AnthropoZoomorphic Shaman Buckles of Transitional Period from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age

Keywords: Anthropozoomorphic figured buckles, Dnieper-Don Babynska culture, Lolinska culture, Shagar culture, Galich shaman treasure, transitional period from Middle to the Late Bronze Age.

Abstract

The article is dedicated to discussions with R. O. Mymokhod on the issue connected with the genesis and semantics of anthropozoomorphic figured buckles of the transitional period from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age of southern Europe that were discovered in burials. The author focuses on the semantics of figured buckles of the Dnieper-Don Babynska (DDBC) and Lolinska archaeological cultures. He argues that these buckles are anthropozoomorphic, and not anthropomorphic, as R. O. Mymokhod considers. The attention is paid to the maskoid character of Lolinska culture figured buckles, which links these artifacts to the performance of shamanic practices by the deceased. The specificity of the DDBC figured buckles is in the combination of a headless torso of a human with zoomorphic pedestal-bucranium. Two buckles of this type were found in the Shagar burial ground of Meshchyora lakes (Riazan region, the Russian Federation). The torso of one of them was decorated with a carved bird’s head. The author proves that bronze idols from the Galich shaman treasure (Kostromskaya region, the Russian Federation) were used as buckles — an element of shamanic clothing. Analogies have been drawn from the practice of Siberian shamanism. The author points out that the manifestations of shamanism along the Seim-Turbino (Galich treasure) — Shagara — Lola — DDBC belong to the early phase of the transitional period from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age (XXII—XX c. BC).

Such a conclusion is supported by the calibrated radiocarbon dating of the corresponding complexes. In general, the group of figured DDBC buckles is sufficiently homogeneous, and while determining their semantics it is necessary to take into account the heredity of ceremonial and ideological traditions of Trypillia and Yamna communities, considering a certain “Yamna culture renaissance” during the transitional period from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age. The alternative view of the DDBC and Lola cultures buckles semantics does not in any way diminish the value of interesting observations, the analogies listed, and the conclusions of the R. O. Mymokhod article under disscussion.

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2019-12-26
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