Karasuk culture

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Bronze Age

Near East (c. 3300–1200 BC)

Caucasus, Anatolia, Aegean, Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Elam, Sistan
Bronze Age collapse

South Asia (c. 3000–1200 BC)

Ochre Coloured Pottery
Cemetery H

Europe (c. 2300–600 BC)

Catacomb culture, Srubna culture, Beaker culture, Unetice culture, Tumulus culture, Urnfield culture, Hallstatt culture, Apennine culture
Atlantic Bronze Age, Bronze Age Britain, Nordic Bronze Age

China (c. 2000–700 BC)

Erlitou, Erligang

arsenical bronze
writing, literature
sword, chariot

Iron age

The Karasuk culture describes a group of Bronze Age societies who ranged from the Aral Sea or the Volga River to the upper Yenisei catchment, ca. 1500–800 BC, preceded by the Afanasevo culture.[1] The remains are minimal[clarification needed] and entirely of the mortuary variety. At least 2000 burials are known. The Karasuk period persisted down[clarification needed] to c. 700 BC. From c. 700 to c. 200 BC, culture developed along similar lines. Vital trade contact is traced from northern China and the Baikal region to the Black Sea and the Urals, influencing the uniformity of the culture.[2]

The economy was mixed agriculture and stockbreeding. Arsenical bronze artefacts are present.

Their settlements were of pit houses and they buried their dead in stone cists covered by kurgans and surrounded by square stone enclosures.

Industrially, they were skilled metalworkers, the diagnostic artifacts of the culture being a bronze knife with curving profiles and a decorated handle and horse bridles. The pottery has been compared to that discovered in Inner Mongolia and the interior of China, with bronze knives similar to those from northeastern China.[1]

It is generally believed that the culture has its origin in Mongolia, Northern China and Korea,[3] characterized by Altaic idioms.[4]

Other scholars[who?] have suggested a connection with the Yeniseian and Burushaski people, even suggesting a Karasuk languages group.

The Karasuk culture is preceded by the Afanasevo culture and Andronovo culture, and succeeded by the Tagar culture, whose people use the same burial places, indicating a continuity in settlements.[5]

Another possibility is that it was an early example of a Turkic culture and it perhaps could also be seen as a place of the first westward migration of early Turkic peoples.[6]


Ancient DNA extracted from the remains of two males who dated back to the Karasuk culture were determined to be of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a. Extracted mtDNA from two female remains from this cultural horizon revealed they possessed the Haplogroup U5a1 and U4 lineages. The study determined that the individuals had light hair and blue or green eyes.[7]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b home.earthlink.net/~waluk/Alekseev/Lecture13.doc
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ http://www.drummingnet.com/alekseev/Lecture13.doc
  4. ^ Gernot Wilhelm: Boğazköy-Texten, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2001, 246
  5. ^ Nejat Diyarbekirli in: Hasan Celāl Güzel, Cem Oğuz, Osman Karatay: The Turks: Early ages, Culture and Arts among Ancient Turks, Yeni Türkiye 2002, p.919
  6. ^ Elena Efimovna Kuzʹmina, J. P. Mallory: The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, BRILL, 2007, p.364: "According to M. P. Gryaznov (1952), Dandybay sites belong to the Karasuk culture. It is impossible to judge the ethnic identity of this population which might have come from Central Asia. But a supposition could ne be excluded that it was the first wave of the westward movement of the one of the proto-Turkic peoples."
  7. ^ [1] C. Keyser et al. 2009. Ancient DNA provides new insights into the history of south Siberian Kurgan people. Human Genetics.