The aim of this article is to highlight the social and cultural developments that took place in the Southern Caucasus during the Early Bronze Age. Between 3500 and 2500 BC ca., new pottery, architectural and metallurgical traditions, known collectively as Kura-Araxes, new settlement forms in the mountain regions and new funerary customs emerged. Examining these changes, the article draws a picture of the organization of the Early Bronze Age communities in the Southern Caucasus societies centering primarily on the household and horizontal kinship relationships. We argue that this model was radically different from those of the vertically organized societies of Southern Mesopotamia and Northern Caucasus. Finally, the paper focuses on the changing role of metals towards the mid-third millennium BC and that, by causing radical social transformations, also brought to an end the Kura-Araxes traditions.
This chapter surveys cultural developments in the European part of the Russian Federation. Geographically this landscape varies from coniferous forests in the north, to steppe and semi-desert in the south, the Urals forming a natural eastern border to Europe. Chronologically the chapter covers the period from 900/800 BC through to the Great Migration of the third/fourth centuries AD. Although the pace of technological advance varied in different regions, the transition to iron was everywhere accompanied by the formation of new cultural and social types. Three principal cultural spheres existed: (1) the nomadic world, which greatly influenced Iron Age cultural and social developments elsewhere; (2) the forest cultures of the upper and middle Volga, Oka, and Dvina rivers; and (3) the world of Cis-Ural forest zone. Their major technological, economic, social, political, and ideological components are analysed, together with internal and interregional interactions and movements.
Mietje Germonpré and Mikhail Sablin
This chapter focuses on the mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) and large canid (wolf (Canis lupus) and/or dog (Canis familiaris)) assemblages recorded at Upper Palaeolithic sites from the Russian Plain and Siberia. It accordingly pursues the following questions: (1) Is the mammoth ubiquitously found in the Upper Palaeolithic sites of Russia?, (2) Are large canids as often present at Siberian sites as they are at sites from the Russian Plain? and (3) Could the high frequency of the mammoth remains in several Upper Palaeolithic assemblages be due to hunting by prehistoric humans? Finally, this essay underlines the need for further studies in this area.