Problems of Archaeology, Ethnography, Anthropology of
Siberia and Neighboring Territories

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2018 Volume XXIV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2018.24.367-370

УДК 902+572

Cases of Possible Intravital Ritual Traumatization of Pazyryk Culture Skulls (Mountain Altai)

Chikisheva T.A., Volkov P.V.

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The three male skulls recovered from burial mounds of the Pazyryk culture in the Ak-Alakha valley (the Ukok Plateau, Corny Altai) show traces of well-healed injuries in the form of shallow grooves at the left frontal tubercle. The microscopic analysis of these defects showed that the bone surface was subjected to the effect of a hard pointed object. The skulls injuring was carried out by strikes of a relatively equal strength without the intention of bone perforation. To ensure the accuracy of repeated shocks at one point with the same force and direction, additional striking tool might have been used to transmit a force impulse onto the tool in contact with the surface of the skull. The ritual nature of manipulation and the possibility of classifying these injuries as symbolic trepanations is assumed.


Pazyryk culture, ritual, trauma, skull, traceological analysis

Chief Editor
Academician A.P. Derevyanko

Deputy Chief Editor
Academician V.I. Molodin

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Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

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