VASILYEV D.V. The Trade and the Economy of the City of Saksin in the 11-13th Centuries (According to Written Sources and Archaeological Data of Samosdelka Settlement)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2015.2.3

Vasilyev Dmitriy Viktorovich

Candidate of Sciences (History), Head of Archaeological Laboratory,

Astrakhan State University

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Tatishcheva St., 20A, 414056 Astrakhan, Russian Federation


Abstract. The article substantiates the assumption about the correlation of Samosdelka settlement located in the Volga delta with the remnants of the city of Saksin, which is known according to written sources. The assumption became possible through the comparison of the materials excavated on the territory of Samosdelka settlement with the descriptions of the city of Saksin composed by Abu Hamid al-Garnati, a medieval Arab traveler. The traveler writes about the city located in the country of the Khazars upon the vast river. The city was inhabited by the Oghuzs, the Bulgars, the Savirs, and the Khazars. Besides, al-Garnati mentions the thousands of merchants of various nationalities, including Arabs from the Maghreb. This allows us to characterize Saksin as a center of transit trade on the Volga-Caspian trade route. The traveler mentions salt, fish, and meat as domestic products of Saksin. The trading system of Saksin is partly reconstructed in the present article. The author states the underdevelopment of monetary circulation in Saksin, and suggests that the domestic trade was based on the use of lead ingots as an exchange equivalent equated to the Arab and Persian monetary and weight units. External transit trade was also carried out, probably on the principles of coinless exchange. Domestic economy of Saksin was complex and was based on beef cattle breeding, fishing, and growing crops – cereals and fruits. Archaeological materials illustrate a developed fishing, a supply to the city of marketable meat and the cultivation of crops in the vicinity of the city. The same information we can find in the book of al-Garnati.

Key words: Samosdelka settlement, city of Saksin, Volga delta, Abu Hamid al-Garnati, trade, money circulation.

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The Trade and the Economy of the City of Saksin in the 11-13th Centuries (According to Written Sources and Archaeological Data of Samosdelka Settlement) by Vasilyev D.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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