Kurgan Culture

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A general and long‐lived grouping of successive cultures, proposed by Marija Gimbutas as central to the development and spread of populations and material culture in the steppe regions of southern Russian and the Ukraine, and links beyond into eastern and central Europe. The main phases of the Kurgan Culture are differentiated on the basis of the different kinds of graves under the barrows. Thus: pit‐graves (Yamnaya), broadly dating to the period c.2400–1800 bc; catacomb‐graves (Katakombnaya) dating to c.2300–1800 bc; and timber‐graves (Scrubnaya) dating to c.1600–900 bc. The earliest of these focuses on the lower Volga region and is characterized by its contracted inhumation burials, which are commonly sprinkled with red ochre. The diffusion westwards of this culture is sometimes equated with the appearance in eastern Europe of corded ware and globular amphorae, and the introduction of Indo‐European‐speaking peoples.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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