ILYUKOV L.S. The Nazarov Complex of the Lower Don: on Zoroastrianism of the Khazar Ethnos


Leonid S. Ilyukov

Candidate of Sciences (History),

Senior Researcher, 

Laboratory of Archaeology of Academic Department of SSC RAS Presidium,

Prosp. Chekhova, 41, 344006 Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Among the early medieval antiquities of the Lower Don basin, two funerary complexes are of interest. One was accidentally discovered in 1914 in the Cossack village Nazarov, and the other – near the settlement Bolshaya Orlovka in 1972. Based upon the Byzantine solidities, found in their inventory, they date from the first half of the 8th century. Two iron lamps in the form of bowls on a high leg were found in these funerary complexes along with a diverse and prestigious inventory. In addition to them, two iron composite altars of different sizes were found in the Bolshaya Orlovka. In the early medieval burial mound near the Brusyana village in the Volga region a solidcast iron lamp-altar was found, consisting of a bowl in the form of a concave disc on a long leg, which was welded in the center of a hexagonal bowl with low straight sides and a flat bottom. Short legs are located at its three corners. Typologically Brusian discovery was later then those of the Nazarov and the Bolshaya Orlovka. It unites the altar, consisting of threebowls with low straight bows and a flat bottom, with a lamp. Short legs are located at its three corners of the bowls. These were specific bowls that were used to carry fire during rituals of steppe nomads who had close cultural contacts with the fire worshipers of Sasanid Iran, whose population professed Zoroastrianism.

Key words: burial complex, lamp, altar, Khazar culture, Zoroastrianism.

Citation. Ilyukov L.S. The Nazarov Complex of the Lower Don: on Zoroastrianism of the Khazar Ethnos. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Serija 4, Istorija. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnoshenija [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2017, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 28-39 (in Russian). DOI:

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The Nazarov Complex of the Lower Don: on Zoroastrianism of the Khazar Ethnos by Ilyukov L.S. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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