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

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2021 Volume XXVII

doi: 10.17746/2658-6193.2021.27.0747-0753

УДК 902/904

Early Medieval Burial near the Bolshaya Tavdinskaya Cave (Northern Altai)

Shulga P.I., Kubarev G.V.

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The article focuses on the publication of early medieval burial materials near the Bolshaya Tavdinskaya Cave in the downstream section of Katun River in Altai. The burial was made according to the rite of inhumation accompanied by a horse under a mound with crepida (base of large stones). The buried teenager’s head was oriented to the east with a slight deviation to the north, but the accompanying horse—in the opposite direction. The representative accompanying inventory, confirming the high social and property status of the buried, included items, such as stirrup, iron snaffles with horn cheekpieces, a plaque decorated belt of the “Katanda” type, kochedyk, etc. Parallels to the accompanying grave goods from the Tavda burial and, in particular, parallels to the stirrup and iron snaffles with horn cheekpieces allow dating the burial complex to the 7th century AD. Only one stirrup found in the burial can be considered as a feature of the funeral rite associated with the use of incomplete or intentionally broken things. Usually, researchers attribute the burials with a horse in Altai to the ancient Turks or to the so-called Turkic culture. However, a critical look at the information obtained from the Chinese sources in the translations of various sinologists makes it possible to attribute the burials with a horse in Altai mainly to the Karluks. Thus, for example, the text of the Chinese chronicle unequivocally emphasizes that, in the middle of the 8th century, one of two groups of Karluks who remained independent from Uyghurs, led a nomadic life in Altai, and that the Karluk Yabghu, received the title “Prince of Altai” from the Chinese authorities to confirm his status quo. In the second half of the 1st millennium, a heterogeneous ethnic picture was formed in Altai: the Karluks lived there together with the people from the Az tribe, the Turks of the Chebi tribe and, probably, the Pugu Tele tribe. An early medieval burial excavated near the Bolshaya Tavdinskaya Cave, among others, marks the northern border of the Karluk horse burials spread.


burial with a horse, Karluks, the early Middle Ages period, Northern Altai, burial inventory, ethnopolitical situation

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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