Okunev Culture

Okunev Culture


an archaeological culture of the first half of the second millennium B.C. (Bronze Age) in southern Siberia. Named after the Okunev ulus (settlement) in southern Kha-kassia, where the first burial ground of this culture was excavated by S. A. Teploukhov in 1928, the Okunev culture replaced the Afanasievo culture and preceded the Andronovo culture. It is represented by burial structures—small, rectangular surface enclosures made of stone slabs placed vertically into the ground. Within the enclosures were graves, also lined with stone slabs. The skeletons, of the Mongoloid anthropological type, were on their backs with legs bent at the knees.

Among the finds were lavishly decorated juglike and conical vessels; copper and bronze articles, including leaf-shaped knives, fishhooks, and temporal rings; and works of art—stone statues with human faces and images of birds and beasts engraved on bone plaques or hammered out on stone slabs. The chief occupation of the population was stock raising (cattle, sheep, and goats), supplemented by hunting and fishing. There were no significant indications of property and social stratification. The similarity between some of the objects from the Okunev burial grounds and objects found in sites in the vicinity of the middle Ob’ River and the Lake Baikal region suggests that the bearers of the Okunev culture came to southern Siberia from the northern taiga regions.


Istoriia Sibiri s drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei, vol. 1. Leningrad, 1968.