- Andronovo culture
The Andronovo culture, or Sintashta-Petrovka culture is a collection of similar local
Bronze Agecultures that flourished "ca." 2300–1000 BCE in western Siberiaand the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon. The name derives from the village of Andronovo (coord|55|53|N|55|42|E|), where in 1914, several graves were discovered, with skeletons in crouched positions, buried with richly decorated pottery.
At least four sub-cultures have been since distinguished, during which the culture expands towards the south and the east:
Urals, northern Kazakhstan, 2200-1600 BCE,
Sintashtafortification of ca. 1800 BCE at the Chelyabinsk Oblast;
Petrovka settlementfortified settlement in Kazakhstan;
Arkaimsettlement dated to the 17th century;
*Alakul (2100-1400 BCE) between
Oxusand Jaxartes, Kyzylkum desert;
**Alekseyevka (1300-1100 BCE "final Bronze") in eastern Kazakhstan, contacts with
NamazgaVI in Turkmenia
*Fedorovo (1500-1300 BCE) in southern Siberia (earliest evidence of
cremationand fire cult [Harvcolnb|Diakonoff|1995|p=473]
**Beshkent-Vakhsh (1000-800 BCE)
The geographical extent of the culture is vast and difficult to delineate exactly. On its western fringes, it overlaps with the approximately contemporaneous, but distinct,
Srubna culturein the Volga-Ural interfluvial. To the east, it reaches into the Minusinskdepression, overlapping with the area of the earlier Afanasevo culture. [Harvcolnb|Mallory|1989|p=62] Additional sites are scattered as far south as the Koppet Dag( Turkmenistan), the Pamir( Tajikistan) and the Tian Shan( Kyrgyzstan). The northern boundary vaguely corresponds to the beginning of the Taiga. In the Volga basin, interaction with the Srubna culture was the most intense and prolonged, and Federovo style pottery is found as far west as Volgograd.
Towards the middle of the 2nd millennium, the Andronovo cultures begin to move intensively eastwards. They mined deposits of
copperore in the Altai Mountainsand lived in villages of as many as ten sunken log cabin houses measuring up to 30m by 60m in size. Burials were made in stone cists or stone enclosures with buried timber chambers.
In other regards, the economy was pastoral, based on horses and cattle, but also sheep and goats, with some agriculture in clear evidence.
Andronovo and Indo-Iranians
The Andronovo culture is strongly associated with the
Indo-Iraniansand is often credited with the invention of the spoke-wheeled chariotaround 2000 BCE. [Harvcolnb|Anthony|Vinogradov|1995] Sintashtais a site on the upper Ural River. It is famed for its grave-offerings, particularly chariotburials. These inhumations were in kurgansand included all or parts of animals (horse and dog) deposited into the barrow. Sintashta is often pointed to as the premier proto- Indo-Iraniansite, and that the language spoken was still in the Proto-Indo-Iranian stage. [Harvcolnb|Mallory|1989 "The settlement and cemetery of Sintashta, for example, though located far to the north on the Trans-Ural steppe, provides the type of Indo-Iranian archaeological evidence that would more than delight an archaeologist seeking their remains in Iran or India."] There are similar sites "in the Volga-Ural steppe". [Harvcolnb|Mallory|1997]
The identification of Andronovo as Indo-Iranian has been challenged by scholars who point to the absence of the characteristic timber graves of the steppe south of the
Oxus River. [or south of the region between Kopet Daghand Pamir- Karakorum. Francfort, in Harv|Fussman et al.|2005|p=268
Fussman, in Harv|Fussman et al.|2005|p=220
Francfort (1989), Fouilles de Shortugai
Klejn (1974), Lyonnet (1993), Francfort (1989), Bosch-Gimpera (1973), Hiebert (1998), and Sarianidi (1993), as cited in Harvcoltxt|Bryant|2001|loc=ch. 10, pp. 206–207] Sarianidi (as cited in Harvcolnb|Bryant|2001|p=207) states that "direct archaeological data from Bactria and
Margianashow without any shade of doubt that Andronovo tribes penetrated to a minimum extent into Bactria and Margianian oases".
