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Stratum plus. 2022. No3

T. M. Kuznetsova (Moscow, Russian Federation)

Items with an Undefined Function and Magic of Mirrors

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Pages: 171-188 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.55086/sp223171188 

This paper deals with the discussion about the item, which is named in the literature as the Sauromatian “mirror”. A round disk (with a flat side handle) shows a corrugation on its two sides. The purpose of such a thing that does not have a reflective surface is difficult to determine. However, it cannot be called a “mirror” due to corrugation, so the function of the object has not yet been determined. Having identified an object from the Oguz barrow as a mirror, its researchers established the role of mirrors in the funerary rite of the Pontic Scythia. They put forward the postulate that the mirrors in the composition of the accompanying equipment, laid under the back or left forearm of the deceased, are documented in the 5th—4th centuries BC funerary complexes of dependent women of Scythia. However, regularities are not traced in the arrangement of mirrors for the buried in the North Black Sea region. This does not allow us to present a real picture of the role of mirrors in the funerary rite of the Scythians or their neighbors and to clarify the social status of those buried by the location of these objects. Studies of the funerary rite show that nomads were united only by the desire of the owners of the mirrors to protect their mirror surface from damage that could distort the image of the owner. Therefore, it seems not advisable to equalize objects having double-sided corrugation on the disk with mirrors, without taking into account the differences.

Keywords: mirrors, corrugation, Oguz barrow, rite, Scythians, Sauromats, Sarmatians

Information about author:

Tatiana Kuznetsova (Moscow, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dmitry Ulyanov St., 19, Moscow, 117292, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]
ORCID: 0000-0001-7926-2721

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