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Burial of a Hunnic Period Noblewoman at Karakabak, Mangystau, Kazakhstan

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2021.49.4.057-068

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Abstract

This study continues a series of publications describing the fi ndings of excavations at the Karakabak cemetery on the Mangyshlak Peninsula, dating to the Hunnic period. Burial 11 was that of a girl dressed in an outfi t imitating a royal vestment. The reconstructed headdress consisted of a cape decorated with round, gold plaques and a diadem-type headband of red cloth with mask-shaped plaques. The central forehead plaque is a replica of Hellenistic gorgoneia. Similar masks were found in the Volga basin and the Northern Black Sea region. Temporal mask-plaques, carved of wood and covered with gold foil, have no parallels but follow the archaic Scythian tradition. Belt and shoe buckles were not attached to belts and were not used in everyday life. In terms of style and technique, the gold casing with an embossed geometric design on a wooden base belongs to a series of artifacts of the so-called Shipovo horizon. The buckle frames are shaped as stylized birds of prey with spread wings. The forehead plaque and details of the shoe straps are paralleled by those from Altynkazgan. The Karakabak artifacts are unique for the Aral-Caspian region, providing yet another indication of close cultural ties with the Hunnic world. All details of the outfi t were likely manufactured at a nearby workshop (the Karakabak settlement) in the second half of the 5th or fi rst half of the 6th century for the burial of a nomadic noblewoman.

About the Authors

A. E. Astafyev
Mangystau State Historical and Cultural Reserve
Kazakhstan

3rd Microdistrict 66, Aktau, 130001



E. S. Bogdanov
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090



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For citation:


Astafyev A.E., Bogdanov E.S. Burial of a Hunnic Period Noblewoman at Karakabak, Mangystau, Kazakhstan. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2021;49(4):57-68. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2021.49.4.057-068

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ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)