MASCULINE WOMEN OR FEMININE MEN? WEAPON FINDS IN SARMATIAN FEMALE GRAVES OF THE GREAT HUNGARIAN PLAIN


Keywords: Sarmatian burials, Great Hungarian Plain, masculine, weapons, armed women.

Abstract

When building up a database of Sarmatian burials in the Great Hungarian Plain (Alfцld), that presently includes the complete material of 3949 burial features, we noticed some cases of the presence of typically «masculine» pieces of grave-goods in burials determined as female ones. The article deals with this phenomenon widely known in different cultures, observed in the burial rite. These are the findings of weapons or their fragments in female graves. It is difficult to determine the precise number of such burials in the case of the Alfцld Sarmatians because of the high number of looted burials and the inaccuracy of anthropological data. In this study, we collected five cases from four sites, among them the two largest published cemeteries (Madaras: arrowhead, Budapest-Pйceli ъt: arrowhead), and one under publication (Nyнregyбza-Felsősima-Gyebrбs-tanya: sword fragments in two graves) and two less-known grave groups (Szeged-Szőreg: sword fragment, Ъjszentivбn: sword fragment). We do not think that — usually with one exception — fragmented weapons found in female graves could have been used in their original function; nor do we connect this element of burial rite with the phenomenon of the armed women, the «Amazons» well-known in the barrows of the Volga-Ural region in the Sauromatian and Middle Sarmatian Age. These cases are very distant in time and space, however, some traces of archaic traditions cannot be completely excluded. Based on the material at our disposal, we would rather suggest the existence of the rite called the «transfer of objects to the otherworld» the analogies for which are known both in the archaeological — including Sarmatian (such a case was published by O. V. Symonenko from the elite burial of Vesnyanoe) — and ethnographical material.

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Published
2020-06-17
How to Cite
Istvánovits, E., & Kulcsár , V. (2020). MASCULINE WOMEN OR FEMININE MEN? WEAPON FINDS IN SARMATIAN FEMALE GRAVES OF THE GREAT HUNGARIAN PLAIN . Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 36(3), 360-366. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2020.03.23