If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Children burial rituals at Andronovo tribes

Children burial rituals at Andronovo tribes  - e-history.kz
The Indo-European disputes brought particular interest about the question of the origin of children burial ritual at the Indo-Aryans of ancient tribes

The Indo-European disputes  brought particular interest about the question of the origin of children burial ritual at the Indo-Aryans of ancient tribes. It is known that the Aryans inhabited the vast territory stretching from the Balkans to the Yenisei and northern China about 2 thousand years ago BC.

 In the last third of the 2nd millennium BC. due to climate change, they are in motion. Some of them migrated to Europe, forming the basis of the Proto-Slavs ethno-genesis. Part  of them went to India , another  to Iran. Aryan tribes belonged to the Indo-European language and cultural community , which in the early two thousand BC. e . were isolated in the steppes of Eastern Europe and Kazakhstan, which became known as the bearer of modern science and carcass Andronovo cultures. Study and analysis of children' s burial ceremonies allows to reinterpret the funeral rites of the people of Andronovo tribes on the territory of Kazakhstan and Western Siberia.

Transition to cattle breeding  led to changes in the social relations of men and the establishment of  so-called "patriarchy" ("paternal clan"), due to an increase in the social status of men. Certainly, all this could not affect the funeral rites of children's burial.

Religious views and beliefs of Andronov tribes people were primarily associated with sun worship. This was clearly expressed most in the their funeral rite. Circular stone fences, cremation and strew dead ocher, presence of fire in the ritual - all this confirms the person's attitude toward the sun and fire as "derived" from the sun.

Obsequies of Andronovo tribes of people was a ritual of cremation or burials in the grave pits with stone or wooden structures, with burial mound or with stone fences. At all stages of the Andronovo burial complexes characterized by the absence of single burial mounds and the presence of feasts in the grave pits and mounds mounds. [A.Pleshakov "Culture of ancient and medieval Kazakhstan". Petropavlovsk: 2004, 207 pages. Page 110.]

The burial ceremony is an expression of the human need to establish a relationship with the afterworld, as the integrity of conscious living and sacred beings. It extends the scope of human communication beyond society, becoming the way of communication with the outside world.

From this stage of development begins to be viewed next trend. The predominant part of the children's graves  is the boys'  burials . Certainly, it can be assumed that boys' burial predominate over girls, because boys' physiology are much weaker than physiology of girls, and this led to greater mortality among boys. However, there is an opinion that echoes changing social status of men in Andronov. As proof of this can cause the following fact. At the cemetery of Baganaty II, burials of children who usually do not differ from the funeral rite of adult sheep bones were found , which are called asyk, the Kazakh dice. Where in asyk can play only male [ Nine volumes popular handbook "Kazakhs". Almaty: Publishing House "Bilim" 2003, 119 pages. Page 109.]

This example pushes us to the following hypothesis. Children's burial rite of Andronov era was divided into two unequal parts. On the one hand, the usual burial ceremony girls, on the other,  a complex one, that bears social commentary, boys' burial rite. In addition, particular attention should be drawn to the relationship between boys and ritual of  sacrifice of children's burial rites. However, the human sacrifices, especially children's, never acquired the mass forms in the Andronovo culture and wore always exceptional. Here canbe drawn parallels with the work of the Fraser "The Golden Bough", in the chapter "The people in the role of the redeemers of sins of others in classical antiquity", which states that the object of ritual sacrifice in the name of redeeming the sins of others ideally woman, child, particularly boy. In the funeral rituals embodied not actual but symbolic links. That is naturally identified with the separation ritual of children's burial by social status.

Besides children's burial ceremony had complex seasonal feature.

Several times in the studies was hypothesized seasonal nature of the burials in the necropolis of the Bronze Age. Burials only in the warm season, as evidenced by the data , and the sacrifices of animals. It is most likely that the bodies of children who died in the winter, not buried immediately, and buried until spring. The population inhabiting the extremely continental climate, infant mortality must increase greatly in the winter. As you know, even now, in the cold season , when the body is weakened immunity, increases the risk of both the common colds and infectious diseases. In the Bronze Age to the absence of effective medicines, vitamins, and central heating, as newborns and older children had to die much more often in winter than in summer. [ EV Kupriyanov The causes of children's collective graves in the necropolis of the Bronze Age Southern Trans-Urals. / / Materials II regional scientific-practical conference. Chelyabinsk, 2004.]

Thus, it can be assumed that children's burial rituals are spring - graves of children who died in the winter. Also about the seasonality of human sacrifice wrote   D. Fraser in "The Golden Bough" in "Being sacrificed for the benefit of society". "When the total cleansing from evils committed periodically break between ceremonies, as a rule, is equal to year and season when performed this ceremony coincides with a more or less abrupt change of seasons ... [ D. Fraser The Golden Bough . Moscow : Publishing House of Political Literature, 1980.831 pages. Page 639]

All of this suggests complex social motivations in the ritual burial of children at the Andronovo tribes.


(NKSU named after M. Kozybaev)


1. Pleshakov AA Culture of the ancient and medieval Kazakhstan (Textbook on the history and archeology of Kazakhstan). Petropavlovsk 2004, 207 p.

2 . Zdanowicz GB Bronze Age Ural- Kazakhstan steppes. Sverdlovsk , 1988 - 177s

3 . Pleshakova AA, AV Baev , Martynuk OI Bronze Age burial Baganaty 3 . Petropavlovsk, 2005.82 p.

4 . Popular nine-volume reference book "The Kazakhs ." Almaty: Publishing House "Bilim", 2003, 119 p.

5 . Kupriyanov EV The causes of children's collective burials in the Bronze Age nekroplyah Southern Trans-Urals . / / Materials II regional scientific-practical conference. Chelyabinsk, 2004.

6. Fraser DD The Golden Bough . Moscow : Publishing House of Political Literature, 1980 - 831 p.