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Karasuk
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 Karasuk culture 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 bronze knife 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 Karasuk culture 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 Karasuk period persisted down to c 700 BC.

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