RESEARCH METHODS FOR THE WOMEN’S BURIES WITH WEAPONS ON THE EXAMPLE OF THE SARMATIAN BURIAL GROUND «NOVY»


Keywords: women, weapons, Sarmatians, methods, control group, semantics, ritual, utilitarian.

Abstract

The universal methodology for the study of nomadic female burials with weapons is proposed in the paper. The methodology is based on a comparative analysis of female burials containing weapons with the control group which are synchronous male burials of the corresponding burial ground. The comparative analysis is carried out according to the following criteria: the set of weapons, the type of each individual weapon, and also the place of fixation. If most of the signs coincide, then the female burial is recognized as military (utilitarian function). If deviations are predominantly detected, then the semantics of the weapon are recognized as ritual.

To demonstrate the operability of the technique, the large Sarmatian burial ground «Novy» on the Lower Don was selected. As a result, 2 out of 23 female burials were confidently recognized as military, which is 8.6 % of the total female population included in the sample, and 4.5 % of all military burials. Whereas among 44 men there were 35 soldiers, which is 85.3 %. For this group, the percentage of female warriors turned out to be quite high, but, of course, the marker of aggressiveness of the male population is significantly higher than the female. It should be recognized that the vulnerability of the methodology is the quality problem of the control group itself. That is, whether all male burials containing weapons should be considered military.

The important observation is the fact that in two of the three burials, women were buried with infants. Thus, it cannot be ruled out that participation in hostilities did not block the possibility of motherhood from a woman. On the other hand, the assumption involuntarily arises whether the placement of weapons in a female burial is connected with the death of her and her child. Moreover, four female burials with infants containing weapons did not fall into the sample due to the fact that they were robbed.

The author is fully aware that the proposed study is not the last true in the issue of the semantics of weapons in the female burials of nomads. Many aspects still raise questions. It is possible that if modern researchers will accept the proposed methodology positively, then over time, with the advent of new facts, the spread of genetic research, the work will become only a historiographic link. And this is a completely natural process in any scientific field. The issue of the semantics of weapons in female burials, the issue of the participation of women in hostilities is extremely complex and controversial. It must be understood that if the study is gender-based, it is almost impossible to completely exclude the personal preferences of the study itself. These are creative questions, but if there is a universal methodology, there is an opportunity to circumvent the threat of subjective influence. A universal technique will allow for a qualitative comparative analysis. It is necessary to completely withdraw from the intuitive level.

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Published
2020-05-10
How to Cite
Shevchenko, E. B. (2020). RESEARCH METHODS FOR THE WOMEN’S BURIES WITH WEAPONS ON THE EXAMPLE OF THE SARMATIAN BURIAL GROUND «NOVY». Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 36(3), 367-374. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2020.03.24