KLEPIKOV V.M. Sarmatian Burials of the Kovalevka Burial Mound: Strangers Among Friends?

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.1.3

Valeriy M. Klepikov

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor of Department of Russian and World History, Archaeology,

Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The Nomads of early Sarmatian time is a complex conglomerate of constantly growing groups of new population in the Volga-Don interfluve area. Determining their location is becoming a relevant problem in the current research. The early Sarmatian burials of the Kovalevka burial mound are significantly different from the synchronous array of similar monuments. It makes possible to clarify the historical situation in the final stage of the early Sarmatian culture in the studied region.

Methods. The method of cross-dating and comparative-typological analysis of 12 burials of 8 barrows of the Kovalevka burial mound, located in the southern part of the Volga-Don interfluve area, allow clarifying the chronology of materials and identify the specifics of the funeral rite.

Analysis. The ceramic complex as a part of the North Caucasian antiquities of the 3rd - 1st centuries BC, can be identified through the presence of iron stemmed arrowheads, common for the period 2nd - 1st centuries BC. The tradition of the ancestral mounds-cemeteries with multiple burials under one mound dominated during this time period. However, the analyzed complexes represented a new tradition of individual burial places, more common in the latter period. Besides, the horse bones, iron bits and a few iron spearheads were found in the burial mound. This is a rarity in the funeral rite of the early Sarmatian culture. All of these innovations are known in the controversial Sarmatian complexes of the turn of eras when the change from early Sarmatian culture to middle Sarmatian culture took place. Another common feature of all the burials under study is a ritual robbery of buried people. The burials were destroyed, mostly for the purpose of their desecration. The bones of the buried were found at the bottom of the grave, and the remaining parts of the skeleton were thrown out of the pit.

Results. It can be assumed that at the end of the 1st century BC a group of well-armed nomads entered the territory uder study and was not accepted by the local population. The attempt to settle in the place led migrants to founding their own cemetery in the floodplain of the Esaulovsky Aksai river (local Sarmatians chose watersheds for this). However, this action caused discontent of natives, which led to the desecration of strangers’ graves by the local population.

Key words: Sarmatians, Volga-Don interfluve area, funeral rite, weapons, horse bridle, ceramics.

Citation. Klepikov V.M. Sarmatian Burials of the Kovalevka Burial Mound: Strangers Among Friends? Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 35-46. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.1.3.

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Sarmatian Burials of the Kovalevka Burial Mound: Strangers Among Friends? by Klepikov V.M. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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