A.Z. Beysenov, E.P. Kitov
Posthumous Skull Trepanation in Elite Burial Grounds of the Saka Period in Central Kazakhstan
In the present article materials of barrows 4, 5 in Taldy-2 burial grounds, barrows 1, 7 Karashoky burial grounds and the barrow 1 of 1the Akbeit burial ground are considered. These monuments marked with big size, sophisticated design, presence of elite objects in the grave, are dated the early Saka period (the VII BC–VI BC). Among anthropological materials from new monuments of the Tasmola culture in Central Kazakhstan skulls with the trepanations located on the occipital part were revealed. Following the analysis results of the materials it is noted that similar trepanations mark the high social status of the buried persons. The necessity to make small openings in the back of the skull could have been connected with inserting preserved structure into the cranium cavity for mummification of the body, or with skeleton purging from soft fabrics while preserving the body before obsequies. The considered data proves the fact that there existed traditions of preparing the body of the dead to transition to another world, which was widespread on the territory of Kazakhstan and Central Asia in ancient times. For further examination of the subject it is necessary to involve a wide range of ethnographic materials.
Key words: Tasmola culture, barrow, trepanation, mummification, Central Kazakhstan, ritual
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N. N. Miklouho-Maklay Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russia)E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org