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Pottery from the Volga area in the Samara and South Urals region from Eneolithic to Early Bronze Age

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The paper studies the evolution of pottery from the early Eneolithic period to the Early Bronze Age in the Volga area near Samara and South Ural in accordance with the typological and technological features of the ceramics peculiar to the Samara culture and the early stage of the Yamnaya (Pit-Grave) culture. It is concluded that the Early Bronze Age ceramics represent different traditions practiced by both local and migrating groups of the population. The study of the materials across different methods allow to conclude that pottery, metallurgy and cattle-breeding developed in step with each other and progressed continually in the second half of the Eneolithic period and the early Bronze Age.
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311
Documenta Praehistorica XLII (2015)
Pottery from the Volga area in the Samara and South Urals
region from Eneolithic to Early Bronze Age
Nina L. Morgunova
Orenburg State Pedagodical University, RU
nina-morgunova@yandex.ru
Introduction
One of the most debatable problems in Early Bronze
Age archaeology typical to the Volga-Ural steppes
centres around the origin of metallurgy and cattle
husbandry in the Dnieper-Volga-Ural steppes. These
economic achievements of the steppe population are
associated with the Yamnaya (Pit-Grave) culture of
the Early Bronze Age (Merpert 1974; Ivanova 2001;
Morgunova 2014).
The discovery of cultures from the Eneolithic (Cop-
per) period, such as the Samara and Khvalynsk cul-
tures between the Volga and the Urals, is important
in archaeology for solving the problem of the origin
of Yamnaya culture and the development of metal-
lurgy in this region (Fig. 1). Sites dating to two sta-
ges of the Samara culture have been found in the
forest-steppe part of the Volga-Ural area along the
Samara River (the Samara and Orenburg regions):
the early stage, called Sjezheye, and the later stage,
called Ivanovo-Toksky. The Samara culture is repre-
sented by various sites, including burial grounds and
settlements (Vasilyev 1981; Morgunova 1995). Most
of the Khvalynsk culture sites have been found in the
steppe zone of the Volga area, represented by both
large cemeteries and settlements (Vasilyev 1981;
2003).
Srednestog culture sites lie to the west of the Vol-
ga, in the Don and Dnieper areas (Telegin 1973; Ko-
tova 2006). It has been established that the second
stage of the Samara culture was contemporaneous
with Khvalynsk and Srednestog cultures. The popu-
lations of these three cultures were engaged in set-
tled cattle husbandry (Telegin 1973; Vasilyev 1981;
Morgunova 1995; 2014).
The matter in question can also be reduced to the
controversy about the role of various Eneolithic
groups in the development of Yamnaya culture in
the Volga-Ural region. Some researchers believe that
it appeared during the Eneolithic period (Merpert
1974) in the eastern part of the east European step-
pes on the basis of the Khvalynsk and Srednestog
cultures (Merpert 1974; Telegin 1973; Vasilyev 1981;
ABSTRACT – The paper presents the evolution of pottery from the early Eneolithic period to the Early
Bronze Age in the Volga area in the Samara and South Urals in accordance with typological and
technological characteristics of pottery from the Samara culture and the early stage of the Yamnaya
(Pit-Grave) culture. It is established that the Early Bronze Age pottery represent various traditions of
both local and migrating populations.
IZVLE∞EK – V ≠lanku predstavljamo evolucijo lon≠enine na obmo≠ju reke Volge v pokrajinah Sama-
re in ju∫no od gorovja Ural, in sicer od zgodnjega eneolitskega obdobja do zgodnje bronaste dobe.
Ta razvoj gradimo na tipolo∏kih in tehnolo∏kih zna≠ilnostih posod iz kulture Samara in iz zgodnje-
ga obdobja kulture Yamnaya (kultura ja∏kastih grobov). Za zgodnje bronastodobno lon≠enino je zna-
≠ilno, da predstavlja razli≠ne tradicije tako lokalnih kot priseljenih skupin ljudi.
