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Polychrome Style in Mangystau, Kazakhstan

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.080-088

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Abstract

We describe artifacts from a burial from the period of Barbarian Invasions on the northeastern Caspian coast (Mangystau Region, Republic of Kazakhstan), near the contemporaneous settlement of Karakabak. The principal finds, representing the Shipovo horizon, suggest a date of late 5th to early 6th centuries. They reveal a mixture of Sarmatian and Late Sarmatian features with certain innovations. The origin of the latter is discussed. Metal artifacts belonging to the polychrome style (cloisonné work) make it possible, for the first time, to include the Mangystau Peninsula in the distribution range of the “Pontic fashion”. We propose that these artifacts are of local origin, and that the craftsman replicated certain standards without the appropriate tools. The technological characteristics of the pendant and rings had been observed by previous scholars in late Eastern European artifacts associated with the Byzantine school. Their dates (5th–6th centuries) correlate with those of the fifth stylistic group of polychrome artifacts described by I.P. Zasetskaya. Our findings suggest that Karakabak, a craft and trade center, was the place where Byzantine-style cloisonné artifacts were manufactured. These were supplied to nomadic tribes inhabiting the Aral-Caspian area during the Hun and post-Hun periods.

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. Polychrome Style in Mangystau, Kazakhstan. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2020;48(2):80-88. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.080-088

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