A Bronze Age Landscape in the Russian Steppes: The Samara Valley Project
NewSeries: Monumenta Archaeologica 37
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
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.