Preview

Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

Advanced search

METAL PRODUCTION, MORTUARY RITUAL, AND SOCIAL IDENTITY: THE EVIDENCE OF SINTASHTA BURIALS, SOUTHERN URALS

Full Text:

Abstract

The study aims at a social interpretation of the Sintashta burials, southern Ural (21st–18th century BC cal.), where artifacts related to bronze metallurgy (molds, ceramic nozzles, ore and slag remains, metal bars and drops) had been placed. These were found in at least 10 % of graves. If stone hammers and abrasive tools are included, the share increases to one-sixth. The fi ndings apparently indicate the social identity of those buried and point to a general characteristics of the group. People engaged in metal production were mostly adult males, and were relatively few. Women, too, may have participated, at least at the preparatory stages. Markers of engagement in metal production very rarely co-occur with attributes of high status such as mace-heads, spearheads, axes, chariots, and cheek-pieces. This agrees with conclusions of cross-cultural studies suggesting that “metallurgists” were not top-ranking members of the social hierarchy. Nor were they subject to discrimination in the Sintashta society, because being buried at a cemetery evidenced high status. Professional membership was an important but not the main criterion of personal identity. Despite being few, burials of smiths distinguish Sintashta from most other Bronze Age steppe societies of Eurasia.

About the Authors

A. V. Epimakhov
South Ural Department of the Institute of History and Archaeology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences South-Ural State University, Pr. Lenina 76, Chelyabinsk, 454080, Russia
Russian Federation


N. A. Berseneva
South Ural Department of the Institute of History and Archaeology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences South-Ural State University, Pr. Lenina 76, Chelyabinsk, 454080, Russia
Russian Federation


References

1. Amzalang N. 2009 From metallurgy to Bronze Age civilisations: The sinthetic theory. American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 113: 497–512.

2. Avilova L.I. 2011 O simvolike metallicheskikh replik orudiy truda po materialam Blizhnego Vostoka epokhi bronzy. Vestnik Mosk. gos. obl. univ. Ser.: Istoriya i politicheskiye nauki, No. 1: 87–95.

3. Batora J. 2002 Contribution to the problem of “craftsmen” graves at the end of Aeneolithic and in Early Bronze Age in the Central, Western and Eastern Europe. Slovenska Archeologia, Roč. L, č. 2: 179–228.

4. Bochkarev V.S. 2010 Pogrebeniya liteishchikov epokhi bronzy (metodologicheskiy peresmotr). In Idem. Kulturogenez i drevneye metalloproizvodstvo Vostochnoi Evropy. St. Petersburg: Info Ol, pp. 209–211.

5. Bogdanov S.V. 2004 Epokha medi stepnogo Priuralya. Yekaterinburg: UrO RAN.

6. Chernykh E.N. 2007 Kargaly: Fenomen i paradoksy razvitiya; Kargaly v sisteme metallurgicheskikh provintsiy; Potaennaya (sakralnaya) zhizn arkhaichnykh gornyakov i metallurgov. Moscow: Yazyki slavyan. kultury. (Kargaly; vol. V).

7. Diaz-Andreu M., Lucy S., Babic S., Edwards D. 2005 The Archaeology of Identity. Approaches to gender, age, status, ethnicity and religion. London, New York: Routledge.

8. Dobrovolskaya M.V., Mednikova M.B. 2011 “Copper people” of the Bronze Age: The reconstruction of their health and social status. Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia, vol. 39 (2): 143–156.

9. Drevneye Ustye: Ukreplennoye poseleniye bronzovogo veka v Yuzhnom Zauralye. 2013 N.B. Vinogradov, A.V. Epimakhov (eds.). Chelyabinsk: Abris.

10. Epimakhov A.V. 1996 Kurgannyi mogilnik Solntse II – nekropol ukreplennogo poseleniya srednei bronzy Ustye. In Materialy po arkheologii i etnografi i Yuzhnogo Urala. Chelyabinsk: Kamennyi poyas, pp. 22–42.

11. Epimakhov A.V. 2005 Ranniye kompleksnye obshchestva Severa Tsentralnoi Evrazii (po materialam mogilnika Kamennyi Ambar-5), bk. 1. Chelyabinsk: Chelyab. dom pechati.

12. Epimakhov A.V., Berseneva N.A. 2012 Variativnost pogrebalnoi praktiki sintashtinskogo naseleniya (poisk obyasnitelnykh modelei). Vestnik NGU. Ser.: Istoriya, filologiya, vol. 11: 148–170 (Iss. 3: Arkheologiya i etnografiya).

13. Epimakhov A.V., Krause R. 2013 Absolute and relative chronology of the Kamеnnyi Ambar (Olgino) settlement. In Multidisciplinary investigations of the Bronze Age settlements in the Southern Trans-Urals (Russia), R. Krause, L. Koryakova (eds.). Bonn: Verl. Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, pp. 129–146.

14. Epimakhov A.V., Molchanov I.V. 2013 Svidetelstva metalloproizvodstva bronzovogo veka ukreplennogo poseleniya Kamennyi Ambar: Kamennye plavilnye chashi. Vestnik arkheologii, antropologii i etnografi i, iss. 1: 4–9.

15. Gening V.F., Zdanovich G.B., Gening V.V. 1992 Sintashta: Arkheologicheskiy pamyatnik ariyskikh plemen Uralo-Kazakhstanskikh stepei, vol. 1. Chelyabinsk: Yuzh.-Ural. kn. izd.

16. Hølleland H. 2010 Spells of history: Childe’s contribution to the European identity discourse. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, vol. 20, iss. 1: 30–37.

