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

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2019 Volume XXV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2019.25.321-327

УДК 572, 902

Two Cases of Scalping in the Burials of the Late Krotovo (Chernoozyorie) Culture at the Tartas-1 Burial Ground

Batanina O.V.

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The article discusses two cases of scalping observed on anthropological finds of the Late Krotovo (Chernoozyorie) culture from the Tartas-1 burial ground. Both skeletons belonged to males who were buried in a manner not quite typical of the Late Krotovo culture. According to the literature, skulls of the Bronze Age with traces of manipulation are generally quite rare in Eurasia and until now were unknown in Western Siberia. The study analyzes specific aspects of this rite in the Advanced Bronze Age and draws possible parallels with the later chronological parallels in Western Siberia. The nature of incisions on the skulls, traces of traumatic injury and probable decapitation on one of the sculls indicate that manipulations were carried out postmortem. An important feature of marks left by scalping is a difference in scalping methods, which could have been caused by polymorphism in the semantics of this ritual in its cultural environment. In one case, the method of manipulations shows parallels with the Bystrovka necropolis of the Bolshaya Rechka culture of the Early Iron Age; the other case resembles scalping occurring among the evidence from the Ulandryk-2 burial ground of the Scythian period. Scalping ritual in this case can be interpreted both as manifestation of aggression between the groups of people, and element of the worldview in which the head and hair had a sacred meaning, and the ritual was performed to ensure that the soul would be incapable of returning back to body. Scalping ritual may reveal local conflicts between the newcomers (Srubno-Andronovo groups) and autochthonous population.


scalping, scalp, traumatic injuries, paleopathology, Late Krotovo (Chernoozyorie) culture, Middle Bronze Age, Western Siberia

Chief Editor
Academician A.P. Derevyanko

Deputy Chief Editor
Academician V.I. Molodin

17, Аkademika Lavrentieva prosp., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

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