Tagar culture

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The Tagar culture (Russian: Тагарская культура) was a Bronze Age archeological culture which flourished between the 8th and 2nd centuries BC in South Siberia (Republic of Khakassia, southern part of Krasnoyarsk Territory, eastern part of Kemerovo Province). The culture was named after an island in the Yenisei River opposite Minusinsk. The civilization was one of the largest centres of bronze-smelting in ancient Eurasia.

The Tagar culture was preceded by the Karasuk culture.[1][2][3] The Tagars have been described by researchers Europoid features.[2] They lived in timber dwellings heated by clay ovens and large hearths. Some settlements were surrounded by fortifications. They made a living by raising livestock, predominantly large horned livestock and horses, goats and sheep. Harvest was collected with bronze sickles and reaping knives.[citation needed] The Tagar produced animal art motifs (Scythian art) very similar to the Scythians of southern European Russia.[2][3] Perhaps the most striking feature of the culture are huge royal kurgans fenced by stone plaques, with four vertical stelae marking the corners. The Tagar culture was succeeded by the Tashtyk culture.[2][3]

In 2009, a genetic study of ancient Siberian cultures, the Andronovo culture, tha Karasuk culture, the Tagar culture and the Tashtyk culture, was published in Human Genetics.[2] Twelve indiduals of the Tagar culture from 800 BC to 100 AD were surveyed.[2] Extractions of mtDNA from ten individuals were determined to represent three samples of haplogroup T3, one sample of I4, one sample G2a, one sample of C, one sample of F1b and three samples of H (including one sample of H5).[2] Extractions of Y-DNA from six individuals were all determined to be of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a1, which is thought to mark the eastward migration of the early Indo-Europeans.[2] All individuals except from one mixed race individual were determined to be Europoid, with the majority being light-eyed and light haired.[2]

In 2018, a study of mtDNA from remains of the Tagar culture was published in PLOS One. Remains from the early years of the Tagar culture were found to be closely related to those of contemporary Scythians on the Pontic steppe. The authors of the study suggested that the source of this genetic similarity was an eastwards migration of West Eurasians during the Bronze Age, which probably played a role in the formation of the Tagar culture.[4]


  1. ^ Di Cosmo, Nicola (April 22, 2004). Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521543828. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Keyser, Christine; Bouakaze, Caroline; Crubézy, Eric; Nikolaev, Valery G.; Montagnon, Daniel; Reis, Tatiana; Ludes, Bertrand (May 16, 2009). "Ancient DNA provides new insights into the history of south Siberian Kurgan people". Human Genetics. 126 (3): 395–410. doi:10.1007/s00439-009-0683-0. PMID 19449030.
  3. ^ a b c "Neolithic and Metal Age cultures". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  4. ^ Pilipenko, Aleksandr S. (September 20, 2018). "Maternal genetic features of the Iron Age Tagar population from Southern Siberia (1st millennium BC)". PLOS One. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0204062.