A Bronze Age Landscape in the Russian Steppes: The Samara Valley Project


Series: Monumenta Archaeologica 37
ISBN: 978-1-938770-05-0
Publication Date: Jun 2016
Price: Hb $89, eBook $45
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David W. Anthony, Dorcas R. Brown, Aleksandr A. Khokhlov, Pavel F. Kuznetsov, and Oleg D. Mochalov

“In all it is a thorough piece of reporting, efficiently compartmentalized, with all the evidence needed to support the discussion and conclusions clearly laid out. The editors and authors are to be congratulated in presenting such a range of complex data in so accessible a way.”
 — Barry Cunliffe, European Journal of Archaeology, 2017

The first English-language monograph that describes seasonal and permanent Late Bronze Age settlements in the Russian steppes, this is the final report of the Samara Valley Project, a U.S.-Russian archaeological investigation conducted between 1995 and 2002. It explores the changing organization and subsistence resources of pastoral steppe economies from the Eneolithic (4500 BC) through the Late Bronze Age (1900–1200 BC) across a steppe-and-river valley landscape in the middle Volga region, with particular attention to the role of agriculture during the unusual episode of sedentary, settled pastoralism that spread across the Eurasian steppes with the Srubnaya and Andronovo cultures (1900–1200 BC). Three astonishing discoveries were made by the SVP archaeologists: agriculture played no role in the LBA diet across the region, a surprise given the settled residential pattern; a unique winter ritual was practiced at Krasnosamarskoe involving dog and wolf sacrifices, possibly related to male initiation ceremonies; and overlapping spheres of obligation, cooperation, and affiliation operated at different scales to integrate groups defined by politics, economics, and ritual behaviors.  

Table of Contents

Part I  Introduction and Overview of the Samara Valley Project 1995–2002

  • Ch. 1 The Samara Valley Project and the Evolution of Pastoral Economies in the Western Eurasian Steppes by David W. Anthony
  • Ch. 2 Archaeological Field Operations in the Lower Samara Valley, 1995–2001, with Observations on Srubnaya Pastoralism by David W. Anthony, Dorcas R. Brown, and Pavel F. Kuznetsov

Part II History, Ecology, and Settlement Patterns in the Samara Oblast

  • Ch. 3 Historic Records of the Economy and Ethnic History of the Samara Region by Oleg D. Mochalov, Dmitriy V. Romanov, and David W. Anthony
  • Ch. 4 The Samara Valley in the Bronze Age: A Review of Archaeological Discoveries by Pavel F. Kuznetsov and Oleg D. Mochalov (Translated from Russian by David W. Anthony)
  • Ch. 5 Paleoecological Evidence for Vegetation, Climate, and Land-Use Change in the Lower Samara River Valley by Laura M. Popova

Part III Human Skeletal Studies

  • Ch. 6 Demographic and Cranial Characteristics of the Volga-Ural Population in the Eneolithic and Bronze Age by Aleksandr A. Khokhlov
  • Ch. 7 Stable Isotope Analysis of Neolithic to Late Bronze Age Populations in the Samara Valley by Rick J. Schulting and Michael P. Richards                     
  • Ch. 8 A Bioarchaeological Study of Prehistoric Populations from the Volga Region by Eileen M. Murphy and Aleksandr A. Khokhlov

Part IV Excavation and Specialist Reports for the Krasnosamarskoe Kurgan Cemetery and Settlement and the Herding Camps in Peschanyi Dol

  • Ch. 9 The Geoarchaeology of the Krasnosamarskoe Sites by Arlene Miller Rosen
  • Ch. 10 Excavations at the LBA Settlement at Krasnosamarskoe by David W. Anthony, Dorcas R. Brown, Pavel F. Kuznetsov, and Oleg D. Mochalov
  • Ch. 11 Bronze Age Metallurgy in the Middle Volga by David L. Peterson, Peter Northover, Chris Salter, Blanca Maldonado, and David W. Anthony
  • Ch. 12 Floral Data Analysis: Report on the Pollen and Macrobotanical Remains from the Krasnosamarskoe Settlement by Laura M. Popova
  • Ch. 13 Phytoliths from the Krasnosamarskoe Settlement and Its Environment by Alison Weisskopf and Arlene Miller Rosen
  • Ch. 14 Dog Days of Winter: Seasonal Activities in a Srubnaya Landscape by Anne Pike-Tay and David W. Anthony
  • Ch. 15 Archaeozoological Report on the Animal Bones from the Krasnosamarskoe Settlement by Pavel A. Kosintsev
  • Ch. 16 Human-Animal Relations at Krasnosamarskoe by Nerissa Russell, Audrey Brown, and Emmett Brown
  • Ch. 17 The Bronze Age Kurgan Cemetery at Krasnosamarskoe IV by Pavel F. Kuznetsov, Oleg D. Mochalov, and David W. Anthony
  • Ch. 18 Bronze Age Herding Camps: Survey and Excavations in Peschanyi Dol by David W. Anthony, Dorcas R. Brown, Pavel F. Kuznetsov, and Oleg D. Mochalov