The Nomadic Component of the Middle Dnieper (Right Bank Ukraine) Population of Ancient Rus Time According to Anthropological Data

Keywords: Kievan Rus, Middle Dnieper, Slavonic peoples, nomads, anthropology.

Abstract

The relationship between the nomadic and Slavic population of the Middle Dnieper during Kievan Rus period was considered by historians, archaeologists and linguists.

The issue connected with the influence of nomads on the anthropological composition of the population formation in the region was considered poorly by anthropologists.

Anthropologists associated separate skulls with people from nomadic groups, the Caucasoid features of which were weakened (flattening of the facial skeleton). The number of such skulls at Christian burial grounds of the Middle Dnieper is insignificant.

However, among the nomad populations of Eastern Europe there were groups with pronounced Caucasoid features. These are primarily groups genetically related to the Caucasus.

In this work, craniological materials from 12 Ancient Rus series were considered in a wide range of groups that represent the nomadic peoples of Eastern Europe. The analysis included nomadic groups of steppe regions of Ukraine, the Caucasus, the Don region and the Volga region (V—XIII c.). Statistical processing of materials was carried out using the Systat software package.

For the Ancient Rus period, the biological presence of people who were genetically associated with the Alanian (Iranian-speaking) groups is recorded in this region. They dominate at two burial grounds out of 12. The Alans were a group with Caucasoid features. They were one of the components of the Saltovo-Mayakш culture population. Еру Alans are represented at the medieval burial grounds of the North Caucasus. Their physical presence is recorded at a number of Lower Dnieper burial grounds. The Alans (Jassy) could also be a part of the Chorni Klobuky Union.

Perhaps they were more ready to accept Christian ideas and that is why they were better integrated into the Slavic environment. All Turkic series turned out to be morphologically and statistically far removed from the Slavic groups of the Middle Dnieper (Right Bank Ukraine). This is especially true for Polovtsians and Pechenegs. For these groups of nomads, brachycrania (or a tendency towards it), large face sizes, and weakened profiling of the facial skeleton were typical.

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2019-12-26
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