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Karasuk Archeological Culture
1,000 BC - 500 BC

BERNSHTAM A.N.
from History of the Kyrgyz and Kyrgyzstan from most ancient times to the Mongolian conquest
from Bernshtam A.N. Selected works for archeology and history of Kyrgyzes and Kyrgyzstan

Bernshtam Alexander son of Nathan  (1910 Ц 1956) - Soviet archeologist, Doctor of Historical Sciences, leading and outstanding Türkologist now prominently absent from the Russian "Who is Who" lists and equally from the official Russian and some "Türkic" encyclopedias, he surveyed the Jeti-Su, Tian-Shan, Pamir, Altai, Fergana, developed a periodization of the archeological monuments of Central Asia from the 2 millennium BC to the 15th c. AD. Bernshtam's works address ethnogenesis, society, economy of the ancient nomadic peoples of the  Central Asia, and the history of art, culture, epigraphy and numismatics. Bernshtam's opponents blamed him for free-hand handling of the facts and dates, and a black mark of his biography was his possibly not too voluntary involvement in the Stalin's decimation of the country's best scientists, including outstanding archeologists, numismatists, ethnographers, and other undesirable ists and ers.

A.N. Bernshtam wrote at a time when ethno-racial concepts of the Hitler and Russian national-chauvinism type were still on the rise, the Indo-Europeans had Arians as their epitome, and held a patent on unstratified Indo-European Caucasians. Later, this type of scientific thought allowed division of the population into "ours" and "not ours", and homicidal deportation of "not ours". The ethno-racial values of his work is as outdated as are the Indo-European racial proclamations and citations of F.Engels on archeology, but the factual side has a great merit.

Translator's notes

The following excerpts from Chapter 1 of the A.N.Bernshtam's book give a good first-hand description of the Karasuk Archeological Culture, which, after it coalesced into a definitive concept, was claimed by both Indo-Iranists and Türkologists, with the Indo-European school dominating and mining the field until the embarrassing DNA results started trickling in, forcing a real dilemma: either concede that Indo-Europeans did not have a patent for a Caucasian built and high artistry, or admit the Uralics into the Indo-European linguistic family. Either option would rest on a non-existing foundation, so the most vocal proponents of the Indo-European concept, except for those who died out last century, are mum for now. In a global picture, the Karasuk Archeological Culture belongs to the eastern-most fringe of the Eurasian Kurgan Culture of the Eurasian steppes.

Periodization:

Afanasiev 2,500 -1,500 BC Kurgan Culture, settled or semi-settled, cattle breeding, domesticated sheep, bull and horse, subsistence hunting and fishing
Andronov 1,500 - 1,000 BC Kurgan Culture, settled and semi-nomadic cattle breeding, domesticated sheep, bull and horse
Karasük 1,000 BC - 500 BC Kurgan Culture, semi-nomadic, cattle breeding,
Tashtyk 200 BC - 200 AD Kurgan Culture, nomadic cattle breeding and settled agriculture

BERNSHTAM A.N.
History of the Kyrgyz and Kyrgyzstan from most ancient times to the Mongolian conquest
Chapter 1
Formation of cattle breeding economy in Yenisei and ethnogenesis of Dinlins

 
Karasuk Archeological Culture
1,000 BC - 500 BC
 

Karasuk

With the beginning of the 1st millennium BC the mutual relation between the culture of the Minusinsk steppes and the ways of its development have changed. The change is traced in the monuments of the so-called Karasuk type, named so after the r. Karasuk in the area of the village Bateney in the Minusinsk territory (37).

The continuity of the development of the Karasuk culture from the previous Afanasiev culture is clearly traced by the design of the kurgan and by the tiling of the tombs, though they are distinct, for example, with a rectangular fence of stone slabs staked vertically into the ground.

The over-the-tomb structure of the Karasuk type, as a rule, includes a single burial with the same type of inventory as in the Andronov monuments. The Karasuk type, however, stands out in the finesse of the finish and technique of the manufacture. Typical are spherical vessels with a convex bottom of very good craftsmanship and firing . Their surface was glossed, was sometimes painted and completely covered with a geometrical ornament, always in the top part of the vessel. Variety of forms and a character of the finish of the Karasuk type vessels obviously shows extraordinary technical skills of the masters, probably craft experts. The craftsmanship of the bronze also bares a character of artisanship, shown by a multitude of forms, and by a variety of their function and manufacturing technique. A special place have various forms of the knifes (38). The art of the bronze works also shows in the figurines of the animals, frequently decorating knife handles (39).

An extremely important step in the development of the Karasuk's economy was the use of cattle not only for meat production, but also for milk. Sheep became a main supplier of meat (40). Burials contain only its bones, while the dairy cattle probably was saved and not slaughtered for the burial of a relative. The ram, whose cultivation became almost a main form of economic activity, simultaneously becomes a cult animal documented by finds of its images carved in stone, frequently bound with image of the sun (41).

The image of the clan pra-mother also continues, this image (complete or a bust) is also observed on stone monuments (42). From the Minusinsk steppes come vessels for milking cattle, made in a form of an animal udder (43). All accessories of dairy farming were connected with women.

Abundance of meat and dairy produce, development of the economy as a whole, positively affected the growth of the population and its density. It is evidenced by numerous and compact clan cemeteries of the Karasuks,  within which the archeologists can precisely define separate individual structures corresponding to the family units. The growth of the role of separate patriarchal family and its property is connected with the appearance of the tamgas, i.e. the property marks (44) (A.N.Bernshtam, citing M.Gryaznov, testifies about appearance of tamgas in the Karasuk culture dated 1,000 BC - 500 BC  - Translator's Note).

