Nikita S. Saveleva,#

a Ufa Federal Research Centre RAS, Ufa, Russia

Keywords: Southern Ural, mountain-steppe zone, early nomads, Itkul culture, sanctuaries.

The paper publishes two hand-made vessels found upside down and photographed by residents of the city of Magnitogorsk in a rock shelter near the village of Salavatovo, Abzelilovsky district of Bashkortostan. The finds come from the slope of the Mount Krutaya, which is one of the frontal elevations of the Krykty ridge, on the border of the mountain-forest and mountain-steppe zones. An analysis of the vessels testifies to their attribution to the southern population of the Itkul culture. The formation of their pottery traditions was significantly influenced by the Barkhatovo population occupying areas to the east. The study shows that this group of the Itkul culture bearers, who populated the lacustrine foothills along the eastern slope of the Southern Urals up to the latitude of modern Magnitogorsk, existed in constant interaction with nomads of the Scythian-Sarmatian period. Probably, this circumstance manifested itself in the formation of a stable system of marriage ties. This led to the widespread use of Itkul pottery (and those based on it as a kind of “forest-steppe fashion”) in nomadic burials. Besides, the incorporated part of the forest-steppe population brought to the nomadic environment the cults and rituals characteristic of much more northern territories. In terms of its typology, the published cult site approaches the Itkul single-act sanctuaries. Based on known archaeological and ethnographic analogies, this complex is interpreted as a burial of the maternal placenta or as a result of some other post-burial ritual. The finds are dated to the 5th century BC or to the turn of the 5th‒4th centuries BC.

DOI: 10.31857/S0869606322010172