Vasilev V.N. Stone Kurgans of the Southern Urals, “Irendyk-Kryktyn Group of Nomads” and “Settled Down Sako-Sarmatians”

Vitaliy N. Vasilev, Candidate of Sciences (History), Independent Researcher, Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany
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Abstract. Based on the available archaeological material, the article covers a number of issues related to the kurgans of nomads from the middle of the 1st millennium BC within the sub-mountain zone of the Bashkir Trans-Urals, embankments of which were built using stone. The author analyses the representativeness of archaeological records, provides typological and chronological attribution of the burial complexes. Previously these materials allowed to identify the “Irendyk-Kryktyn nomadic group” which existed in the considered landscape zone. According to the author, the investigated stone kurgans are divided into two groups. The first one might be dated back to the Saka Age (VII-VI centuries BC), the second one belongs to the Savromatian-Sarmatian period (not earlier that the mid of V-IV centuries BC). Within the existing chronology there is no explanation for the time gap between those periods. Hereby, this fact may indicate the presence of two culturally unrelated nomadic groups. The analysis of the archaeological material allows us to say that the signs of the burial rite, which are typical for the monuments of the foothill strip of the Bashkir Trans-Ural (Irendyk-Kryktyn group), are widespread far beyond this landscape zone, and are common for nomads who left stone kurgans in the steppe part of the region on both sides of the Ural Ridge. Furthermore, the author draws attention to the existing statement about the process of sedentarization of nomads of this region in the middle of the 1st millennium BC. The study of the source base on this issue shows that single finds of ceramic in “settlements” of nomads are their common locations. Settlement monuments in the mountainous Urals and steppe Trans-Urals, where few fragments of Kenotkel and Gafurian tableware were found, demonstrate the lack of dwellings, tools and remnants of handicraft production. This fact testifies to the temporary or episodic nature of the appearance of small groups of population at such monuments, and is not associated with nomads. Moreover, the sedentarization of nomads in the northern marginal zone is not confirmed by either historical or ethnographic sources. The article contains materials to supplement the archaeological records for studying issues related to stone kurgans.
Key words: stone kurgans, nomads of the 7th – 4th centuries BC of the South Trans-Urals, Irendyk-Kryktyn group of monuments, nomadic settlements of the South Urals, sedentarization, ethnographic parallels.
Citation. Vasilev V.N., 2020. Kamennye kurgany Yuzhnogo Urala, «irendyksko-kryktinskaya gruppa kochevnikov» i «osedayushchie sako-sarmaty» [Stone Kurgans of the Southern Urals, “Irendyk-Kryktyn Group of Nomads” and “Settled Down Sako-Sarmatians”]. Nizhnevolzhskiy Arkheologicheskiy Vestnik [The Lower Volga Archaeological Bulletin], vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 129-152. DOI:
Stone Kurgans of the Southern Urals, “Irendyk-Kryktyn Group of Nomads” and “Settled Down Sako-Sarmatians” by Vasilev V.N. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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