KEY WORDS – Volga area in the Samara and South Urals; Eneolithic; Early Bronze Age; pottery; typo-
logical, technological and cultural analysis; radiocarbon dating
DOI> 10.4312\dp.42.22
Nina L. Morgunova
312
Morgunova, Khokhlova 2013; Morgunova 2014).
Therefore, the theory offered by Maria Gimbutas
about the massive migration of Yamnaya tribes from
east to west as far as the Balkans in the Early Bronze
Age has gained greater acceptance (Gimbutas 1979;
1980; Merpert 1965; 1974). Other researchers main-
tain that the Yamnaya culture community formed
over a larger area that included the western Black
Sea and Balkan areas (Ivanova 2009; Manzura
2006).
In order to solve this problem, it is of paramount im-
portance to thoroughly study pottery of the Eneoli-
thic period and those of the Yamnaya culture. The
ceramics in question have been analysed typologi-
cally to determine the shape and proportions of the
vessels, their neck and bottom decoration, and spe-
cial motifs. An important addition to the typological
method was the technological study in accordance
with the method suggested by Alexander Bobrinsky
(1978).
We studied the composition of clays, pottery, types
of surface treatments and ornamentation with a bi-
nocular microscope (Vasiljeva 1999; Salugina 2005;
2014). The results of the study are important for ob-
taining historical and cultural evidence to show con-
tinuity (or its absence) among Eneolithic steppe cul-
tures and the Yamnaya culture of the Early Bronze
Age. This focus is central in understanding the trans-
fer of technological choices of potters from genera-
tion to generation which was most probable related
to kinship relations. Pottery studies were assisted by
radiocarbon dating, which enabled us to establish
the chronology of the Samara, Khvalynsk and Yam-
naya cultures (Morgunova et al. 2010; Morgunova
2011; 2014).
Pottery of the Samara culture
The first stage in the development of the Samara
culture is represented by the burials at the village
of Sjezheye. The burials exhibit certain rituals, as
well as decorations made of shells and the fang of
a wild boar, stone axes and other goods (Fig.
2.7–10) that are similar to those found in burials
at Mariupol in Ukraine (Makarenko 1933).
Pottery from the Sjezheye burials at can be divid-
ed into two types. The first includes high vessels
with a small flat bottom (Fig. 2.1–3). The rim-like
collars are rather pronounced. The technological
study showed that the vessels were made of clay
containing silt with an admixture of shell and with
some organic solution added to the clay. The ves-
sels were shaped using plastic molds. It has been
experimentally established that clays with ground
shells were fired in a special way. The surfaces
Fig. 1. Eneolithic settlements
(1–5, 7, 10–16, 20, 22–43,
48, 50), burial grounds (6,
8–9, 17–19, 21, 47, 49) and
kurgans (44–46) of the step-
pe Ural-Volga region: 1 Iva-
novka; 2 Turganik; 3 Kuz-
minki; 4 Mullino; 5 Davleka-
novo; 6 Sjezheye (burial
ground); 7 Vilovatoe; 8 Iva-
novka; 9 Krivoluchye; 10–13
LebjazhinkaI-III-IV-V; 14 Gun-
dorovka; 15–16 Bol. Rakov-
ka I-II; 17–18 Khvalunsk I-II;
19 Lipoviy Ovrag; 20 Alekse-
evka; 21 Khlopkovskiy; 22
Kuznetsovo I; 23 Ozinki II;
24 Altata; 25 Monakhov I; 26
Oroshaemoe; 27 Rezvoe; 28
Varpholomeevka; 29 Vetelki;
30 Pshenichnoe; 31 Kumus-
ka; 32 Inyasovo; 33 Shapki-
no VI; 34 Russkoe Truevo I;
35 Tsaritsa I-II; 36 Kamenka
I; 37 Kurpezhe-Molla; 38 Is-
tay; 39 Isekiy; 40 Koshalak; 41 Kara-Khuduk; 42 Kair-Shak VI; 43 Kombakte; 44 Berezhnovka I-II; 45 Rov-
noe; 46 Politotdelskoe; 47 burial near s. Pushkino; 48 Elshanka; 49 Novoorsk; 50 Khutor Repin.
