DCIM154MEDIADJI_0039.JPGNikolai A. Makarova,# and Anna M. Krasnikovab,##

a Institute of Archaeology RAS, Moscow, Russia
b State Historical Museum, Moscow, Russia

#E-mail: nmakarov10@yandex.ru
##E-mail: krasnikova.an@yandex.ru

Keywords: medieval Rus, burial rite, elite burials, Suzdal Opolye, mounds, battle axes, riding gear.

The appearance of elite burials of the 10th first half of the 11th century in the central regions of North-Eastern Rus has not been sufficiently clarified in archaeology. Burials with weapons uncovered by excavations of the 19th mid-20th century part have remained poorly documented for the most. In 2021, for the first time in the last 170 years, a burial complex with inhumation accompanied by horse harness and riding gear was studied in the Suzdal Opole. This grave can be reliably associated with a high-ranking member of social elite. The inhumation was uncovered in the Gnezdilovo burial ground on the site of a mound, whose earthwork had been completely destroyed by plowing, in a large grave pit oriented NW–SE. The pit size (3.3 × 1.6 m) and the presence of wooden structures in it with cuts at the corners correspond to the characteristic features of chamber graves. However, unlike the classical chambers, which were underground structures with ceilings, the pit of burial 19 was shallow. The goods accompanying the buried male included a fragment of a dirham, folding scales and two weights, a bronze buckle, a knife, a fire-steel with flint, a pair of stirrups, a girth buckle, a horse bit, a battle ax and a handmade vessel. The composition of the grave goods, which is rare for Rus cemeteries, characterizes the buried person as a member of the elite, possibly associated with the performing of administrative and fiscal activities. The dating of burial 19 (the turn of the 10th–11th centuries – the first quarter of the 11th century) approximately corresponds to the chronicle events of 1024, the first mention of Suzdal,  associated with the “mutiny of the Magi” and the subsequent “setting of the land” by Yaroslav.

DOI: 10.31857/S0869606322040110