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Evolution of the Andronovo culture

21 August 2014

Scientists define two periods of development of the Andronovo culture.

The earlier period (18th — 14th centuries B.C.) is characterized by the ultimate formation of primitive agriculture. Farmer had principal forms of working tools at his disposal, including stone mattocks, metates and sickles. Pastoral cattle-breeding developed. The third type of labor activity — metallurgy of bronze — was in its infancy. The Andronovo anthropological type was completely formed. Most ancient people of the Central and Northern Kazakhstan practiced cremation of corpse as a funeral ceremony.

Clay pots of jar form, flat-bottomed with vertical or several convex sides and sometimes with concave neck were typical model of crockery during the earlier period of the Andronovo culture. The entire upper part of vessels was decorated with complicated ornament consisted of geometrical shapes of various combinations made by stamping had the form of comb.

The second period (14th — 10th centuries B.C.) was a new stage in the life of the Andronovo tribes based on the higher level of economic development. Cattle-breeding developed widely; number of cultivation areas for primitive agriculture increased. Mining operations gained a wider scope, extraction of copper, tin and gold. Since then copper and bronze tools and decorations were constantly used in private life and not only while man was alive but after his death as well.

The process of metallurgy and pastoral cattle-breeding — two main factors of the Andronovo culture — contributed to the population growth and was the reason of several social transformations.

In clan that once was united community some patriarchal families began to act as independent economic collectives, while the aspiration for economic isolation was not confined by the sphere of economic life. This tendency ran through the whole life and worldview of the society and spread even on such conservative ritual as funeral ceremony. From these period economic independence of patriarchal family appeared in the form of rich family crypt which were constructed at family cemeteries.

Growth of population of the Andronovo people was marked by the extension of cemeteries and increase of graves. Many archeologists tried to solve original topographic crossword while excavated the Andronovo burial ground which frequently counted 200-300 funeral constructions.

What was the reason of such variety of forms of stone fence? Detailed analysis gave some answers: members of patriarchal family concentrated graves around the grave of their leader. Compared with previous period the burial ceremony changed as well. People did not burn the dead any more — replacement of superstition had its effect on funerals.

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

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