THE ARTICLE DEDICATED TO THE RESEARCH OF THE MEDIEVAL MOUND NEAR THE VILLAGE TEPENYTSIA (to the Question of the Mounds with Stone Constructions at the Middle Dnieper Region)


  • А. V. Petrauskas Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
  • D. V. Bibikov Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
  • V. H. Ivakin Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
  • S. V. Pavlenko Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Keywords: Zhytomyr Polissya, Porossya, Ubort River, burial mounds, funeral rite, stone constructions, cromlech, creped, armor, cenotaph, inflatable burial, Old Russian time, Western Balts, Yotvingians, Dregoviches, Nomads.

Abstract

In the summer of 2015, Zhytomyr expedition conducted archaeological research at the burial mounds at the tract of Long Niva near the village Tepenitsa Olevsky district of Zhytomyr region. As a result, the burial with a stone construction under the embankment was explored and studied. The stone cover was discovered right after the turf layer and completely covered the embankment as if it was an armor. The construction consisted of granite fragments and pieces of quartzite and sandstone. At the bottom of the embankment were stone boulders of large size that became smaller at the top of burial. At the level of the mainland around the embankment placed small ditch that had a form of two arcuate sections. Remains of a skeleton or gravel pit in the burial mound was not discovered (cenotaph). Two large fragments of the potter’s pot was found on the sand pit in the central part of the embankment at the level of the ancient horizon. The practical absence of inventory does not allow date the archaeological complex clearly. A fragment of the pot can be attributed to two chronological periods: the end of IX — the first half of the X century or the second half of the XIII — XIV centuries.

The stone constructions in the burial mounds are not inherent for Old Russian time in Ukraine. Stone fixt only in slightly more than 1 % of all investigated burial mounds. The discovery of such rare complex forced the authors refer to the history of research of this type of monuments on the territory of Ukraine. In the Middle Dnieper area, burial mounds with stone structures are located in two regions: on the territory of Zhytomyr Polissya (Ubort river basin, Slovechansko-Ovruch ridge) and in Porossya.

The burial groups in Zhytomyr region were explored by the excavations of Ya. V. Yarotsky (1902), O. A. Fotinsky (1904), M. B. Shchukin (1976), B. A. Zvizdetsky (1988, 1996—1999), the exploration of V. O. Misiats (1961, 1978), A. P. Tomashevsky and S. V. Pavlenko (1996, 2006, 2013). There are 18 gravediggers with stone burial mounds on this territory currently. 42 burial mounds were excavated (more than 300 known). At the 29 burial complexes were fixed stones fragments. These sights don’t occupy a separate compact area and located next to burial mounds consisting exclusively of mounds with simple earthen embankments. Only at the 7 necropolises majority burial mounds contains stones. On other monuments such burial mounds was few. Different methods of using stones have been recorded in investigated burial mounds. Often different variants of stone designs are fixed in one monument. Different kinds of stone were used for constructions: sandstone, granite, quartzite. In burial mounds with stone structures under the embankment are fixed various types of burial ceremony (cremation on the site, cremation on the side, inhumation on the horizon, inhumation in undermount pits, cenotaph). The ritual is accompanied by typical Slavic equipment. The earliest complexes are dated by the X century, the most recent are the second half of the XIII century.

Stone barrows Porossya are known since the middle of the nineteenth century (about 500 individual complexes was fixet). They were discovered by V. B. Antonovych (70s of XIX century), T. M. Movchanivsky (1928), V. Ye. Kozlovskaya (30s of the XX century), R. S. Orlov and P. M. Pokas (1986, 1988). 9 burial mounds with stone constructs under the embankment are known on the territory of Porossya. 78 monuments have been investigated at 5 a monuments, 37 of them — with stone crepes (the structure was mostly fixed in the of circle form of boulders, which engird the embankment). The burial ceremony and accompanying equipment are typical for Slavic monuments.

There are two main hypotheses about the origin of this type of monuments. According to the first, the stone structures in the mounds are a purely practical tradition of local people, which arose in the territories characterized by significant presence of the stone (O. A. Fotinsky, V. B. Antonovych, A. V. Petrauskas). According to the second hypotheses, use of a stone is a tradition of the Slavic alien population. Ya. V. Yarotsky considered that this is a memorial of the Dregovichi burial mounds of Zhytomyr Polissya, Western Balts (Yotvingians) — I. P. Rusanova, B. A. Zvizdetsky, A. P. Tomashevsky, mixed Baltic-Dregoviches population — V. V. Sedov and A. P. Motsia. The tradition of using stones in the burial mounds of Porosyya was explained by the borrowing of the elements of the burial ceremony of the nomads S. V. Shamray, I. P. Rusanovа and O. P. Motsia. Influenced by the coming population from the western and northern territories of Old Rus — L. I. Ivanchenko. Some researchers have ruled out both hypotheses.

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2019-03-25
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PetrauskasА. V., Bibikov, D. V., Ivakin, V. H., & Pavlenko, S. V. (2019). THE ARTICLE DEDICATED TO THE RESEARCH OF THE MEDIEVAL MOUND NEAR THE VILLAGE TEPENYTSIA (to the Question of the Mounds with Stone Constructions at the Middle Dnieper Region). Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 30(1), 75-95. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2019.01.08