NSU Archaeologists Study Largest Tashtyk Burial Grounds

During the summer and autumn of 2018, archaeologists from the NSU Humanities Research Laboratory studied the Tesinsky Gulf-3 burial site. It is located on the left bank of the Yenisei River (now the Krasnoyarsk Reservoir), in the Bogradsky District in the Republic of Khakassia. This is one of the largest burial grounds of the Tashtyk culture that existed on the territory of the Minusinsk Basin from II CE - VII century BCE. The burial ground consists of more than 80 graves, with surface markers of various sizes. Although discovered during an expedition several years ago, it was not until 2017 that NSU archaeologists began excavation of the site. In 2018, work was resumed in collaboration with students from the NSU Department of Geology and Geophysics and two other Siberian universities.

Three graves were explored during three excavations. All of the graves had been seriously disturbed, including by ancient robbers. Well-preserved skeletons, beads, horn pins, fragments of funerary masks and other funeral inventory items were found in the graves. Based on these findings, conclusions were reached about the characteristics of Tashtyk culture, funeral rites, and the daily customs. In addition, information was obtained about the Minusinsk Basin population’s trade relations, society, and the jewelry business at the turn of the era.

Sergey Skobelev, Head of the NSU Laboratory for Humanities Studies, Candidate of Historical Sciences described their findings,

This burial ground is unique for its unusually large size. This could be an indication of a long and permanent residence by a large group of the Tashtyk population here at the turn of the era. In addition, the burial pits were unusually deep for this culture. The wooden structures found in them show a fairly high level of carpentry craftsmanship for this time, including knowledge of the log house corner notching technique. All of this suggests clear signs of residency. The prevailing notion of the population in the history of the region is that it was nomadic. Given the importance of this burial ground for the archeology of the region, work on it will continue next year.

During the fieldwork season, the NSU Geophysics students and their colleagues from other universities, under the guidance of the Geology and Geophysics Department professors, conducted a full magnetometric survey with a three-tiered presentation of the grounds. The results will insure that in the future researchers do not to miss any archaeological artifacts.