Catacomb Culture

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Catacomb Culture


an archaeological culture of the early Bronze Age widespread in the first half and third quarter of the second millennium B.C. in the area north of the Black Sea and in the Lower Volga Region. The culture was differentiated in the early 20th century by V. A. Gorodtsov. The bearers of the Catacomb culture were a group of related tribes, in origin related to the tribes of the Pit-Grave (Iamnaia) culture, which inhabited the same territory in the third millennium B.C. Clan settlements and mound burials are typical of the Catacomb culture. The dead were buried in catacombs beneath mounds; they were interred in a flexed position on their sides and were sprinkled with red coloring symbolizing fire. Items found in the graves include decorated clay ware, marked with cord stamps (the nature of the designs makes it possible to include the Catacomb culture in the broader range of the Corded-ware culture), stone and bronze implements and weapons, and bone and bronze ornaments. The tribes of the Catacomb culture engaged in stock-raising and agriculture and knew the metallurgy of copper and bronze. They bartered with the surrounding tribes, particularly with those of the Caucasus, and through them were linked with Southwest Asia, Iran, and Egypt. In the tribes of the Catacomb culture, the matriarchal family was replaced by the patriarchal and the prerequisites for property differentiation arose (the burials of chieftans and tribal elders are distinguished by a richer inventory). By the end of the third quarter of the second millennium B.C., the tribes of the Catacomb culture had been supplanted by the tribes of the Timberframe (Srubnaia) culture which had moved up from the Middle Volga Region.


Popova, T. B. “Plemena katakombnoi kul’tury.” In the collection Tr. Gosudarstvennogo istoricheskogo muzeia, issue 24. Moscow, 1955.
Klein, L. S. “Novye dannye o khronologicheskikh vzaimootnosheniiakhiamnoi i katakombnoi kul’tur.” Vestnik LGU: Seriia istorii iazyka iliteratury, 1960, issue 4, no. 20.