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Stratum plus. 2021. No5

V. Yu. Sobolev (Sankt Petersburg, Rusia)

Natural Disasters of 1120s and the Population Movement in the Western Novgorod Land

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Pages:  77-84

The change in the burial rite and introduction of new funerary practices are explained by Christianization of the populace and appearance of a Christian community. In studies of the emergence of medieval Rus’ burial rite, a feature is discriminated with regard to continuation of the tradition of raising burial mounds. The earliest phase of the formation of the medieval mortuary rites still remains poorly studied since there are practically no reliably dated sites before the mid-11th century. After this date, we find inhumations across the Novgorod Land documenting different variations in the rite but which nevertheless keep within the frame of the Christian norms. As the main rules on the rite of interment set by the Church were complied with, some details of the mortuary practice not regulated by the Orthodox canonic law continued to evolve, drawing on the pre-Christian tradition. Of these, raising of burial mounds was the most prominent. Differences in the method of construction of the burial mounds indicate a partial change in the population which took place in the western area of the Novgorod Land in the second half of the 12th century. Throughout the 13 th century, across this region, the funerary rite becomes much more uniform. Everywhere the kurgan-zhalnik and flat zhalnik cemeteries become widespread.
The emergence of a new form of burials may be associated with migration of the population. The reason for the migration, in my opinion, could be the famine that happened in the Novgorod land in the late 1120s.

Keywords: Medieval Novgorod Land, funerary rite, change of population, migrations, natural disasters

Information about author:

Vladislav Sobolev
(Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). Saint Petersburg State University. Universitetskaya Emb., 7/9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation.
E-mail: [email protected]

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