Pottery from the Volga area in the Samara and South Urals region from Eneolithic to Early Bronze Age
313
were painted with ochre (Vasilye-
va 1999; 2006). The pottery has
complex motifs with meander pat-
terns and zigzags, which were
made with incisions and comb
stamps.
The pottery of the second type
differs from the former both typo-
logically and technologically (Fig.
2.4–6). Here, not all the vessels
have collars and the necks are
prominently made with the help
of rows of deep pits and grooves;
the bottoms are large and flat.
Since they were made from silt
produced in water basins, these
vessels had a natural admixture
of small shells; the material also
contains some organic solution
(Vasilyeva 1999). The surfaces
are covered with motifs made
with comb stamps. These distinc-
tive features point to the connec-
tion of the second group of pot-
tery to the local Neolithic cultures
and their active participation in
the development of the Eneolithic
Samara culture in the Volga-Ural
area (Morgunova 1995; Vasilyeva
2006).
As to the ceramics of the first type,
they are supposed to indicate that people of some
outlandish culture had entered the areas near the
Volga and the Urals. As bearers of different cultural
traditions, as evidenced by the pottery excavated at
Sjezheye burial ground, the outlandish group appear-
ed to be in a vulnerable position because it was not
numerous (Vasilyeva 2006). It had to be assimilated
into the local environment by the group that produc-
ed the second type of pottery which is found at other
sites in the Volga area, such as at the Lebjazhinka III
settlement. Consequently, the Samara culture emerg-
ed, which marked the onset of the Eneolithic period
in the Volga area.
Where did the outlanders who prompted the Eneo-
lithic period in the Volga-Urals region come from?
Considering the complex motifs of the pottery in
question, which have some prototypes in the Azov-
Dnieper culture and at the early stage of the Tripol-
sky culture (Kotova 2006), they most probably ar-
rived from the west, i.e. from the north Black Sea
area. This is suggested by a certain similarity be-
tween the grave goods from burial grounds at Sjezhe-
ye and Mariupol (Vasilyev 1981). The presence of
close contacts between the population of the Volga
area and that of the north-western Black Sea region
manifests itself in the similarity in burial practices
(large burial grounds, the supine position of the
dead, places for sacrifice) and decoration of burial
clothing. This evidence testifies to regular links be-
tween these groups.
Since this period, one can trace regular ties between
the population of the Volga-Urals region and that
around the Balkan-Carpathian centre of early metal-
lurgy. During the Eneolithic period, the Volga-Ural
population made use of imported metal from the
Balkans (Ryndina 1998).
Radiocarbon dates also show that the Sjezheye stage
of the Samara culture and the culture of Tripolye A
coincided in time. The ceramics and human bones
Fig. 2. Materials from the Sjezheye burial ground: 1–3 pottery I group;
4–6 pottery II group; 7–8 bone amulets; 9 shell beads; 10 ornament
from wild boar fang.
Nina L. Morgunova
314
from three sites have all been ra-
diocarbon dated to the same period
(Morgunova et al. 2010). Their val-
ues are shown in Table 1. If we pro-
ceed from the majority of dates that
coincide, disregarding the most an-
cient and latest ones, the Samara
culture at its Sjezheye stage can be
dated from 5300 to 4800 BC. This
interval appears to be correct, as it
corresponds to the dating of the
Azov-Dnieper culture and Tripolye
Al (Videiko 2004.85–95; Kotova
2002.95–97).
The earlier Sjezheye stage of the Sa-
mara culture is also contemporary
with the Near Caspian Eneolithic culture in the Low
Volga area. Radiocarbon dates of pottery from Var-
folomeevka settlement (layer 2A) as well as from
other settlements in the North Caspian region show
approximately the same interval in the calibrated
age (Vybornov et al. 2008).