17. Kaiser E. 2005 Frühbronzezeitliche Gräber von Metallhandwerkern mit Gußformen für Schaftlochäxte im osteuropäischen Steppenraum. In Universitätsforschungen zur prähistorischen Archäologie, Bd. 121. Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, pp. 265–291.

18. Kalieva S.S., Logvin V.N. 2009 Mogilnik u poseleniya Bestamak (predvaritelnoye soobshcheniye). Vestnik arkheologii, antropologii i etnografi i, No. 9: 32–58.

19. Kalieva S.S., Logvin V.N. 2012 Pogrebeniye 20 mogilnika Bestamak. In Kadyrbaevskiye chteniya-2012: Materialy III Mezhdunar. nauch. konf. Aktobe: pp. 77–82.

20. Kargaly. 2005 E.N. Chernykh (ed.). Moscow: Yazyki slavyan. kultury. Vol. IV: Nekropoli na Kargalakh; naseleniye Kargalov: Paleoantropologicheskiye issledovaniya.

21. Khalikov A.K., Lebedinskaya G.V., Gerasimova M.M. 1966 Pepkinskiy kurgan (abashevskiy chelovek). Yoshkar-Ola: Marknigoizdat.

22. Khalyapin M.V. 2005 Pogrebeniye liteishchika epokhi bronzy s territorii stepnogo Priuralya. In Voprosy istorii i arkheologii Zapadnogo Kazakhstana, iss. 4. Uralsk: Zap.-Kazakhstan. obl. tsentr istorii i arkheologii, pp. 203–217.

23. Korobkova G.F., Vinogradov N.B. 2004 Kamennye i kostyanye predmety iz poseleniya Kulevchi III. Vestnik CGPU. Ser. 1: Istoricheskiye nauki, No. 2: 57–87.

24. Krause R. 2013 The metallurgy of Kamennyi Ambar – settlement and cemetery. In Multidisciplinary investigations of the Bronze Age settlements in the Southern Trans-Urals (Russia), R. Krause, L. Koryakova (eds.). Bonn: Verl. Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, pp. 203–232.

25. Kungurova N.Y. 2013 Trasologicheskoye izucheniye kamennykh predmetov iz raskopok ukreplennogo poseleniya Ustye I. In Drevneye Ustye: Ukreplennoye poseleniye bronzovogo veka v Yuzhnom Zauralye, N.B. Vinogradov (ed.). Chelyabinsk: Abris, pp. 285–330.

26. Logvin A.V., Shevnina I.V. 2013 Ob odnom sintashtinskom pogrebalnom komplekse mogilnika Bestamak. In Arkheologiya Kazakhstana v epokhu nezavisimosti: Itogi, perspektivy: Materialy Mezhdunar. konf. 12–15 dek. 2011, g. Almaty. Almaty: pp. 349–359.

27. Matyushchenko V.I., Sinitsina G.V. 1988 Mogilnik u derevni Rostovka vblizi Omska. Tomsk: Izd. Tomsk. Gos. Univ.

28. Molchanov I.V. 2013 Inventory of small fi nds. In Multidisciplinary investigations of the Bronze Age settlements in the Southern Trans-Urals (Russia), R. Krause, L. Koryakova (eds.). Bonn: Verl. Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, pp. 147–170.

29. Molodin V.I. 1983 Pogrebeniye liteishchika iz mogilnika Sopka-2. In Drevniye gornyaki i metallurgi Sibiri. Barnaul: Altai. Gos. Univ., pp. 96–109.

30. Satyga XVI: Seiminsko-turbinskiy mogilnik v taezhnoi zone Zapadnoi Sibiri. 2011 Ekaterinburg: Uralskiy rabochiy.

31. Schmidt P. 1989 Reading Gender in the Ancient Iron Technology of Africa. In Gender in African Prehistory, S. Ken (ed.). London: British Museum Publ., pp. 139–162.

32. Stefanov V.I., Epimakhov A.V. 2006 Sintashtinsky III (malyi) kurgan: Nekotorye podrobnosti i novye syuzhety. In Voprosy arkheologii Povolzhya, iss. 4. Samara: Nauch.-tehn. tsentr, pp. 263–272.

33. Tkachev V.V. 2012a K voprosu o mineralno-syryevoi baze metalloproizvodstva zapadnoalakulskoi kulturnoi gruppy. In Kadyrbaevskiye chteniya-2012: Materialy III Mezhdunar. nauch. konf. Aktobe: pp. 105–114.

34. Tkachev V.V. 2012b An Alakul funeral and ritual site in the Eastern Orenburg Region. Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia, vol. 40 (1): 49–57.

35. Valkov D.V. 2013 Predstavleniya o “masterakh” v nekotorykh mifologicheskikh sistemakh Evrazii. In Eksperimentalnaya arkheologiya: Vzglyad v XXI vek: Materialy polevoi nauch. konf. Ulyanovsk: pp. 237–283.

36. Weedman K. 2006 Gender and ethnoarchaeology. In Handbook of Gender in Archaeology, S.M. Nelson (ed.). Oxford: AltaMira Press, pp. 247–294.

37. Williamson D. 1990 The role and status of the Bronze Age smith and the organisation of metallurgy: A thesis of diss. of master of arts. Durham: Univ. of Durham. URL: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/6262/(Accessed December 1, 2013).


For citation:


Epimakhov A.V., Berseneva N.A. METAL PRODUCTION, MORTUARY RITUAL, AND SOCIAL IDENTITY: THE EVIDENCE OF SINTASHTA BURIALS, SOUTHERN URALS. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2016;44(1):65-71. (In Russ.)

Views: 203


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)