Home History of Kazakhstan Ancient Kazakhstan Bronze Age Cult of the dead

Cult of the dead

20 August 2014
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Cult of the dead had significant role in the life of the Andronovo people. L.N. Gumilyov expressed, as it seems to be, very paradoxical but true, in essence, idea that people belonging to different nations diverge less by the way of life than by their attitude to the death.

Funerals of nomarchs in the cave tombs carved in the rock were particular spectacular. For these purposes inhabitants of ancient Babylonia preferred stone crypts with brick dome constructed on the bottom of deep rectangular ground holes.

In Greece and Crete the dead were buried in clay vessels or stone chambers with graduated domes.

Tribes of ancient Kazakhstan also had their own features. They very carefully constructed the so called “houses of other life” — funeral buildings, enclosed with stone fence of rectangular, round or oval form made of vertically dug into the ground or flatways laid down stone plates. The dead were either burnt out or buried in “chests” constructed with stone plates or rectangular ground holes. Cremation, as a form of ceremony, was especially widespread in the early period of the Andronovo culture. According to the existed at that period custom, the dead were burnt on the bonfire and his ashes with personal belongings and placed into the stone chest. According to the perception of ancient people, cremation ceremony corresponded to the universal rule of renovation of Nature and rebirth in a new life.

With the next more developed stage cremation ceremony changed to the new one: the dead were placed into a stone crypt in embryo position on the left or right side.

How did the Andronovo people look like? European anthropological type is a characteristic of these people: they had wide face with low eye-socket and relief nose.

According to the language of the Andronovo people they were a part of the Indo-Iranian group came out of the huge family of Indo-European languages at the beginning of the 2d millennium B.C.

Compared with their ancestors the Andronovo tribes had a wide range of bronze tools. They produced handmade clay vessels and decorated their surface with beautiful geometrical ornament.

Metallurgists of the Andronovo culture knew the technique of producing of a great number of different decorations which shared specific (to the Andronovo culture) signs. Frequently ear-rings were made with bell on one side; people produced bracelets with spirally curled ends, plaques with stamped geometrical ornament, bronze necklace.

Reference:
Agapov P., Kadyrbayev M. (1979) Treasure of ancient Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata: Zhalyn. 252 p. (in Russian)

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