The second stage in the Samara culture is represent-
ed by a number of settlements, among which Iva-
novska and Turganic in the Orenburg region are of
the greatest interest (Fig. 1). Here we also find two
groups of pottery. The first (i.e. Ivanovka type) in-
cludes vessels with a collar on the rim (Fig. 3), which
continues the pottery tradition typical for the Sjezhe-
ye stage. The technological characteristics of Ivanov-
ska pottery confirm this conclusion. Pottery tradi-
tions continued from the Sjezheye to the Ivanovska
stage in the composition of clays, the shape and pro-
portion of vessels and their ornamentation with
comb stamps. But at the same time, the Ivanovska
pottery also includes some changes both in the va-
riety and technological features, such as missing gro-
oves under the rim and meander compositions, dif-
ferent shapes of collars etc.
The second group (i.e. Toksky type) of pottery typi-
cal to the second stage of the Samara culture includes
profiled vessels without collars. It generally has the
same technological traditions as the second group of
pottery typical to the Samara culture at its Sjezheye
stage, but with some changes (Fig. 4).
The changes during the second stage of the Samara
culture could be the result of influences from the
Khvalynsk culture (Morgunova 2011; Vasilyeva
2006.22). The evidence below testifies to close con-
tacts between the populations of the Khvalynsk and
Samara cultures. Pottery of the Khvalynsk type was
found in the form of imported items at all sites re-
lated to the second stage of the Samara culture. Some
grave goods were found which were similar to those
found at the Khvalynsk burial ground (such as beads
and shell decorations, stone bracelets, etc.). In ad-
dition, the technological study showed that the Iva-
novka pottery had features typical of the Khvalynsk
culture (e.g., clays containing silt, wicker elements
in ornamentation, etc.) which is evidence of contacts
between these two groups of the Volga population
(Morgunova 1995; Vasilyeva 2006).
Thus, we can ascertain the
synchronic character of
the materials typical to
the second stage of the Sa-
mara culture and those ex-
cavated from the Khva-
lynsk burial grounds in
the Lower Volga area and,
therefore, the materials of
the Srednestog culture in
the nearby Dnieper step-
pes (Vasilyev 1981).
Complex Index Material Age BP Age BC 68%
Sjezheye (burial ground) Ki 14525 pottery 6760 ± 80 5730–5610
Sjezheye (burial ground) Ki 14526 pottery 6580 ± 100 5630–5470
Sjezheye (burial ground) Ki 14527 pottery 5890 ± 90 4860–4670
Lebjazhinka III (settlement) Ki15580 pottery 6035 ± 80 5040–4800
Lebjazhinka III (settlement) Ki15577 pottery 5930 ± 80 4910–4870
Lebezhinka III (settlement) Ki15582 pottery 6055 ± 80 5060–4840
Lebjazhinka III (settlement) Ki15578 pottery 6140 ± 80 5210–5160
Lebjazhinka V (burial ground 9) Ki 7657 man bone 6280 ± 90 5350–5100
Lebjazhinka V (burial ground 12) Ki 7661 man bone 6510 ± 80 5680–5450
Tab. 1. Radiocarbon dates for the early stage of Samara culture (Sjezheye
type).
Fig. 3. Ivanovka settlement. Pottery of Ivanovka type.
Pottery from the Volga area in the Samara and South Urals region from Eneolithic to Early Bronze Age
315
The later date of grave goods belonging to the Iva-
novka and Toksky type with respect to those charac-
teristic to the Sjezheye stage of the Samara culture
is confirmed by radiocarbon dating (Tab. 2). The ca-
librated period of the Samara culture at its second
stage is 4850–3640 BC. Chronologically, the Ivanov-
ka type corresponds to the Khvalynsk and Sredne-
stog cultures (Morgunova et al. 2010; Kotova 2006).
Considering these dates, the technological tradition
characteristic to the Ivanovka type ends around
4300–4400 BC, while the features of the Toksky type
pottery continue into the first half of the 4
th
millen-
nium BC.
