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Stratum plus. 2019. No4

M. A. Balabanova, E. V. Pererva (Volgograd, Russian Federation)

Injuries as Archaeological Proof of Armed Violence (a case study of the Sarmatian time cemeteries from the Lower Volga and the Lower Don)

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Pages: 321-342

The authors have revealed that the number of human injuries on the skeleton bones reflects the overall level of aggressive behavior in the studied group and that those types of injuries and wounds originated from military conflicts. The paper present the results of examination of skull and postcranial skeleton injuries and their nature resulted from armed violence in the early nomads of the Sarmatian over the period of 2nd—1st centuries BC to 2nd—4th centuries AD) from the Lower Volga and the Lower Don regions. Bone remains of 636 individuals from the three periods of the Sarmatian era have been studied. The authors revealed cases of bone damage caused by a sharp blade weapon, compression and perforated fractures. An additional evidence of combat nature of the injuries includes arrowheads stuck in bones, cases of possible scalping, etc. As a result of the analysis, it was proven that the incidence of general fatal injuries or traces of healing in men increased in the late Sarmatian population and reached 41.8 % in comparison with 21.9 % in the middle and 20.6 %; in the early ones. The injuries distribution by skeleton part varies, but the figures of cranial injuries for the Late Sarmatian population are much higher than for the early and middle ones. Evidently, interpersonal and intertribal conflicts were the main cause of major and fatal injuries in the early nomads of the first two periods. Regarding the last group, the trauma level there can be classified as quite high with a possible explanation that it resulted from major military occupation.

Keywords: Lower Volga region, Sarmatians, trauma, sword, ancient authors, anthropology of material culture, bone injuries, chopped wound, compression fracture

Information about authors:

Maria Balabanova
(Volgograd, Russian Federation). Doctor of Historical Sciences. Volgograd State University. Universitetsky Ave., 100, Volgograd, 400062, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]
Eugene Pererva (Volgograd, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Volgograd Institute of Management – Branch of Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Gagarin St., 8, Volgograd, 400131, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]

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