The Origin of Culturally Diversified Individuals Buried in the Early Iron Age Barrow Cemetery at Chultukov Log-1 (Upper Altai) in Light of the Analysis of Stable Oxygen Isotopes

Łukasz Oleszczak, Andriey P. Borodovskiy, Aleksandra Lisowska-Gaczorek, Jacek Pawlyta, Sławomir Kozieł, Svietlana S. Tur, Beata Cienkosz-Stepańczak, Krzysztof Szostek


Chultukov Log-1 is a large barrow cemetery, located in the valley of Lower Katun river (Northern Altai, Russia), in which various cultural traditions of the Scythian era are represented (Pazyryk, Karakoba, Bystrianka). The main goal of this study was to determine whether the individuals buried in the cemetery and representing different cultural traditions are uniform in terms of their geographical origin.

In order to reconstruction of origin of individuals an analysis of the isotopic composition of oxygen was performed within bone apatite phosphates from well preserved samples. To verify the state of preservation of human and animal osseous remains, diagenetic indices were calculated based on Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer spectra (FTIR).

One of the most important conclusions is the identification in the cemetery of individuals probably originating from the north. The most probable scenario is population movements of the Bystrianka culture people from the steppe and piedmont zones to the south, to the mountainous valley of Lower Katun river in the Northern Altai, where they assimilated with the North Pazyryk communities. In the opposite, the contact of the inhabitansts of the Norhern Altai with the south was not connected with the people's movements, but rather with the trade and the common genesis of the North Pazyryk groups and the Pazyryk culture from Central and South-Eastern Altai. Some people of local origin had different eschatological beliefs and accordingly buried their dead in stone boxes (Karakoba type).


isotope analyses, mobility of Scythian people, Pazyryk culture, Karakoba culture, Bystrianka culture, Northern Altai in the Early Iron Age

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