Pottery of the Early Bronze Age
The Turganik pottery type continued the tradition
of the Samara culture. This is seen in a number of
features in both the shapes of
the vessels as in their decora-
tions (Fig. 5). On the whole,
the pottery is distinguished
by its originality, while the
pronounced profiled neck
and presence of ground shell
in the clay make it possible to
date them contemporaneous-
ly with artefacts from sites of
the Repin stage of the Yam-
naya culture and those of Mik-
hailovka II in the nearby Dnie-
per area (Morgunova 1995).
This is confirmed by radiocar-
bon dates (Tab. 3); their cali-
brated age is estimated at
3930–3510 BC.
The Repin artefacts, as many resear-
chers believe, belong to the early
stage of the Yamnaya culture in the
Bronze Age (Merpert 1974; Vasil-
yev 1981; Triphonov 1996; Nicolo-
va 2002; Morgunova 2014). Repin
types were found both at transito-
ry camps and burial mounds (kur-
gans) in the nearby Volga and Ural
areas. The name comes from grave
goods found at the Repin Khutor
settlement in the nearby Don area.
The Repin pottery is quite original
(Fig. 6). In terms of typological fea-
tures, they comprise high vessels
with profiled necks and spherical
or flat bottoms. The technological
study showed that the vessels were made with silt
or clay containing silt, with an admixture of ground
shells and some organic solutions. The surface of the
vessels was smoothed and then decorated with comb
stamps in different motifs. The vessels were formed
with the help of molds (Salugina 2005).
They combine the characteristic features of all the
Eneolithic pottery that was present in this area as
well as some elements characteristic to the Khva-
lynsk and, especially, Srednestog cultures. The study
of the Repin pottery shows continuity in the methods
of pottery technology and morphology practiced by
other Eneolithic steppe cultures of the Volga-Ural and
Near Don areas. It indicates the process of active
blending and integration that took place among the
steppe people at that time and resulted in the Yam-
naya culture spreading over a vast area.
Fig. 4. Ivanovka settlement. Pottery of Toksky type.
Complex Index Material Age BP Age BC 68%
Kuzminki settlement Ki 15066 pottery I type 5630 ± 70 4540–4360
Turganik settlement Ki 15067 pottery I type 5660 ± 70 4590–4440
Turganik settlement Ki 14516 pottery I type 5790 ± 90 4730–4530
Gundorovka settlement Ki 14523 pottery I type 5840 ± 80 4790–4590
Ivanovka settlement LE 8413 animal bone 5870 ± 130 4851–4550
Turganik settlement Ki 14517 pottery II type 5830 ± 70 4780–4590
Ivanovka settlement Ki 15068 pottery II type 4930 ± 80 3800–3640
Ivanovka settlement Ki 15070 pottery II type 5070 ± 80 3960–3780
Ivanovka settlement Ki 15089 pottery II type 4940 ± 80 3800–3640
Lebjazhinka IV settlement Ki15583 pottery II type 5420 ± 70 4350–4220
Gundorovka settlement,
burial 10, type II of pottery
GIN 9041 man bone 5120 ± 140 4080–3720
Gundorovka settlement,
burial 11, type II of pottery
GIN 9039 man bone 5130 ± 50 3982–3812
Tab. 2. Radiocarbon dates for the second stage of Samara culture (Iva-
novka and Toksky types).
Nina L. Morgunova
316
During that period, the life of the
entire Volga-Ural population under-
went fundamental changes. A com-
pletely novel method of cattle bre-
eding appeared in addition to the
changes in pottery technology (Mer-
pert 1974; Morgunova 2014). Set-
tlements in the Repin period were
few and short-lived, while the ritual
of burying under kurgans became
more widespread. This means that
cattle breeding gradually acquired a
nomadic character. The materials
from the Yamnaya culture show all
the signs of nomadic cattle breeding:
natural climatic conditions and the
scope for adaptation to them; the
character of herds (sheep, horse, cat-
tle); technological means: the character of homes
and means of wheeled transport, effective house-
hold utensils and implements (Morgunova 2014).
