RAZUVAEV Yu.D. Finds of Human Bones in Settlements of the Scythian Time in Forest-Steppe Region of the Don Basin

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2018.6.1

Yuriy D. Razuvaev

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor of Department of History of Russia,

Voronezh State Pedagogical University,

Lenina St., 86, 394043 Voronezh, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The paper analyzes the finds of separate human remains from the Scythian settlements of the 6th-3rd centuries BC in the forest-steppe zone of the Don basin. We present the report of the available materials and evaluate the degree of representativeness of possible interpretations. Methods. Nowadays we have data on eleven household sites with anthropological materials, which had not yet been properly interpreted. The hillfort in the city of Semiluki is among them, and it includes fifteen burials of adults and children most of which are collective. Skulls and other parts of skeletons were buried later in the majority of these complexes. Besides, the human remains mixed with animals’ bones were found in a specially built cult construction as well as in six domestic holes. Fragments of a clay altar together with three skulls were found in the Kirovskoe hillfort. The skull in a congestion of animals’ bones was found in the settlement near the Podgornoe village. The well with full and fragmented skeletons was investigated in the hillfort near the village Verkhnee Kazachye. In other settlements of the region, human bones were found in a layer and in domestic holes. Analysis. The materials considered in the paper have quite broad analogies all over foreststeppe Scythia. The obtained data show that manipulations with human bones were of great importance in postfuneral rites of the forest-steppe population of the Scythian era. The bones found in the Don settlements belonged to different individuals, men and women of various age. The archaeological context and the range don’t allow to mark the finds as a result of cannibalism, military collisions, or sacrifices. Results. It is the most probable that the emergence of separate bones in settlements is connected with funeral rite of corpse exposure, which, along with other funeral ceremonies, was applied by settled population of the Don forest-steppe.

Key words: forest-steppe region of the Don basin, Scythian era, settlements, human bones, funeral rite of exposure.

Citation. Razuvaev Yu.D. Finds of Human Bones in Settlements of the Scythian Time in Forest-Steppe Region of the Don Basin. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 6-17. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2018.6.1.

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Finds of Human Bones in Settlements of the Scythian Time in Forest-Steppe Region of the Don Basin by Razuvaev Yu.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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