Pazyryk culture
General location of the Pazyryk culture within the Saka realm, and contemporary Asian polities c. -325
Geographical rangeSouth Siberia
Dates6th to 3rd centuries BC
Preceded byArzhan culture, Karakol culture
Followed byXiongnu, Tashtyk culture

The Pazyryk culture (Russian: Пазырыкская культура Pazyrykskaya kul'tura) is a Saka (Central Asian Scythian)[1] nomadic Iron Age archaeological culture (6th to 3rd centuries BC) identified by excavated artifacts and mummified humans found in the Siberian permafrost, in the Altay Mountains, Kazakhstan and nearby Mongolia. The mummies are buried in long barrows (or kurgans) similar to the tomb mounds of Scythian culture in Ukraine. The type site are the Pazyryk burials of the Ukok Plateau.[2] Many artifacts and human remains have been found at this location, including the Siberian Ice Princess, indicating a flourishing culture at this location that benefited from the many trade routes and caravans of merchants passing through the area.[3] The Pazyryk are considered to have had a war-like life.[4] The Pazyryk culture was preceded by the "Arzhan culture" (Initial Scythian period, 8th - 7th century BC).[5]

Archaeology

Horseman on a Pazyryk felt carpet (c.300 BC), and a horse harness from the tomb of the Siberian Ice Maiden (5th-4th century BC)

Other kurgan cemeteries associated with the culture include those of Bashadar, Tuekta, Ulandryk, Polosmak and Berel. There are so far no known sites of settlements associated with the burials, suggesting a purely nomadic lifestyle.

Because of a freak climatic freeze, some of the Altai burials, notably those of the 5th century BC at Pazyryk and neighbouring sites, such as Katanda, Shibe, and Tuekt, were isolated from external climatic variations by a protective layer of ice that conserved the organic substances buried in them. At Pazyryk these included the bodies of horses and an embalmed man whose body was covered with tattoos of animal motifs. The remarkable textiles recovered from the Pazyryk burials include the oldest woollen knotted-pile carpet known, the oldest embroidered Chinese silk, and two pieces of woven Persian fabric (State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg). Red and ochre predominate in the carpet, the main design of which is of riders, stags, and griffins. Many of the Pazyryk felt hangings, saddlecloths, and cushions were covered with elaborate designs executed in appliqué feltwork, dyed furs, and embroidery. Of exceptional interest are those with animal and human figural compositions, the most notable of which are the repeat design of an investiture scene on a felt hanging and that of a semihuman, semibird creature on another (both in the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg). Clothing, whether of felt, leather, or fur, was also lavishly ornamented.

Horse reins either had animal designs cut out on them or were studded with wooden ones covered in gold foil. Their tail sheaths were ornamented, as were their headpieces and breastpieces. Some horses were provided with leather or felt masks made to resemble animals, with stag antlers or rams’ horns often incorporated in them. Many of the trappings took the form of iron, bronze, and gilt wood animal motifs either applied or suspended from them; and bits had animal-shaped terminal ornaments. Altai-Sayan animals frequently display muscles delineated with dot and comma markings, a formal convention that may have derived from appliqué needlework. Such markings are sometimes included in Assyrian, Achaemenian, and even Urartian animal representations of the ancient Middle East. Roundels containing a dot serve the same purpose on the stag and other animal renderings executed by contemporary Śaka metalworkers. Animal processions of the Assyro-Achaemenian type also appealed to many Central Asian tribesmen and are featured in their arts.

Certain geometric designs and sun symbols, such as the circle and rosette, recur at Pazyryk but are completely outnumbered by animal motifs. The stag and its relatives figure as prominently as in Altai-Sayan. Combat scenes between carnivores and herbivores are exceedingly numerous in Pazyryk work; the Pazyryk beasts are locked in such bitter fights that the victim's hindquarters become inverted.[6]

Genetics

Approximate genetic makeup of different Scythian groups

The Pazyryk population is associated with the Eastern Scythian horizon, which emerged out of Western Steppe Herders (WSH or Steppe_MLBA) and local groups of Southern Siberia. Genetic data revealed that the Iron Age Pazyryk people were not identical with the WSH but substantially shifted towards East Eurasians. The eastern Eurasian geneflow can largely be explained through Khövsgöl LBA groups, themselves a combination of primarily Ancient Northeast Asians and components associated with Ancient North Eurasians and the Sintashta culture. Some outlier samples need additional geneflow from an Ancient Northeast Asian source, best represented by Neolithic groups from the Devil’s Gate Cave site in the Russian Far East.[8] Overall, the Pazyryk population could be modeled to derive between c. 50% from the Khövsgöl LBA source, c. 36% from WSH (Steppe_MLBA), and c. 14% from a BMAC-like source. One outlier specimen (Pazyryk_Berel_50BCE) could be modeled as c. 18% Pazyryk_IA and c. 82% additional Northeast Asian admixture, suggesting that this individual represents a migrant who arrived from further East.[9][10]