Based on its use by Indo-Aryans in Mitanni and Vedic India, its prior absence in the Near East and Harappan India, and its 16th–17th century BCE attestation at the Andronovo site of
Sintashta, Kuzmina (1994) argues that the chariot corroborates the identification of Andronovo as Indo-Iranian. Klejn (1974) and Brentjes (1981) find the Andronovo culture much too late for an Indo-Iranian identification since chariot-wielding Aryans appear in Mitanniby the 15th to 16th century BCE. However, Harvcoltxt|Anthony|Vinogradov|1995 dated a chariot burialat Krivoye Laketo around 2000 BCE. [Harvcoltxt|Anthony|Vinogradov|1995
Kuzmina (1994), Klejn (1974), and Brentjes (1981), as cited in Harvcoltxt|Bryant|2001|p=206]
Mallory (as cited in Harvcolnb|Bryant|2001|p=216) admits the extraordinary difficulty of making a case for expansions from Andronovo to northern India, and that attempts to link the Indo-Aryans to such sites as the Beshkent and Vakhsh cultures "only gets the Indo-Iranian to Central Asia, but not as far as the seats of the Medes, Persians or Indo-Aryans".
An alternative possibility for the language of Andronovo may be Burušaski (now spoken in Kašmīr) or Ĥapirti (ʕelamitic), anciently spoken in Ĥuzistan.
Since older words of Indo Iranian have been taken over in Uralian and Proto-Yeneseian, occupation by some other languages (also lost ones) cannot be ruled out altogether, at least for part of the Andronovo area: i.e.,
Uralicand Yeneseian. [ [http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/Sinttashta_Qu.pdf] M. Witzel - Linguistic Evidence for Cultural Exchange in Prehistoric Western Central Asia, 2003, Sino-Platonic Papers 129]
Sintashta-Petrovka cultureis succeeded by the Fedorovo (1400-1200 BCE) and Alekseyevka (1200-1000 BCE) cultures , still considered as part of the Andronovo horizon.
In southern Siberia and Kazakhstan, the Andronovo culture was succeeded by the
Karasuk culture(1500-800 BCE), which is sometimes asserted to be non-Indo-European, and at other times to be specifically proto-Iranian. On its western border, it is succeeded by the Srubna culture, which partly derives from the Abashevo culture. The earliest historical peoples associated with the area are the Cimmeriansand Saka/ Scythians, appearing in Assyrian records after the decline of the Alekseyevka culture, migrating into the Ukrainefrom ca. the 9th century BCE (see also Ukrainian stone stela), and across the Caucasusinto Anatoliaand Assyria in the late 8th century BCE, and possibly also west into Europe as the Thracians(see Thraco-Cimmerian), and the Sigynnae, located by Herodotusbeyond the Danube, north of the Thracians, and by Strabonear the Caspian Sea. Both Herodotus and Strabo identify them as Iranian.
*Fussman, G.; Kellens, J.; Francfort, H.-P.; Tremblay, X.: Aryas, Aryens et Iraniens en Asie Centrale. (2005), Institut Civilisation Indienne ISBN 2-86803-072-6
*Jones-Bley, K.; Zdanovich, D. G. (eds.), "Complex Societies of Central Eurasia from the 3rd to the 1st Millennium BC", 2 vols, JIES Monograph Series Nos. 45, 46, Washington D.C. (2002), ISBN 0-941694-83-6, ISBN 0-941694-86-0.
Chariot, Chariot burial
* [http://www.csen.org/ Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads] (csen.org)
** [http://www.csen.org/Koryakova/korya.andronovo.html Late Bronze Age Indo-Iranians in Central Asia]
** [http://www.csen.org/koryakova2/Korya.Sin.Ark.html Sintashta-Arkaim Culture]
* [http://steppes.ru/article322.html The Discovery of Sintashta] (a Russian-language article by two archaeologists who directed the excavations)
* [http://www.cultinfo.ru/fulltext/1/001/001/073/j5.htm Archaic Motifs in North Russian Folk Embroidery and Parallels in Ancient Ornamental Designs of the Eurasian Steppe Peoples] S. Zharnikova
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