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Origin of the Alans
"And as you know, the word for "horse" is absent in the Tocharian language."

I promise I'll wait for your next post from now on, but this I'll respond to: There is a Tocharian word for "horse".
yakwe (Toch B), yuk (Toch A), reconstructed PToch yä́kwë
(as are other words related to horsemanship: saddled, hoof, horse seller, wild horse, little horse...)
Jan Pospisil - fantasy/historical/archaeology illustration
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(08-24-2016, 06:59 AM)Merlkir Wrote: "And as you know, the word for "horse" is absent in the Tocharian language."

I promise I'll wait for your next post from now on, but this I'll respond to: There is a Tocharian word for "horse".
yakwe (Toch B), yuk (Toch A), reconstructed PToch yä́kwë
(as are other words related to horsemanship: saddled, hoof, horse seller, wild horse, little horse...)

Thanks for the come-back. I had checked Pullyblank and Mallory (1989) and couldn't find Tocharian for "horse." But to quote Rett Butler in the 1939 film, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Or better still, Abraham Lincoln, "Some Yuezhi spoke Tocharian some of the time, but not all Yuezhi spoke Tocharian all of the time." I'll go with Lincoln. At this time of year, I work 10-hour shifts; and between them I need to eat and sleep... which doesn't leave much time for RAT.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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The Generals from The North, Part 2

This post adds to previous ones:
Post #61; Clan of the White Ram, elite burial of a State of Yan officer from the Loufan tribe.
Posts #75 & 76; the Argali Charioteers
and Post #92; the 176 BC letter from Modun to Emperor Wen, as the Shanyu describes various Yuezhi tribes conquered by his Right Hand General-- "the Loufan, Wusun, Hujeie, and their [the Yuezhi's other] 26 states have become the territory of the Xiongnu."

By studying the Loufan tribe, we find valuable hints to the origin of the Yuezhi. An important paper on this subject was written (in broken English and Chinese) by A.A. Kovalev, St. Petersberg, 2009, "The Location of Loufan Tribe in 4-2 Century B.C. and Influence of Its Culture to the Culture of Central Plain and the South." Kovalev not only documents the location of the "inner" Loufan but also shows dozens of Animal-style artifacts only found in two cultures-- the Loufan and Pazyryks. I'll cover Kovalev's documentation of the "later" Loufan in a near future post.

But first, can we actually find a specific origin of the Loufan? Perhaps, if we look to Bronze Age China during the rein of King Wuding and his famous general Fu Hao. We find this assessment by Anthony J. Barbieri-Low and Emma Bunker: "She [Bunker] proposes that the Shang acquired the chariot through a marriage alliance to a non-Chinese group to the northwest. Fu Hao, one of several consorts to the Shang king, was a warrior queen and, according to the interpretation of her name as a toponym, a native of a non-Chinese group. Perhaps she brought the chariot to court as her dowry. Her tomb certainly contains many artifacts such as mirrors, animal-style knives, and bow-shaped objects [rein holders] which were imported from or influenced by the culture of the Northern Zone. Regardless of exactly how it was given, I concur with Bunker that the chariot was probably given to the Shang kings as part of an amicable exchange with a... group to the northwest." (Barbieri-Low, p. 47, Wheeled Vehicles in the Chinese Bronze Age, Sino-Platonic Papers, No. 99, Feb. 2000)

   
The chariot and Fu Hao arrived in Anyang at precisely the same time; no chariots are found earlier than her lifetime and that of King Wuding. The Anyang chariot burials also contain artifacts not mentioned by Barbieri-Low, such as this Karasuk-styled knife. Its finial can only be described as belonging to the Clan of the White Ram.

If my eyes are seeing correctly, Fu Hao's tribe would be the Loufan, straight from the Altai, and the rivers Irtish and Ob, with its neighboring Karasuk Culture. Perhaps, then, the Loufan were products of the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon, a rapidly spreading technological over-layment upon the westward [then southward] expansion of the Andronovo Culture (which gave us the chariot). We're looking at 1,200 B.C., roughly the same time we find chariot petroglyphs below the Altai foothills. These bronze knives are almost identical to Karasuk examples, but their finials feature male sheep-- not deer, or horses, or whatever-- but rams in the earliest form of known "Scythian Animal Style."  

I hope this is something to think about. These knives are found in the Minusinsk Basin within the Karasuk area. But they are also found in the Ordos and down to Anyang; in other words, the geographical location settled by the Loufan, a pastoral tribe which also practiced agriculture. Rather than fight the Shang, the Loufan made a deal which, in fact, affected the future of China. Fu Hao may have been the first General from the North. But her short lifetime was the beginning of a tradition; and future dynasties, the Zhou, Qin, and Han, all employed Loufan generals. To be continued, but here's another bronze knife from Anyang:

   
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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The Generals from The North, Part 3

As mentioned in the post above, I believe Fu Hao was the first recorded Northern General of the Loufan tribe. That she was not Chinese can be seen in the location of her tomb, which was not in the hereditary royal complex but located across the river in an isolated spot. It's believed she died after King Wuding, and the succeeding brother "distanced" her from the family burial ground.

