a Bronze Age archaeological culture of the first half of the second millennium B.C., widespread from the Baltic Region to the Volga-Kama Region.
Centered in the Volga-Oka interfluve, the culture was named after a burial ground near the village of Fat’ianovo in Danilov Raion, Yaroslavl Oblast. Several local variants have been identified, including the Upper Volga, the Moscow-Kliaz’ma, and the Middle Volga Balanovo variants.
The principal remains are flat-grave burial grounds. These were clan cemeteries, generally located on hills. The dead were buried in a flexed position in special structures made of wood, birchbark, and twigs; the men were placed chiefly on their right side with the head pointing toward the west, and the women were placed on their left side with the head pointing toward the east. Many different articles were placed in the graves: weapons, such as perforated stone axes, copper axes, spears, and arrows; tools made of stone, bone, and sometimes copper, such as wedge-shaped axes, knives, scrapers, awls, pins, needles, chisels, and hoes; ornaments, such as necklaces made of teeth, bird bones, shells, and amber; and many clay vessels. The vessels were spherical, decorated with incised and stamped designs; solar symbols were included on the bottom. The bones of domestic and wild animals were also found in the graves, evidently the remains of food. The primary occupations of the tribes of the Fat’ianovo culture were the raising of hogs, sheep, cattle, and horses, and possibly land cultivation; to a lesser extent, the tribes engaged in hunting, fishing, and gathering. Copper metallurgy was developed.
It is conjectured that the Fat’ianovo culture, whose bearers were of the Europoid anthropological type, originated in the Dnieper-Vistula interfluve. The culture was part of a vast cultural-historical community—the Battle-axe cultures and Corded-ware cultures—the ancestors of the Slavs and the Baltic and Germanic tribes. The tribes of the Fat’ianovo culture had a patriarchal clan structure. The graves of clan elders were distinguished by their size and wealth of goods. The tribes practiced ancestor worship, bear worship, and sun worship.
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Krainov, D. A. Drevneishaia istoriia Volgo-Okskogo mezhdurech’ia: Fat’ianovskaia kul’tura Iltys. do n. e. Moscow, 1972.
Denisova, R. Ia. Antropologiia drevnikh baltov. Riga, 1975.
D. A. KRAINOV