But especially important in the progressive develop-
ment of the regional economy was the establish-
ment of its own metal-working centre on the basis
of the Kargala copper mines in the Ural area (the
Orenburg region). A number of Repin sites yielded
metal artefacts produced at this centre (Fig. 6). By
this stage, Balkan metal was no longer used in the re-
gion in question, which nevertheless retained some
of Balkan technologies in the local production of
metal items (Degtyareva 2010).
Conclusion
The study of the Eneolithic and Early Bronze Age ce-
ramics in the Volga and the Urals areas is of great im-
portance. The typological and technological analysis
of pottery found at a number of sites related to the
Samara and Khvalynsk cultures, on the one hand,
and the early (Repin) stage of the Yamnaya culture,
on the other, made it possible to show continuity in
the production of pottery from the Eneolithic period
to the Early Bronze Age, which means that an auto-
chthonous line of development prevailed in the re-
gion. The studies were supported by radiocarbon
dates.
According to the evidence from
the early stage of the Eneolithic
Samara culture, we can identify
two typological groups of pot-
tery, because the difference be-
tween them is confirmed tech-
nologically. One of them predominates and finds
its origin in the traditions of the local Neolithic cul-
ture. The other group is considered outlandish, con-
nected with the Azov-Dnieper and Tripolsky cultures
from the northern Black Sea region.
The outlandish settlers, who were not as numerous,
must have been assimilated, but they added origina-
lity to the Samara culture and gave rise to the Eneo-
lithic period in the Volga-Ural area. Thereafter, regu-
lar economic ties with the northern Black Sea and
Balkan region developed, supplying ready-made cop-
per products throughout the Eneolithic period.
The later stage of the Samara culture is also charac-
terised by two types of pottery, both of which con-
tinue the traditions of the earlier period. Some of
the novel features of the Ivanovka and Toksky pot-
tery resulted from the close contacts of the forest-
steppe population with the Khvalynsk and Sredne-
stog cultures of the steppes, which was caused by
greater mobility and integral processes in the south-
ern part of east Europe at that time.
In its early period, the Yamnaya culture of the Early
Bronze Age is represented by transitory settlements
and burial mounds of the Repin type. Their pottery
is a combination of vessels characteristic to the late
Fig. 5. Ivanovka settlement. Pottery of Turganik type.
Complex Index Material Age BP Age BC 68%
Ivanovka settlement Ki 15069 pottery 4860 ± 80 3760–3620
Ivanovka settlement Ki 15088 pottery 4790 ± 80 3660–3510
Gundorovka settlement,
burial 9
GIN 9042 man bone 5010 ± 50 3930–3712
Tab. 3. Radiocarbon dates for the Turganik type.
Pottery from the Volga area in the Samara and South Urals region from Eneolithic to Early Bronze Age
317
Fig. 6. Materials of the Repin type: 1, 2, 10 burials under kurgans; 3–5, 11, 15–17 pottery; 6 bone; 7 stone;
8–9, 12–14 copper.
Bobrinsky A. 1978. Pottery of East Europe. Moskow. (in
Russian)
Degtyareva A. 2010. The History of metal-working in the
South Ural area in the Bronze Age. Novosibirsk. (in Rus-
sian)
Gimbutas M. 1979. The Three Waves of the Steppe Peo-
ple into East Europe. Archives Suisses d’Anthropologie
Generale 43(2): 113–137.
1980. The Kurgan Wave No. 2 into Europe and the Fol-
lowing Transformation of Culture. Journal of Indo-Eu-
ropean Studies 8: 273–317.
Ivanova S. 2001. The social structure of the Pit-Grave
culture in North-West Pre- Black Sea. Odessa. (in Rus-
sian)
2009. Historical situation in South-East Europe (Eneo-
lithic period – Early Bronze Age). In Problems of stu-
dying steppes cultures of Early Bronze Age in East
Europe. Orenburg: 49–58.
