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Stratum plus. 2010. №2

E. Kaiser (Berlin, Germany)

Egalitarian Pastoral Society Versus Nomadic Warriors? An Attempt to Reconstruct the Social Structure of the Yamnaya and Catacomb cultures




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Pages: 99-122


In the 20th century the society of the Yamnaya culture-historical entity, in particular, was often assumed to have involved mounted warriors who attacked populations in the Balkans and Carpathian Basin. This claim has not been contradicted due to lack of evidence in graves. The following article contrasts the features of the burials of the Yamnaya Culture with those of the Catacomb Culture as found in the northern Pontic area, in order to achieve a basis for the social interpretation of the members of both cultures. It can be shown that burials of the Yamnaya Culture differ through the complexity in grave construction (if the grave consists of two parts, its dimensions, the existence of a barrow above the grave etc.). The rather constant regime in Yamnaya graves seems to represent the burials of members of an egalitarian society, whereas the number and variability of grave inventories increases during the Catacomb Culture, especially in the Ingul Culture. Yet, evidence of mounted warriors in both culture-historical entities is still lacking.


Keywords: Northern Pontic Region, Yamnaya Culture, Catacomb Culture, burial rite, social structure


Information about author:

Elke Kaiser (Berlin, Germany). Doctor. Free University of Berlin.
Е-mail: [email protected]

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