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Поволжская археология

Culture of the nomads on the Lower Volga during the Scythian time: general and especial

Ochir-Goryaeva M.A.


page 106–131

UDC 902

DOI: https://doi.org/10.24852/pa2014.4.10.106.131


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The Lower Volga archeological sites of the Classical Scythian period (dating back between the late 6th and 4th cc. BC) are considered against the background of synchronous cultures of the Eurasian steppes, including the Scythian burials of the North Black Sea steppes, the sites of the Southern Ural steppes, the Saka burials of the Ishim and Kulunda steppes, and Semirechye valleys, the sites of the Pazyryk culture in the Altai mountains, and the Uyuk-Saglynsky culture in the steppe valleys of the Sayan highlands. This comparative study has taken into consideration such aspects as the geographical position and the statistics of the sites, the ratio of their main burials to the secondary ones, the presence of sedentary population in the regions in question and of the royal burials in each group of the sites. As a result, both general and specific characteristics of the culture of the Lower Volga nomads in the Scythian epoch have been identified. Thus, it is clear that this was the least numerous group among the cultures of the Scythian world under comparison. Besides, the Lower Volga sites lack settlements and camps with a regular cultural layer of the other groups, testifying to the coexistence of both sedentary and nomadic population in the regions. No royal kurgans (barrows) with luxury items such as gold artifacts, Greek and Oriental import and burials of race horses or subordinate personnel have been registered in the Lower Volga sites either, in contrast to those of other regions. Hence the author argues that the association of this group with the Sawromats may be misplaced.

Keywords

archaeologyEurasian steppesthe Lower Volga areathe Scythian periodroyal burialskurgans (barrows)settlementssedentary and nomadic populationthe ratio of main to secondary burialsthe Sawromats

About the author(s)

Ochir-Goryaeva Maria A. Candidate of Historical Sciences. Institute of Archaeology named after A. Kh. Khalikov, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan. Butlerov St., 30, Kazan, 420012, the Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation; mariaochir@rambler.ru