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Stratum plus. 2021. No2

A. Yu. Rassadnikov (Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation)

Archaeozoological Evidence of Working Exploitation of Cattle in the Bronze Age of the Southern Trans-Urals




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Pages: 85-98


The article presents the results of the analysis of several types of bone pathologies of the postcranial skeleton of cows, bulls and oxen in order to identify the possible fact of cattle exploitation for work. The material comes from several settlements of the steppe and forest-steppe zones of the Southern Trans-Urals of the Sintashta and Alakul cultures of the Bronze Age (the border between Russia and Kazakhstan). The paper is based on the results of studying the pathologies of modern non-working cattle in the Southern Trans-Urals. Analysis of the selected pathologies and their comparison with modern material showed a strong degree of overlap with each other. The overwhelming majority of pathologies in the form of minor lipping and exostoses of metapodials and phalanxes reflect age-related changes, as well as other factors that are not associated with the physical exploitation of bulls and oxen. Single pathologies from the Kamennyi Ambar settlement and the age of the animals from which they originate make it possible to reconstruct the working use of bulls even in the context of the complete absence of other evidence of animal exploitation for this purpose. However, we cannot completely exclude the possibility that these changes may be caused not only by increased stress on the joint during the working exploitation. Severe forms of pathologies on the bones of cows, most likely, reflect the features of a less developed skeletal system in comparison with bulls, rather than the fact of working exploitation.


Keywords: Southern Trans-Urals, Sintashta culture, Alakul culture, archaeozoology, zooarchaeology, paleopathology, draught cattle, lipping, exostoses, DJD (degenerative joint diseases)


Information about author:

Alexey Rassadnikov
(Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Institute of History and Archaeology, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Sofia Kovalevskaya St., 16, Yekaterinburg, 620990, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]

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