Skull Deformation During the Iron Age in the Trans-Urals and Western Siberia

Svetlana Sharapova and Dmitry Razhev

in The Bioarchaeology of the Human Head

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780813035567
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041766 | DOI:
Skull Deformation During the Iron Age in the Trans-Urals and Western Siberia

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This chapter presents a bioarchaeological study of the widespread practice of skull deformation among the peoples of the Iron Age Sargat culture living in the forest-steppe region of the Trans-Urals and western Siberia. Archaeological investigation of the Sargat culture has yielded burial mounds (kurgans) containing the remains of males, females and juveniles, only few of whom display evidence of intentional cranial deformation. Skeletal and contextual analysis of the burials of this small group of individuals, dating to 100 bc to 300 ad, indicates that skull deformation among the Iron Age Sargat culture served as a marker of social status, signaling membership in a semi-nomadic privileged group that likely held greater social and/or political power than the majority of the population.

Keywords: circular cranial deformation; Iron Age; forest-steppe; Sargat culture; bioarchaeology; Kurgan; Trans-Urals; Siberia; social status

Chapter.  7055 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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