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Cultural Attribution of Early Bronze Age Tombs Under Kurgans in Azerbaijan

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.022-028

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Abstract

This study focuses on the cultural attribution of a distinct category of Early Bronze Age burials in the eastern piedmont of the Lesser Caucasus, northwestern Azerbaijan, known as “tombs under kurgans” or “kurgans with collective burials in tombs”. There was an opinion that such burials belong to the early period of the Kura-Araxes (or proto-Kura-Araxes) culture. To test this idea, we analyzed ceramics from tombs under kurgans at Shadyly, Uzun-Rama, and Mentesh-Tepe, all of which have radiocarbon dates. Results suggest that the vessels are hand-made, their paste contains no organic temper, and they are a coarse imitation of the Uruk ceramics. This tradition is unrelated to the Kura-Araxes culture, marked by a handmade red-and-black burnished pottery. Also, at the highly developed stage of the Kura-Araxes in any of its local versions, collective burials in tombs were not practiced. Thus, before the emergence of the Kuro-Araxes culture in the Southern Caucasus, there was a population practicing the tradition of kurgans with collective burials in tombs. The origin of this tradition is a contentious matter. What we know only is that it emerged in the 34th century BC and disappeared around the 31st–30th centuries BC, following the Kura-Araxes expansion in the Southern Caucasus.

About the Author

P. P. Gasymov
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences
Azerbaijan
H. Javid Ave. 115, Baku, AZ 1143


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For citation:


Gasymov P.P. Cultural Attribution of Early Bronze Age Tombs Under Kurgans in Azerbaijan. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2020;48(2):22-28. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.022-028

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