Kotova N. 2002. The onset of the Neolithic period in Uk-
raine. Kiev. (in Russian)
2006. Early Eneolithic period in the steppes of the
Dnieper and Azov region. Lugansk. (in Russian)
Makarenko N. 1933. Mariupol cemetery. Kiev. (in Ukrai-
nian)
Manzura I. 2006. Burial ritual of the Eneolithic period in
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lels. In Yamnaya cultural and historical area: Problems
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Nina L. Morgunova
318
period of the Samara and
Khvalynsk cultures. At the
same time, the pottery typol-
ogy reflects some of the fea-
tures typical to the Sredne-
stog culture, which proves the
active role played by all Eneo-
lithic cultures from the Ural
to the Dnieper in the develop-
ment of the Yamnaya culture.
Side by side with the predomi-
nant Yamnaya culture popu-
lation, the forest-steppe areas
continued to be populated by
Eneolithic groups, as repre-
sented by pottery of the Tur-
ganik type.
Thus, the comprehensive
study of pottery based on ra-
diocarbon dates over two pe-
riods – the Eneolithic and the Early Bronze Age –
made it possible to define the periods and chronol-
ogy of the cultures of the time more exactly. More-
over, it allowed us to trace the continuity and role
of interactions, ties and migration in the cultural
and economic development of the population in the
Volga-Urals steppe-forest and steppe zone from the
Late Neolithic up to the Early Bronze Age.
Complex Index Material Age BP Age BC 68%
Kyzyl-Khak II settlement Ki 15075 pottery 4730 ± 70 3540–3490
Kyzyl-Khak I settlement Ki 14542 pottery 4510 ± 80 3350–3100
Turganik settlement Ki 15597 pottery 4710 ± 80 3630–3370
Turganik settlement SPb 1493 animal bone 4900 ± 80 3786–3635
Turganik settlement SPb 1490 animal bone 4887 ± 80 3786–3631
Khutor Repin settlement Ki 16486 pottery 4830 ± 80 3710–3520
Khutor Repin settlement Ki 16542 pottery 4640 ± 70 3600–3300
Khutor Repin settlement Ki 16541 pottery 4630 ± 80 3600–3300
Lopatino I, Kurgan 31, b.1 Ki 7764 man bone 4560 ± 80 3300–3100
Lopatino I, Kurgan 31, b.1 Ki 14544 pottery 4750 ± 70 3700–3300
Lopatino I, Kurgan 31, b.1 Ki 14545 pottery 4800 ± 80 3700–3300
Petrovka, Kurgan 1, b.1 Ki 14521 pottery 4730 ± 90 3640–3490
Orlovka I, Kurgan 2, b.2 LE 7896 man bone 4790 ± 150 3700–3400
Skvortsovka Kurgan 5, b.2 Ki 16268 pottery 5140 ± 70 4000–3800
Skatovka, Kurgan 5, b.3,
vessel 2
Ki 16487 pottery 4890 ± 70 3770–3630
Skatovka, Kurgan 5, b.3,
vessel 3
Ki 16488 pottery 5080 ± 80 3970–3790
Tab. 4. Radiocarbon dates for Repin sites.
