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

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2021 Volume XXVII

doi: 10.17746/2658-6193.2021.27.0557-0562

УДК 903.074

"Hexapods" of the Pazyryk Culture

Mylnikov V.P.

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The article deals with problems of publishing little known artifacts made of wood from the explored archaeological sites. The results of studying the so-called “hexapods” kept in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum are discussed. These objects were found in the 1940s during the excavations of elite burial mounds at well-known sites of Pazyryk, Tuekta, and Bashadar of the Scythian period. “Hexapods” constitute whole and fragmented sets of six medium-length shafts, round in cross-section, with the length reaching 1.2 m, diameter up to 0.3 m, and conical thickenings at the ends. They were made with well-sharpened knife from thin trunks of coniferous trees (cedar pine). Round and square through holes were drilled with a chucking drill and cut with a chisel at the upper ends of the shafts at a small distance from the flat ends. Felt cape-covers and bronze vessels for burning incense were found together with the shafts. A comprehensive technical and technological analysis of these wooden items has made it possible to identify several variants of functional purpose which the sets of “hexapods” might have had: ritual and commemorative as a tent for shamanic rituals; “Scythian bath” for cleansing and ablutions, or medical tent for treating colds and lung diseases. Physical parameters of “hexapod” shafts (material, size, and shape) are provided. The type of wood with specific physical properties which preconditioned its choice for making the object was established from anatomical features of its cell structure. Tools, techniques, and methods of producing these objects have been identified.


Altai, Scythian period, funerary objects made of wood, “hexapods,” reconstruction

Chief Editor
Academician A.P. Derevyanko

Deputy Chief Editor
Academician V.I. Molodin

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