their most probable function. The author uses the relative chronology of the Novinki cemeteries as established in the course of pottery studies to outline some of the trends of the tools’ evolution in time. The herein presented systematics has been successfully applied to materials from a series of other Fat’yanovo cemeteries.
Early Catacomb censers of the Ciscaucasia
On the territory of the Middle Ergueni and Stavropol Hills there is a layer of Middle Bronze Age burials characterized by stretched skeletons and censers. The censers are a quite specific type of ritual vessel. In shape they are low wide vessels with four (sometimes six) short legs which contour the vessel. Sometimes there is a special “pocket” inside the vessel, often with apertures in the wall. The decoration is rather uniform: the vessels are decorated with lines and triangles taped with rope. Typological analysis allows to conclude that the censers are very similar in their morphological and decorative characteristics. Moreover, the comparison of the funeral rite in the burials where they were found indicates the existence of a certain layer of Early Catacomb burials with censers. The main characteristics of these burials are catacomb graves, stretched skeleton samply sprinkled with ochre, and specific assemblages of grave goods, which allow to securely date the graves to the Early Catacomb period. There is no doubt that this type of censers precedes the “classical” type of catacomb censers, which is verified by the stratigraphy and the funeral ritual.
The “Dark Ages” of the Bronze Age in the South Trans-Urals
The article considers the chronology and cultural attribution of the sites which belong to the terminal Bronze Age in the South Trans-Urals. Analysis of the funeral rite and of the assemblage of finds reveals the existence of an unvarying and independent nucleus, even though numerous analogies are known from the steppe and forest-steppe zones of Eastern Europe and Western Siberia. The chronological position of the group is identified through stratigraphic and radiocarbon data. The data allows to determine the chronological boundaries (the 14th–9th cc. BC in the system of calibrated dates), and to tentatively outline two stages for the period, as it has been done previously for other territories. Pertaining to cultural identity, the author considers it possible to identify, on the basis of the materials from the early group of burials, the Beloklyuchyovka type of sites, which is part of the archeological continuity of the cultures in the region.
Burial structures of Kyryk-Oba II cemetery in Western Kazakhstan
The article publishes materials from the recent excavations at the kurgans of Kyryk-Oba II cemetery of the end of the 6th – first half of the 5th cc. BC in Western Kazakhstan. The structure of the burial site is complex; the burial is that of nomad nobles. The funeral rite and the material culture indicate two vectors of influence: Lake Aral region and Eastern Europe.
New data on the anthropological type of the Sarmatians
Until recently, anthropology was of the opinion that Sarmatians had played an important role in the development of the morphological peculiarities of medieval peoples in Eastern Europe. The “Sarmatian type” as defined by researchers combined moderate brachycrania and reduced horizontal profiling of the facial structures at the upper level only, whereas the other parts of the facial skeleton were distinctly Europeoid. The nose was sharply protruding and with a high bridge. The large amount of material (over 2000 skulls) calls for reconsidering the data on Sarmatian origins and for raising the issue of Sarmatian participation in the ethnogenesis of Medieval East European peoples. Inter-group comparison and identification of the share of brachycranial, mesochranial and dolichocranial Europeoids in chronological Sarmatian groups shows gradual accumulation of dolichocranial Europeoids from Early Sarmatian time to Late Sarmatian. Such a distribution of the morphological types can be explained by the participation of migrant groups of dolichocranial Europeoids as early as the 2nd c. BC – 1st c. AD. Sample Late Sarmatian materials show that by that time the brachycranial Europeoid type was practically completely assimilated, and the dolichocranial Europeoid type gained prevalence throughout the cultural space.
Fragments of threshing sledges from the Late Scythian necropolisof Ust’-Al’ma in the Crimea
Yu.P. Zaitsev, K. Hellstrom, M. Hochmut
The identification and dendrochronological dating of the secondary use of threshing sledges in two graves of the necropolis Ust’-Al’ma provided the first secure archeological evidence for the use of this farming tool since the middle of the 1st century B’ on the Crimea. In general the Crimea is integrated into a region with similar climatic conditions and a comparable economic situation between Eаstern Europe and the Near East where numerous archeological and ethnograpic examples provide firm evidence for the use of the threshing sledge from Bronze Age until recently. Furthermore, in combination with ethnographic parallels the context of the discovery enables the exploration of a new aspect of the burial ritual and therewith of the imagination of the inhabitants of the Crimea during the Late Hellenistic period. Some examples document that the secondary use of threshing sledges as deathbeds obviously was not an isolated case or a local specialty. However, it often remained unnoticed because of the generally poor conditions of conservation for wood. A focused screening of further grave finds would certainly contribute to a significant extension of the data base, and possibly might help to make accessible a connection to very similar findings in the Caucasian region.
Towns of the Volga region in the center of trade relationsof the Bulgar Middle Ages
The article analyzes the role of Volga and Kama region towns in the development of trade relations in BulgariaVolga of the 9th – beginning of the 13th cc. The Volga-Kama Bulgar state was a vivid page in the Medieval history of the region. It played an extremely important role in culture and in the development of cultural and trade relations between East and West. The active trade carried out by Bulgar merchants was an important factor. One can say that in essence Bulgaria Volga had monopoly in the trade of the Eastern countries with Rus’ and Northern countries (Scandinavia) and peoples (Urals, Trans-Urals and Siberia). Bulgaria Volga was a major link in the trans-Eurasian trade routes, – the northern part of the Great Silk Route, the Great Volga Route, the Great Fur Route, etc. The development of trade and monetary relations in Bulgaria Volga is connected primarily with the development of crafts and townships. The article uses archeological, numismatic and written sources to show their role in both internal and foreign trade. The goods traded in the towns comprised objects of everyday use, craftwork, agricultural products, livestock and related products, and export items obtained from Bulgar, Moslem and Russian merchants.
