Lukyashko S.I. Hunting of Steppe Nomads of the Pontic Region in the Early Iron Age

Sergey I. Lukyashko, Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor, Department of Archaeology and History of Culture, Don State Technical University, Gagarina Sq., 1, 344000 Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation; Head of the Laboratory of Archaeology, The Southern Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chekhov St., 41, 344006 Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,

Abstract. Hunting is the oldest kind of human activity preserving traditional forms due to its conservatism. Paleozoologists working in the Northern Black Sea region determined the objects of hunting according to the data obtained from Greek settlements. These are mainly hoofed animals such as deer, roe deer, saigas, and wild boars, and fur animals including hares, foxes, beavers, as well as a variety of birds. According to paleozoological data, hunting was elitist. Unfortunately, it was not taken into account that inhabitants of the settlements hunted in the steppes of foreign lands, and delivered not carcasses of killed animals, but skins and meat. Therefore, skeletal remains cannot objectively reflect the proportions of distribution of hunting objects. Studying ancient texts and toreutics allows us to establish that in the Scythian nomadic world there were such types of hunting as raid, driven hunting, hunting with hounds. It is reasonable to assume that Scythians also utilized hunting birds as their hunting method, as images of hunting birds are widespread among nomads. In the settlements, there can be found skeletal remains of the following hunting birds: saker falcons, golden eagles, gyrfalcons, hawks, etc. Frequent occurrence of their images in the Scythian art and a single case of a saker falcon buried in a male burial of Elizabeth’s burial ground can serve as a vivid example of hunting bird exploitation. Nomads, in particular, could be suppliers of wild animal meat to the settlement and city markets. Inhabitants’ independent hunting in steppes was of extraordinary characteristic. Inhabitants of the settlements could probably hunt outside the fortifications only after the agreement with local nomads.
Key words: hunting, Scythians, Sarmatians, types of game animals, forms of hunting activity, driven hunting, raid, hunting birds.
Citation. Lukyashko S.I., 2019. Hunting of Steppe Nomads of the Pontic Region in the Early Iron Age. The Lower Volga Archaeological Bulletin, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 62-74. (in Russian). DOI:
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Hunting of Steppe Nomads of the Pontic Region in the Early Iron Age by S.I. Lukyashko is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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