Chelyabinsk archaeologists during excavations of a mound in the Stepnoye-1 burial ground in the Southern Trans-Urals discovered 2 adult and 17 children's burials, which is not typical for Sintashta culture monuments. The burials contained grave goods - ceramics, a bronze knife and a sickle, as well as numerous faunal remains indicating animal sacrifices. In addition, archaeologists have discovered two sacrificial complexes that reflect the symbolism of fertility. The find is reported by the Chelyabinsk State University.
On the territory of the Southern Urals and Southern Trans-Urals at the end of the 3rd - the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC, the Sintashta archaeological culture became widespread, which is part of the Andronov cultural and historical community. It got its name from a complex of monuments (settlement, fortifications, burial ground) discovered in 1968 on the banks of the Sintashta River. The composition of the settlement collections is typical of monuments of the Bronze Age and includes, as a rule, animal bones, fragmented ceramics, evidence of domestic production, for example, the processing of wood, bone, leather, stone and weaving. In addition, slags and small metal scrap are widely represented. Sintashta burial sites are distinguished by their structural complexity and symbolism. Despite the plundering of most of the graves, scientists were able to discover the places of collective burials, which were accompanied, in particular, by chariots and harnesses, as well as weapons. Often the funeral rite was accompanied by animal sacrifices.
The fortified settlement Stepnoye and the Stepnoye-1 burial ground, covering an area of about two thousand square meters, are located in the Plastovsky District of the Chelyabinsk Region. This territory was previously actively plowed up, and now it is a grazing area for cattle. The settlement and burial ground Stepnoye, numbering at least 66 mounds, is a chronologically one-time complex of monuments, in which the burials are located several tens of meters from the outer wall.
Archaeologists from the Chelyabinsk State University during the excavation of a mound in the Stepnoye-1 burial ground discovered 17 infant and 2 adult burials. Scientists noted that for the monuments of Sintashta culture, such a number of children's burials is not typical, they are usually represented by the graves of adolescents and adults. Most of the babies died at the age of less than one year, and each grave contained evidence of animal sacrifices - goats and sheep, and some contained burial goods. According to scientists, the discovered ceramics indicates that many of the vessels were made by one potter or within the framework of one pottery school - this may indicate that many children belong to the same family or clan.
Two adult burials belonged to a man 45–55 years old and a woman 25–35 years old. Archaeologists noted that when examining the bones of a man, a round hole was found on the skull, overgrown during life - evidence, probably, of injury or trepanation, as well as numerous growths on the vertebrae, indicating a disease of the spine. In addition, the man's burial was plundered, but contained one cheekpiece and a large number of faunal remains, indicating animal sacrifices, including a dog and a horse.
According to scientists, the female burial turned out to be secondary, that is, the bones were placed in the grave after the skeleton of the body.Here, archaeologists have found rare items - a knife with a bone handle, a bronze sickle, as well as four vessels placed in each other. On the remains of the woman there were broken or repaired jewelry, which was previously recorded by scientists in the study of secondary burials. According to archaeologists, the inconsistency of the adornments symbolized the inconsistency of the buried body.
Bronze Knife with Bone Handle
The researchers added that sacrificial complexes were a distinctive feature of the studied burial ground. Typically, they consist of faunal remains that reflect fertility symbolism. So, in the excavated mound there were two altars, which contained the bones of cattle - a cow, a bull, a calf, as well as many paired sacrifices of small ruminants.