Raev B.A. Wagons in Sarmatian Burials of the Lower Volga and Lower Don Kurgans. Part 1

Boris A. Raev, Candidate of Sciences (History), Senior Researcher, Federal Research Centre The Southern Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chekhov St., 41, 344006 Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation
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Abstract. The article deals with two burial sites from the Sarmatian kurgans located in the Lower Volga region. Three wheels and two axles of the wagon covering the grave in a wooden frame were discovered in the burial close to the Merkel village excavated in 1929 in the upper reaches of the Karamysh River, on the territory of the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Some details have shown that few parts of the wagon were placed in the grave in unfinished form. The diary records of the escavations author Paul Rau, which were found in archives, contained important information. The second burial was explored in the early 1970s in the Astrakhan region. Two wheels were preserved in the grave closing the access to the inner chamber. An analysis of the construction of the graves and wagons parts enables to speak about two types of grave structures in which wagons were placed – simple graves, and graves with inner chambers. The simple graves are contained not only of wheels but also of body parts and other parts of wagon as well. While graves with inner chambers includes only wheels, closing the inner chamber. Parts of old wagons, their unfinished parts, optionally defective ones, have been used in the burial ceremony. The search for analogs refers to the burials of Central Asia and Altai region, which possesses the evidences of two-axle wagons genesis. The one-axle wagons which appeared in the Eastern European steppes at later time are connected originally to the same region. The second part of this article will focus on the origin of the burial rite itself, as well as the spreading time of the tradition, its ways, and mechanism - from the eastern to the western regions of the Eurasian steppes.
Key words: Lower Volga region, excavations of Paul Rau, Volga expedition of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and Moscow State University, Sarmatian wagons, Central Asian traditions.
Citation. Raev B.A., 2020. Povozki v sarmatskih pogrebeniyah nizhnevolzhskih i nizhnedonskih kurganov. Chast’ 1 [Wagons in Sarmatian Burials of the Lower Volga and Lower Don Kurgans. Part 1]. Nizhnevolzhskiy Arkheologicheskiy Vestnik [The Lower Volga Archaeological Bulletin], vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 183-199. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/nav.jvolsu.2020.2.10
Wagons in Sarmatian Burials of the Lower Volga and Lower Don Kurgans. Part 1 by Raev B.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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