Minarets of the Golden Horde
The article considers all the currently known minarets of the Golden Horde. Two of the minarets are preserved in full, two are known from drawings and photographs. Of the other minarets, only the bases are preserved. Analysis of the buildings and the architectural details shows that the nearest architectural analogies can be found in Seljuk Asia Minor and the Transcaucasia, thus corroborating the already existing evidence that the cultures of Asia Minor and Transcaucasia were an important factor in the evolution of cult architecture in the Golden Horde.
Golden Horde décor in the pottery of Samosdelka fortified settlement
Preliminary research of the hand-made pottery from Samosdelka identified several groups of decorations which can be interpreted as stylized images of animals. The largest group comprises stylized images of rams and ram’s horns. Analogies can be found in the ornamentation from sites in the Syr-Darya basin, Semirechye, Afrighid Khorezm, and Kerder. This type of décor found its way to Eastern Europe due to the migrations of the Alanic tribes. The tradition continued to evolve in the pottery of medieval Alanic and Bulgaria tribes. In later times, similar traditions were brought by the migrating Oghuz-Pecheneg tribes. The second representative group of decorative elements comprises images of roosters. The handles in the shape of a rooster’s head have analogies in the pottery of Bulgaria Volga. However, Samosdelka fortified settlement yielded not only wheel-made, but also hand-made items. Hence it is possible to assume that at Samosdelka they had appeared earlier than on the mid-Volga.
New Upper Paleolithic sites near Divnogorie on the Middle Don
A.A. Bessudnov, A.N. Bessudnov
The reasons for the high concentration of Paleolithic settlements in the Kostenki-Borschevo area as compared to the individual isolated sites outside its boundaries were always a challenge for scholars. In 2004–2008, a number of Paleolithic sites were investigated near Divnogorie (50 km downstream the Don from Kostenki).Divnogorie 1 was a short-term horse-hunting camp. Among the stone tools, end scrapers of the usual shapes, burins on truncations and truncated points predominate. Backed implements are also encountered. At Divnogorie9, almost intact skeletons of Equus ferus (numbering at least 15 animals) have been discovered in the humic loam under Allered soil. The flint assemblage that accompanied the bones is identical with that of Divnogorie 1. The morphological features of the lithic implements, the 7 radiocarbon dates of about 12000–13000 BP, and the geological position of the sites allow to define the industry as one of the latest within the late Upper Paleolithic.
The Early Neolithic site Al’ba 8 in the upper course of the Klyazma
Al’ba 8 in Dmitrovskiy district of Moskow Oblast’ was discovered by V.V. Sidorov in 2005. The site is located on the cape of the left bank of Al’ba being a channel conjoining lakes Krugloye and Dolgoye. The site was thought to be a seasonal unspecialized camp of the Upper Volga Early Neolithic culture hunters, fishers and gatherers. Under excavations an open ground hearth and two manufacturing areas were revealed associated with primary and secondary flint knapping activities. Ceramics is presented by small fragments corresponding to the 1st and 2nd stages of the Upper Volga culture. The stone assemblage of Al’ba 8 site is multiform and has analogies among the materials of the Early Neolithic sites cultural horizons such as Alekseevskoye I, Berendeyevo IIa, Davydkovo, Zamostjе II, Okayomovo XVIII, Ozerki V, Ivanovskoye III, VII, Sakhtysh, IIa, Pleshcheyevo I, and others. Furthermore, similarities are noticed in the stone inventories of the early stage of the Valdai Early Neolithic culture/the western local variant of the Upper Volga culture (the sites Kochishche I,II, Nizhniye Kotitsy).
Late nomadic ritual burial in Stavropol region
The article publishes the unique medieval kurgan burial which was discovered in the Northern Caucasus near the city of Nevinnomyssk (Stavropol Krai). Under the small mound there were two burials from the second half of the 13th – the beginning of the 14th cc. One of the burials contained the skull, with the cervical vertebra, of a young man, and a ram’s carcass without the head. The ritual assemblage was in a pit with wooden blocks and birch bark. The grave goods included a gold earring, a jet bead, a small piece of flint, iron rings, a buckle, a steel, a socket, arrowheads, etc), and the cannon-bone of another ram. The single known analogy for this “composite” medieval burial of human and animal remains comes from the classical antiquity stratum at Kara-Tobe in the Northwestern Crimea. Even though medieval burials in the steppe zone of Eurasia often contained animal remains, rams are not a frequent find, and are encountered mainly in the Transbaikalia, the Tuva and the Altai. The assemblage is important for the study of the complex spiritual notions and of the ethnic and cultural situation in the steppes of Southeastern Europe during the period of emergence and early development of the Golden Horde.
Gravestones of hegumeness Elena Devochkina and nun Theophania in theNovodevichiy Convent
L.A. Beliaev, N.S. Romanov, L.I. Shlionskaya
The article analyses the materials pertaining to the memorial inscriptions and the grave of Elena Devochkina, thefirst hegumeness of the Novodevichiy Convent in Moscow (Vassily III, father of Ivan the Terrible, founded the Convent in 1525 to confine there Solomonia Saburova whom he had divorced). The hegumeness passed away in 1547, but her gravestone, found in 1989, dates to the 17th c. The gravestone was discovered together with that of nun Theophania (died 1611). Both the stones were objects of veneration as early as the 17th – 18th cc., since hegumeness Elena was revered as a local saint. Analysis has shown that her grave could indeed be located in the vicinity of the stones. The article quotes the data collected in the beginning of the 18th c. by the commissions authorized to counteract the worship of the local saints unless they were officially canonized.