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Поволжская археология

Rock Burials of the Early Middle Ages in Altai and Adjacent Territories: cultural-chronological and ethnic-social interpretation

Seregin N.N. (Barnaul, Russian Federation)

page 41–51

UDC 903.5


(605.06 Kb)
The paper considers the rock burials – a special group of funerary complexes of the early Middle Ages. The analysis of ten objects investigated on the territory of Altai (Russian and Mongolian), Central Mongolia and Minusinsk Basin has been carried out. The author allocates and characterizes two main groups of rock complexes – children's burials and burials of adults in the rock niches. Despite the limited number of analyzed sites, traditions in ritual practice and stable sets of items of accompanying inventory have been defined. The analysis of the finds made it possible to establish the dating of the considered rock burials within the framework of the IX–X centuries A.D. with a possible expansion of the upper boundary to the first quarter of the XI century A.D. for individual objects. The available results of radiocarbon dating confirm this assumption. The question of the ethno-cultural affiliation of the population that left such sites is more debatable. The recorded features allow author to link rock burial sites with early medieval Turks, which were influenced by the traditions of other groups of nomads at the end of the 1st Millennium A.D., or with the Kyrgyzes, whose distribution beyond the Minusinsk Basin occurred in the middle of the IX century. Given the fragmentation of available materials, the proposed interpretation could be supplemented and adjusted with the advent of new information.


archaeologyearly Middle Agesrock burialsAltaiMongoliaMinusinsk Basinchronologyfuneral riteethnic-cultural processes.

About the author(s)

Seregin Nikolai N. Candidate of historical sciences, Altai State University, Lenin ave., 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation.