Plasteeva N.   Tishkin A.A.   Sablin M.V.  

New results of archaeozoological research of horses from two mounds on the site of Pazyryk culture Tuekta (based on the materials excavated by S. I. Rudenko)

Reporter: Plasteeva N.

In 1954 S. I. Rudenko excavated burial complexes of the Pazyryk culture located in the Ursul river valley (Central Altai) near the village of Tuekta. Archaeological excavations were carried out on two large mounds with a stone embankment and eight horse skeletons were found in each mound. The chronological position of the mounds is still debatable. The osteological collection of horse remains from both mounds is stored in the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Saint Petersburg). All identified individuals of horses buried in the Tuekta-1 and Tuekta-2 mounds were stallions of medium height. Skeletal remains display no pathological changes or traumatic injuries. The individual age of horses was established for nine individuals. Two horses from Tuekta-1 burial were 5-15 years old and five individuals were older than 15 years old.  Two horses from Tuekta-1 burial were adult. The morphometric analysis of horse remains allows us to characterize horses buried in Tuekta mounds and compare them to animals from other Pazyryk mounds in the Altai region. Horses from Tuekta-1 and Tuekta-2 were smaller than horses found in elite Pazyryk burials and other archaeological complexes of the Pazyryk culture. This can be explained by specific selection of animals for ritual sacrifice, different treatment and handling of animals or their adaptation to local climate and landscape. New radiocarbon data and genetic analysis can provide understanding of this pattern.

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