Maternal haplogroups

Two individuals were found to belong to the East Eurasian maternal haplogroup C4.[11]

Paternal haplogroups

Two closely related males from the Pazyryk culture were found to belong to the East Eurasian paternal haplogroup N.[12][13]

Another Pazyryk specimen was found to belong to the West Eurasian paternal haplogroup R1a-Z93.[14]

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ The Editors (2001-09-11). "Pazyryk | archaeological site, Kazakhstan". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2019-03-05. ((cite web)): |author= has generic name (help)
  2. ^ (NOVA 2007)
  3. ^ (State Hermitage Museum 2007)
  4. ^ (Jordana 2009)
  5. ^ Murphy, Eileen M. (2003). "Iron Age Archaeology and Trauma from Aymyrlyg South Siberia: An examination of the health diet and lifestyles of the two Iron Age populations buried at the cemetery complex of Aymyrlyg". BAR International Series.
  6. ^ "Altaic Tribes". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "Siberian Princess reveals her 2,500 year old tattoos". The Siberian Times. 2012.
  8. ^ Gnecchi-Ruscone, Guido Alberto; Khussainova, Elmira; Kahbatkyzy, Nurzhibek; Musralina, Lyazzat; Spyrou, Maria A.; Bianco, Raffaela A.; Radzeviciute, Rita; Martins, Nuno Filipe Gomes; Freund, Caecilia; Iksan, Olzhas; Garshin, Alexander; Zhaniyazov, Zhassulan; Bekmanov, Bakhytzhan; Kitov, Egor; Samashev, Zainolla (2021-03-26). "Ancient genomic time transect from the Central Asian Steppe unravels the history of the Scythians". Science Advances. 7 (13). doi:10.1126/sciadv.abe4414. ISSN 2375-2548. PMC 7997506. PMID 33771866.
  9. ^ Gnecchi-Ruscone, Guido Alberto; Khussainova, Elmira; Kahbatkyzy, Nurzhibek; Musralina, Lyazzat; Spyrou, Maria A.; Bianco, Raffaela A.; Radzeviciute, Rita; Martins, Nuno Filipe Gomes; Freund, Caecilia; Iksan, Olzhas; Garshin, Alexander; Zhaniyazov, Zhassulan; Bekmanov, Bakhytzhan; Kitov, Egor; Samashev, Zainolla (2021-03-26). "Ancient genomic time transect from the Central Asian Steppe unravels the history of the Scythians". Science Advances. 7 (13). doi:10.1126/sciadv.abe4414. ISSN 2375-2548. PMC 7997506. PMID 33771866.
  10. ^ Unterländer 2017: Data available at Supplementary Information file, page 38, Table 7. West Eurasia (WEA): 48%, East Eurasia (EEA) 52%.
  11. ^ Pilipenko, Trapezov & Polosmak 2015, p. 148: "Results from the analysis of the structure of mtDNA samples. The studied individuals were characterized by an identical structure of DNA HVR I. The HVR I haplotype structure 16093C-16129A-16223T-16298C-16327T gives unambiguous evidence that this structural variant of mtDNA belongs to the Eastern Eurasian haplogroup C (most probably, to haplogroup C4a1), falling into macrohaplogroup M. According to the results of phylogeographical analysis, variants of haplogroup C4 with an identical or similar structure of haplotypes are common both among the population of Southern Siberia (including Altai) and Central Asia (including Northern China), and also among the autochthonous populations of more remote northern regions of Siberia (Pilipenko, Trapezov, Polosmak, 2015; Derenko et al., 2003, 2007; Starikovskaya et al., 2005; Metspalu et al., 2004). Thus, the revealed variant is characteristic of modern indigenous peoples of the region under consideration."
  12. ^ Pilipenko, A. S.; Trapezov, R. O.; Polosmak, N. V (2015). "A PALEOGENETIC STUDY OF PAZYRYK PEOPLE BURIED AT AK-ALAKHA-1, THE ALTAI MOUNTAINS". Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia (Russian-language). 43 (4): 144–150. doi:10.17746/1563-0102.2015.43.4.144-150.
  13. ^ Pilipenko, Trapezov & Polosmak 2015, p. 148: "The complete allelic profile obtained based on 17 STR-loci has made it possible to determine that the studied variant of the Y-chromosome belongs to haplogroup N (according to the data of Haplogroup Predictor software, the probability is 100 %)."
  14. ^ Unterländer 2017: From the Supplementary Information file, page 71: "Individual I0563 (Pazyryk) belonged to the Z93 clade45 which is frequent in Central Asia and was also recorded in Bronze Age individuals from Mongolia and the Sintashta culture from Samara." See also page 55, Table 22: "I0563 R1a1a1b2".
  15. ^ a b "Legal bid fails to rebury remains of 2,500 year old tattooed 'ice princess'". The Siberian Times. 2016.

Sources