The Mariupol culture also known as Mariupol-type cemeteries was a transitional culture of the Neolithic and Eneolithic (Copper Age), during the second half of the 5th millennium BCE at the Sea of Azov and neighbouring regions along the rivers Dnieper, Don, Oril', Chir and Crimean peninsula, reaching as far as North Caucasus and Kuban Region as well as river Volga. The final stages of this culture are described as the Post-Mariupol culture. The Post-Mariupol culture was superseded by Sredny Stog culture.
In older works, it is referred to as a part of wider Dnieper-Donetsk culture also known as the Mariupol type cultures.
D. Ya. Telegin, an expert on Neolithic and Eneolithic Eastern Europe, states that the Mariupol-type cemeteries seem to have had their origins in the late Mesolithic and endured into the Copper Age: a period of more than two thousand years (c. 6500–4000 cal BC). They were primarily fisher-hunter-gatheres familiar with livestock through exchange or pastoralism. In terms of biological anthropology, Mariupol remains appear to be Caucasoid and physically larger than their contemporaries.
In 1930, on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR, near the town of Mariupol, on the shores of the Kalmius river, archaeologist M. Makarenko unearthed a burial site. Distinctive ochre painting was visible on surface of naturally raised area over surrounding marshlands. Makarenko uncovered 122 burials in what seemed to be one trench used as community grave, where younger bodies were added to the older one with respect, what created theory of possible accessibility of grave construction over the time (roof?). The position of the bodies was extended supine with a southeast or northwest orientation.
Numerous stone tools including microliths, flint axes, bone beads, necklaces of animal teeth, boar-tusks, bone tutuli and other objects of bone. Ceramics is usually lacking.
Mariupol culture sites
- Basic facts in English
- The chronology of the Mariupol-type cemeteries of Ukraine re-visited. (by D.Ya. Telegin & co.) Antiquity, June 2002.
- Settlement and economy in Neolithic Ukraine: a new chronology. (by D.Ya. Telegin & co.) Antiquity, September 2003.
- Neolithic cultures of the Ukraine and adjacent areas and their chronology.(by D.Ya. Telegin) Journal of World Prehistory, 1987.