Koban Culture

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Koban Culture


an archaeological culture in the central part of the northern Caucasus dating from the transitional period between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age (1000 B.C.-500 B.C.). The culture was named after a group of bronze artifacts found in 1869 near the village of Koban in northern Ossetia. Remains of the Koban culture (burial grounds and settlements) have been found from the upper Kuban’ River to Dagestan. Typical artifacts of the culture include gracefully shaped bronze axes, belt buckles, fibulae, bracelets, and arm helices decorated with geometric designs and representations of animals, as well as pottery with geometric designs and stucco decorations.

The burial grounds in the high-mountain zone consist of cists, while those in the foothills have stone graves edged by cobblestones. The items found in the graves include weapons (daggers), horse harnesses, various ornaments, and bronze vessels.

It has been established that the Koban culture is of local origin. Three local variants have been distinguished, and three stages of its development have been outlined. The late stage (seventh to the fourth centuries B.C.) is characterized by the predominance of iron articles and the introduction of Scythian-type objects. The culture is typified by the high level of development of the stock-raising and farming tribes, the presence of highly developed copper metallurgy, and extensive intertribal ties between the bearers of the Koban culture and Scythia, Transcaucasia, and Southwest Asia. The remains of the Koban culture abound in masterpieces of applied art and are extremely important sources for the study of the culture of the remote ancestors of the numerous peoples of the northern Caucasus.


Krupnov, E. I. Drevniaia istoriia Severnogo Kavkaza. Moscow, 1960. Pages 77–109. (Bibliography.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.