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Stratum plus. 2014. No2

S. N. Korenevskiy (Moscow, Russia), S. B. Burkov (Kislovodsk, Russia)

Copper and Early Bronze Age burials from the excavations carried out in 1988 and 1991 in Chechen Republic

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Pages: 345-362

The article publishes the materials from several tumuli in the Chechen Republic dated to the Copper and Early-Middle Bronze Ages. Some interesting elements of burial rite were uncovered in the graves of Samashkinsky necropolis, namely the unnatural position of palms of the deceased. Such a trait was observed in several burials dating from the Eneolithic to the Middle Bronze Age. Reasons for such an unusual position of palms are unclear. This is a unique case with no analogies anywhere in the Caucasus during the Bronze Age. At the same time, this small detail in the funeral practice of the local population allows to address the very important problem of population continuity, embedded in the local burial rite in tumuli. It is reflected in standard positions of the buried individuals, which is slightly contracted on one side, with one hand extended, and another one bent in the elbow. The abidance of this canon is traced within centuries, despite appreciable change of material culture from Eneolithic, through Early Bronze Age and to the Middle Bronze Age. Such a unique posture of the deceased allows us to suggest the existence of purely local burial customs among the population of the Terek Basin, and more concretely, of the valley of Sunzha river.

Keywords: Caucasus, Eneolithic, Early Bronze Age, Maikop culture, Leilatepe culture, Caucasian chronology, tumular graves, cult objects, symbolic meaning

Information about authors:

Sergey Korenevskiy
(Moscow, Russia). Doctor of Historical Sciences. Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dmitry Ulyanov St., 19, Moscow, 117036, Russia.
E-mail: [email protected]
Sergey Burkov (Kislovodsk, Russia)
E-mail: [email protected]

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