KLEPIKOV V.M. The Possibilities of Social Interpretation of Early Sarmatian Society in the Lower Volga Region

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2015.5.5

Valeriy Mikhaylovich Klepikov

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor, Department of Archaeology, Foreign History and Tourism,

Volgograd State University

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Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

Abstract. This article contains analysis of the main problems concerning social reconstruction opportunities of Early Sarmatian society according to the funeral rite. The evidence of written sources is scarce and forced to rely on just archaeological materials involving ethnographic parallels and anthropological data.

The mound-specificity of the cemetery was revealed as a cemetery for the burial of the clan community. The archaeological reflection of these relations may be the presence of various burial structures (simple rectangular pits, rectangular shouldered pits, cuttings and the catacombs) in the framework of total planigraphy, the tradition of the position of a decedent’s body and a standard set of tools. It was concluded that the tribal groups that participated in the rituals were relatively small, because, when the Sarmatians themselves built the mound, it was usually little-sized, if they chose a ready mound, a large mound was appreciated. There were some identifiers of different social groups, including those related to higher status and retinue aristocracy. The first group includes gold, jewelry, imported utensils, ceremonial weapons, bronze caldrons. The second group stands out for a set of weapons in the form of long and short swords with the obligatory quiver. Most of the ordinary population is defined as the mass of freemen, that in case of any necessity, could turn into warriors. Not only men but also young women, and even children are sometimes found with a quiver of arrows and a sword. Female warriors should not be treated as a separate social stratum because of their fewness. At the same time, women’s participation with their husbands and themselves in attacks, raids, defense and hunting were quite common. Therefore, some women, known in society for their military success, could be observed at the burial of weapons in the accompanying inventory of the burial. The lowest cell of the traditional nomadic society was a small family, who buried their members in the chambers for collective burials. We can make conclusion about the level of the social hierarchy inherent in the society at the stage of a complex chiefdom.

Key words: Early Iron Age, Nomads, Early Sarmatian culture, Lower Volga region, social stratification, clan cemetery, squad aristocracy, unranked commoner.

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The Possibilities of Social Interpretation of Early Sarmatian Society in the Lower Volga Region by Klepikov V.M. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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