Ananian Culture

Ananian Culture

Ananian Culture is an archeological culture of the end of the 8th-3rd c. BC in the territory of the Middle Volga (from the river Vetluga to the city Uliyanovsk) and in the basin of the river Kama. In the southeast periphery the culture monuments are along the banks of the lower course of the river White, from its eastuary to the city Birsk (fortresses Novokabanov, Kakrykul, Peter-Tau, Anachev, Tra-Tau, Trikol, Novobiktov, Birsk settlement, Tash-Elga burials). In the Volgo-Kama area and more northern areas the culture monuments extend to the Pechora Arctic belt.

The name Ananian Culture was given after the first discovered burials near village Ananino in the vicinity of the city Elabuga in present Tatarstan, Russian Federation, excavated by P.V.Alabin and I.V.Shishkin in the 1858.

In the Volga region and the Lower Kama area the traces of the Ananian culture fade in the 6th c. BC, in other areas in the 3rd-2nd cc. BC.

Archeological monuments of the Ananian culture

Are known unfortified settlements, fortresses and burials. In the settlements and fortresses were found remains of surface timber dwellings (area 10x5 m, 12х4 м). In addition, in the settlement Konetsgor were found long houses divided into sections with hearths the located on their longitudinal axis. Population was engaged in cattle breeding and agriculture, and also hunting and fishery. Well developed were black iron and nonferrous metallurgy, bronze casting and forging, weaving, spinning, bone and leather trades, making of dishware. Typical ceramics is round-bottomed with indented and rope ornament. In the settlements are many bone products, mainly from hunting, like arrowheads of various forms, harpoons, mattock tips.

The funeral monuments are kurgan-less, sometimes very extensive. Upper Ahmylov burials contained more than 1100 burials. The earliest of them, for example, 1st Mordovian, on the side of the tombs had groups stone stela with depiction of weaponry. In the 6th-5th cc. BC they were replaced with stelae above the tombs, sometimes with male image with weapons or without it. The inhumation ceremony in pit tombs, covered with timber chambers predominate. Single burials prevailed, but are also known paired and collective burials, dismembered (reburials) and partial (skulls). Burials in some cases were accompanied by meat food with horsemeat for men and beef for women, and various objects, including clay vessels. In the male burials usually are found weapons and work tools including spear, kelt, sword, dagger, arrowheads, wedges, and decorations. In the female tombs are ornaments including bracelets, neckrings, sets of pendants and tubules sown on a leather headband). In the early period of the Ananian culture the bronze and iron tools and weapons co-existed, and also flint arrowheads and scrapers.

The Ananian culture was greatly influenced by the Caucasus (Kolhida-Kobanian) culture, Scythian, and eastern nomadic cultures of Eurasian steppes. Especially significant were the linksof the Ananians with the Caucasus cultures, represented by numerous imported products. It was determined that technological methods for iron processing ascend to the Caucasian traditions.


Ananians, apparently, belonged to the Finno-Ugric group. In the eastern part of the basin formed the Udmurt tribes, in western part were tribes of Maris, to the north were Komi tribes [] .


*Zbrueva A.V. "History of the Kama Population in the Ananian Epoch", Мoscow, 1952

*Halikov A.H. "Volga-Kama in the beginning of the Early Iron Epoch", Мoscow, 1977
*Archeology of Southern Urals. Sterlitamak, 1993
*Markov V.N. "Ananian problem (some results and objectives of its resolution)" // Monuments of Volga-Kama ancient history. Kazan, 1994.

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