The author thanks Prof. M. Budja for his invitation to publish this paper in Documenta Praehistorica, RFH for
support with grant No. 14-01-00127 and Ministry of Education Russian Federation for help with the State
Assignment No. 33.1471.2014K.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
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Article
The genetically attested migrations of the third millennium BC have made the origins and nature of the Yamnaya culture a question of broad relevance across northern Eurasia. But none of the key archaeological sites most important for understanding the evolution of Yamnaya culture is published in western languages. These key sites include the fifth-millennium BC Khvalynsk cemetery in the middle Volga steppes. When the first part of the Eneolithic cemetery (Khvalynsk I) was discovered in 1977–1979, the graves displayed many material and ritual traits that were quickly recognized as similar and probably ancestral to Yamnaya customs, but without the Yamnaya kurgans. With the discovery of a second burial plot (Khvalynsk II) 120 m to the south in 1987–1988, Khvalynsk became the largest excavated Eneolithic cemetery in the Don-Volga-Ural steppes (201 recorded graves), dated about 4500–4300 BCE. It has the largest copper assemblage of the fifth millennium BC in the steppes (373 objects) and the largest assemblage of sacrificed domesticated animals (at least 106 sheep-goat, 29 cattle, and 16 horses); and it produced four polished stone maces from well-documented grave contexts. The human skeletons have been sampled extensively for ancient DNA, the basis for an analysis of family relationships. This report compiles information from the relevant Russian-language publications and from the archaeologists who excavated the site, two of whom are co-authors, about the history of excavations, radiocarbon dates, copper finds, domesticated animal sacrifices, polished stone maces, genetic and skeletal studies, and relationships with other steppe cultures as well as agricultural cultures of the North Caucasus (Svobodnoe-Meshoko) and southeastern Europe (Varna and Cucuteni-Tripol’ye B1). Khvalynsk is described as a coalescent culture, integrating and combining northern and southern elements, a hybrid that can be recognized genetically, in cranio-facial types, in exchanged artifacts, and in social segments within the cemetery. Stone maces symbolized the unification and integration of socially defined segments at Khvalynsk.
Article
Full-text available
We studied the chronology and periodization of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) culture at the Volga and Ural interfluve. Establishing the chronology of the Pit-Grave culture by archaeological methods is difficult due to the lack of artifacts in the burials. Therefore, we excavated 3 kurgan groups in the Orenburg region of Russia during the last decade. Eighteen kurgans of the Pit-Grave culture were studied using archaeological and paleopedological methods and radiocarbon dating. The funeral complexes studied were divided into 3 stages. A variety of carbon-containing materials from the same complexes were dated by different laboratories to increase the accuracy of the obtained dates. In addition, from the excavations of the last years some monuments of the Repino stage, the earliest period of the Pit-Grave culture, were dated using ceramics. Together with archaeological and paleopedological data, ¹⁴ C dating helped to clarify and, in general, to confirm the 3-stage periodization of the Pit-Grave culture in the Volga-Ural interfluve: the early (Repino) stage, 4000–3300 BC; the advanced (classical) stage, 3300–2600 BC, which is divided into substages A and B at 3300–2900 and 2900–2600 BC, respectively; and the late (Poltavkinsky) stage, 2600–2300 BC.
Article
We studied the chronology and periodization of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) culture at the Volga and Ural interfluve. Establishing the chronology of the Pit-Grave culture by archaeological methods is difficult due to the lack of artifacts in the burials. Therefore, we excavated 3 kurgan groups in the Orenburg region of Russia during the last decade. Eighteen kurgans of the Pit-Grave culture were studied using archaeological and paleopedological methods and radiocarbon dating. The funeral complexes studied were divided into 3 stages. A variety of carbon-containing materials from the same complexes were dated by different laboratories to increase the accuracy of the obtained dates. In addition, from the excavations of the last years some monuments of the Repino stage, the earliest period of the Pit-Grave culture, were dated using ceramics. Together with archaeological and paleopedological data, 14C dating helped to clarify and, in general, to confirm the 3-stage periodization of the Pit-Grave culture in the Volga-Ural interfluve: the early (Repino) stage, 4000–3300 BC; the advanced (classical) stage, 3300–2600 BC, which is divided into substages A and B at 3300–2900 and 2900–2600 BC, respectively; and the late (Poltavkinsky) stage, 2600–2300 BC. DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16087
Materials of the Repin type: 1, 2, 10 burials under kurgans
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Fig. 6. Materials of the Repin type: 1, 2, 10 burials under kurgans; 3–5, 11, 15–17 pottery; 6 bone; 7 stone; 8–9, 12–14 copper.
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Bobrinsky A. 1978. Pottery of East Europe. Moskow. (in Russian)
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