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Stratum plus. 1999. № 2

Goncharova J. V. (St.-Petersburg, Russia)

Some aspects of the interpretation of the burials with disk cheek-pieces on the steppe and forrest-steppe territory of Eurasia

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Pages: 336-349

On the case of discoveries of monuments of the middle – beginning of the late Bronze Age on the territory of the South Urals, Norhtern Khazakhstan and of the region between rivers Volga and Don (for example, Sintashta, Arkaim, Potapovsky cemetery etc) there are many vast discussions among scientists. One of the main topics of these discussions is meaning of the so called institute of «chariot’s aristocracy». This institution is usually connected with elitarian burials with traces of chariots and finds of disk cheekpieces. Up to now it’s not clear what was the motive for appearance of such monuments. Was this motive the system of mass migrations or it was the revolutionary birth of a new society on the basis of preceding cultures with united system of the elite? This article is devoted to decision of this problem. The investigation is based on the analysis of these burials under three parameter’s: ceramics, disk cheek-pieces and burial customs. After the analysis of the material the author comes to some conclusions. At first, there are two traditions in production of ceramics and of making the disk cheek-pieces (with monolithic and insert thorns) in the Sintashta and Pokrovka cultural types. In the second place, both these traditions are joining up by one temporal phenomenon. This phenomenon is expressed in total system of burial customs. May be, it was originated from the total world outlook, which appeared on this territory at the end of the Middle Bronze Age. The author notes, that we haven’t enough data to find the most earliest monuments, from which this tradition begins. But on the basis of different indications of the ritual (accompanying burials of horses, finds of chariots and cheek-pieces etc) the author concludes that the most integrity burial customs we find in monuments of Sintashta and Petrovka cultural types. This tradition spread during the short time period to the neighboring western territories from these cultural types. Here this tradition simplifies and became more votive traits (for example, instead of the whole horse skeletons – only skin of animal, instead of chariots with harness – the harness only, etc.), and absorb the local traditions, which affected on the most territorial mobile indication – ceramics. But it doesn’t mean the change of bearers of this tradition, which was in that case the military elite.


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