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Поволжская археология

Bronze poleaxe from Zlatoust museum

Kuzminykh S.V., Vinogradov N.B.

page 274–290

UDC 069.4


(1.38 Mb)
This is the first comprehensive publication of a unique find – a bronze poleaxe from Zlatoust Museum, which was found in mid 1950s near Yuryuzan town, Chelyabinsk Oblast. Such bronze ‘ceremonial’ poleaxes are mainly spread in the north and north-east of Europe, among archaeological cultures of the Ananyino type. The poleaxe from Yuryuzan, although it is morphologically similar with the Ananyino poleaxes, has several distinctive details. The Ural find that we have attributed to the Itkul metallurgic industry is a modification, an imitation of the Ananyino items. Its proportions are more massive and heavy. Every detail of sculpture and decoration of the wax model is elaborated rougher and more carelessly. The wolf’s figure on the Yuryuzan poleaxe looks more realistic; it renders the anatomy of the animal’s head with open mouth, yet without the grin and the lips spirally twisted up and down, which are typical for the Pinega type Ananyino poleaxes; ears are small and straight, unlike in the stylized Ananyino items. Raised and depressed lines in its decoration are longitudinal and continue the ornament on the collar. The poleaxe from the Zlatoust Museum is also distinguished from the Ananyino items by its massive and hardly protruding collar. Still, its main distinction is lack of gryphon’s or eagle’s figure, which would crown collars of the Ananyino poleaxes. The location of the Yuryuzan find seems to suggest that the item had a votive meaning and was ‘buried’ in one of the secret cult places known to the early Iron Age Ural miners and metallurgists.


Southern Uralsearly Iron Age‘ceremonial’ poleaxesAnanyino worldItkul culturesanctuaries

About the author(s)

Sergei V. Kuzminykh,Candidate of Historical Sciences, Senior Researcher, Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute (Moscow, Russian Federation);

Address: Dmitry Ulyanov St., 19, Moscow, 117036, Russian Federation

ENicolay B. Vinogradov, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Assistant Professor, Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University (Chelyabinsk, Russian Federation);

Address: Lenin Ave., 69, Chelyabinsk, 454080, Russian Federation