The Karasuk culture covers the area of the Minusinsk steppes. In the central Kazakhstan (aul Dyndybay in the Karaganda area) (45) was investigated one Karasuk burial, and that one had specifically local features. The closest to the Minusinsk's Karasuk are similar monuments in the upper course of Ob and Tomsk with strongly pronounced local differences, leading archeologists to classify these monuments as distinct variations (Tomsk and Upper Ob) of the Karasuk culture (46).

This separation of the Karasuk stage from the territory occupied previously by the Andronov culture resulted from a shift of the centre of gravity of cultural connections to the east. The Karasuk type objects are found in the west not farther than Tomsk, and in the east and the south are found in the Tuva republic (47), in the basin of r. Selenga (48) and in China (49). In particular, the Karasuk knee knife originated the knife coins of China (50) (A.N.Bernshtam erroneously confused cause and effect, taking credit away from the Karasuk steppe people - Translator's Note).

We do not have materials to explain the reasons for disintegration of the Andronov union and the eastern "orientation" of the Karasuk. It is difficult to uncover the reasons in the materials of this preliterate period. Doubtlessly, however, that the connections between Southern Siberia and Central Asia that started to be clearly traced in the 3rd century BC did not arise accidentally, and they were preceded by a period of the first acquaintance (perhaps by a way of exchange) still in the 1,000 years before our era. The split of the Andronov tribal union marked by the Karasuk stage is linked with the formation of the Scythian culture west from the Minusinsk territory, and a Hunnish culture to the east couple of centuries later. To a certain extent the territory of the Minusinsk area, by virtue of its position and development of its culture and economy, was at some time a neutral strip, when there was developing the so-called Minusinsk Kurgan, or in other terminology, Tagar culture (Thus, the roots of all three, the Scythian, and Eastern Hun, and Tochar cultures are defined by A.N.Bernshtam both geographically and historically, as branching off of the Karasuk people from the area west of Yenisey, in the period from the 1,000 BC to 500 BC,  into Scythian, and Hun, and Tochar subgroups. The antique Huns of the Eastern Europe must have belonged to the Scythian branch. The Tocharian culture is defined as a parental culture of both the Scytho-Sakian and Eastern Hunnic peoples - Translator's Note).

It is telling that while in the Altai and Jeti-Su the iron was already firmly established as a commonplace, the bronze still dominates in the Minusinsk territory. The Minusinians were experiencing an influence of the western Scythian culture, and only with their inclusion in the system of the Great Hunnish State they occupy again, together with the Huns, a leading position in the historical process of that area. But before addressing that development comes a brief characteristic of the Minusinsk Kurgan culture.

Translator's notes
The following example, taken 11/20/2005 from Wikipedia, shows how pervasive the "Indo-Iranians" propaganda is. The "Indo-Iranians", none of which tribes were documented to ever build kurgans for their dead, are mentioned as "assumed", while the Türks, none of of which tribes were documented not to build kurgans, are not even mentioned. The source for the Wikipedia entry is highly esteemed J. P. Mallory, "Karasuk Culture", Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Next thing is to pronounce Uralics as indigenous slightly mongoloid "Indo-Iranians" and propagate this thesis through scholarly scientific discourses and encyclopedias. Note that "barrows" in the article is a codeword for kurgans. It is the kurgans that are known in every language that spans today the steppe zone from Danube to Mongilia, not "barrows".

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Karasuk culture

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karasuk
For the hypothetical language family called Karasuk, see Yeniseian languages or Burushaski

The Karasuk culture describes a group of bronze age societies who ranged from the Aral Sea to the upper Yenisei catchment, ca. 1500-800 BC. The remains are minimal and entirely of the mortuary variety. At least 2000 burials are known. The (pretentious) assumption is that local cultures merged with Indo-Iranians (Neither any Indo-, nor any Iranians ever had Kurgan burials or a cosmogonic concept requiring Kurgan-type burials. Indians have lactose intolerance, incompatible with millennia of dairy-based diet that grew uncounted generations of milk-and-meat grown cattlemen. Lactose intolerance must have come to Indians from Indo-Iranian times, i.e. non-differentiated Iranians had it too. Persians gained partial tolerance as they interbred with nomadic cattlemen genes - Translator's Note)

The economy was mixed agriculture and stockbreeding. Arsenical bronze artefacts are present.

They succeeded the Andronovo culture in this region and were farmers who primarily raised sheep. They also produced art with distinctively realistic animal depictions which may have developed into the later Scytho-Siberian artistic style.

Their settlements were of pit houses and they buried their dead in stone cists covered by barrows and surrounded by square stone enclosures. Industrially, they were skilled metalworkers, the diagnostic artifacts of the culture being a bronze knife with curving profiles and a decorated handle and horse bridles.

It is sometimes pointed to as a proto-Iranian speaking community; other times, no claims are made about its linguistic or ethnic character.

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Kurgan Culture
Gorny Altai 1-2 Millenium BC (Pazyryk)
N. Pontic Scythians 7 c. BC
From Huns to Bulgars 6 to 15-th c. AD
“юркский and European Genetic distance
Ogur and Oguz
Kurgan Afanasiev Culture 2,500 -1,500 BC
Kurgan Andronov Culture 1,500 - 1,000 BC
Kurgan Karasük Culture 1,000 BC - 500 BC
About Kurgans
Alan Dateline
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11/20/2005
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