CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A Bronze Age culture that succeeded the Andronovo culture in southern Siberia in the late 2nd millennium BC. The three main, basically successive, yet often overlapping cultures were the Afanasyevskaya, Andronovo, and Karasuk. The Karasukculture developed when a gradual change was made from settled communities to seasonal transhumance. Two settlements of large pit houses are known and many cemeteries of stone cists covered by a low mound and set in a square stone enclosure equipped with round-bottomed pots; many of these are in the Minusinsk Basin. The Karasuk people were farmers who concentrated on sheep- and cattle-breeding. They also practiced metallurgy on a large scale; the most characteristic artifact is a bronzeknife or dagger, with a curved profile and a decorated handle, related to China's An-Yang. They produced a realistic animal art, which probably contributed to the development of the later Sytho-Siberian animal art style. Remains of bridles mark the beginning of horse riding on the Siberian steppe. The character of their material culture came from exchange with the centers of Far Eastern metallurgy. The Karasukculture originated and spread its influences farther to western Siberia and Russian Turkistan than did the Andronovo. Trade relations extended to central Russia. Chronology of this period is based on comparisons with northern Chinese bronzes. The Karasukperiod persisted down to c 700 BC.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A culture of southern Siberia, between the Don and Yenisei Rivers, dating to the 2nd millennium BC. The culture was relatively uniform in this large area and agriculture played a large role. Wheat and millet were cultivated and cattle, horses, and sheep bred. The metal-using culture (ores from the Altai), which succeeded the Afansievo, lived in settlements of up to ten large log cabin-like semisubterranean houses. Bowl- and flowerpot-shaped vessels were flat-bottomed, smoothed, and decorated with geometric patterns, triangles, rhombs, and meanders. Burial was in contracted position either in stone cists or enclosures with underground timber chambers. The wooden constructions in rich graves may have designated social differentiation. The Andronovo complex is related to the Timber-Grave (Russian Srubna) group in southern Russia and both are branches of the Indo-Iranian cultural block. The Andronovo were the ancestors of Karasuk nomads who later inhabited the Central Asiatic and Siberian steppes.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: Culture in south Siberia in the region of Minusinsk c 700-200/100 BC. The Bronze Age Karasukculture was replaced by the Tagar culture, which endured until the 2nd century BC, producing an art of animal motifs related to that of the Scythians of southern European Russia. They also had broad daggers. On the Yenisey River, the Tagar culture was replaced by the Tashtyk culture, dating from the 1st-4th century AD.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Yenisey, Enisei CATEGORY: geography DEFINITION: River of Asia, one of the longest rivers on the continent, flowing from south to north across central Russia. The Yenisei valley has yielded much evidence of prehistoric occupation, including more than 50 Palaeolithic sites with radiocarbon dates ranging from c19,000-11,000 BC. Sites include Afontova Gora and Verkholenskaia Gora. The first food production appeared probably in the 3rd millennium BC and a series of Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures are known: Afanasievo, Andronovo, and Karasuk, followed by the Early Nomad period.