In Chinese society, Fu Hao was unique. Female military leaders are an exception, actually in all cultures, and their appearance is rare. We all know about Tomyris, widow of a Massagetae king, who then went on to lead her people against Cyrus the Great. We find the same thing after the death of the last Yuezhi king to live adjacent to the Chinese border. The "Old Shanyu" (successor of Modun) turned the king's skull into a drinking cup. Actually, the king's death was the beginning in a new chapter of Yuezhi history as his surviving wife led the federation's migration westward. We don't know her name, but it's reasonable to refer to her as "Fu Jen Wushi."

She was either pregnant or had an infant son. The Zurcher translation of the Shi Ji states... "and they [the Yuezhi] had set up his consort as king," while we find this in the Han Shu (Chap. 61, 2A), "and they set up his principal consort as their king." This same passage in the Hulsewe and Loewe version reads, "The king of Da Yuezhi had been killed by the nomads, and his wife [from Chinese, fu jen] had been established as king, having subjugated Daxia she reigned over it." It's Tomyris-styled deja vu all over again! All I'm saying is that Fu Hao, plus "Fu Jen-Wushi," and Tomyris were cut from tha same cloth... and it wasn't Chinese silk. Additionally, there's an absence of recorded Western Scythian women of powerful status, let alone a general.

So where and when did this sort of martial arts female General come from? Here's an interesting Russian map depicting the spread of Sima-Turbino technology. Such technology could only have been spread by physical contact through trade or by migration. I think it was a combination of both. The map shows the point of origin, the Altai and just northwest of it, and then documents the "spread" down into China, specifically the areas between Qin (in the west) and both Yan and Qi in the east. This is precisely where the Loufan are recorded, although later when we have textural evidence.

   
We see Seima-Turbino bronze, such as the Karasuk-Anyang sheep-headed knives (aka Loufan), originating in Minusinsk to the Altai c. 14th century BC, then moving down into China from the 13th to 8th centuries BC. This places the cultural origin, not only of sheep-headed knives, but also the personages of Fu Hao and Fu Jen-Wushi.

I'm taking a break, and I really would welcome any comments. Is this scenario, based on cultural affinities and precise analogies in art-forms, a viable deduction? We can move forward into the historical era  and find Loufan generals leading chariot formations from the Spring and Autumn period straight through the Warring States era, and into the Qin-to-Han years. This will be covered in an upcoming post. Thank you.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
I was going to say the Karasuk don't fit, since I thought they were considered a non-IE culture, but turns out I remembered that wrong. The current proposed identity is PIE with heavy local Yenisean influence. Huh.

It's almost scary how everything I'm working on is starting to connect. Big Grin (we use some aspects of Karasuk artifacts as reference for a videogame I'm doing artwork for, and I previously researched Fu Hao and her steppe origin for my graphic novel)

Keep it up, I guess! I'll try and sneak in those inconvenient proto-Tocharians in there somewhere.
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Reading Jeannine Davis-Kimball's "Warrior Women", she talks about excavations of a stone house at Barkol, which she relates to the Kangjiashimenji petroglyph culture:

"When Wang Bing-Hua excavated the house, he found about thirty skeletons lying on the floor and among the artifacts were two very large bronze cauldrons of the precise style used by the nomadic Yueh Chich. This confederacy has occupied this region from the fifth to the third century BC before they were driven eastward (I guess a typo here) by the Hsiun-nu..."

Sadly I wasn't able to find anything about this dig at Barkol, or what the supposedly Yuezhi-defining bronze cauldrons were supposed to be.
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That's interesting, and again it shows a "Yuezhi" presence. I've discovered more about the Northern Zone, downloading three articles by Nicola De Cosmo from my academia.edu group. Enlarging the Fu Hao story, she was a collector of antiquities, principally jade, and had 775 pieces dating back to the Honshu Culture. Chinese writers claim all of the jade came from Khotan, but certain pieces of the raw material obviously arrived from the north. Look at this.

   
This doesn't look like Honshu but more like contemporary Shang. It's white jade, but has imperfections-- filled with black specks and spots. Jade like this originated in the Eastern Sayan mountains.

   
On a map, we can see the Eastern Sayan was adjacent to the Minusinsk Basin and its Karasuk and Okunev cultures, both connected to the formation of the Sibero-Scythians, aka the Yuezhi, Pazyryks, and Loufan. I'll do more reading on the Northern Zone. Also an article on the tomb of a Chinese craftsman who made bronzes for the Loufan. These buckles and pieces of horse tack have been described as originating in the Ordos, and a number of the commonly displayed ones are in the Peter the Great Collection. Wink
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
I did some digging, hoping to identify which cauldrons Davis-Kimball considered to be specifically "Yuezhi". Unfortunately, either I'm missing something not in the literature I have, or I'm not connecting the dots properly. 

Or, which is likely, the "Yuezhi" cauldrons look nearly identical to the ones generally referred to as "Scythian". (or, I would assume Scytho-Siberian) These ones, pretty much: 

[Image: sougen13.mei.fig2.jpg]

These specifically are finds from Xinjiang, but if you go through "Nomads of the Eurasian Steppes in the Early Iron Age" (http://www.csen.org/Pubs_Sales_Reviews/N...9-00-2.pdf), you'll see plenty of very similar ones from Kazakhstan and further to the west.
In literature, these are sometimes called the "type I and II". (type III being quite different, what is commonly called the "hunnic cauldron")

Some interesting bits surfaced, nonetheless. From:

The Metal Cauldrons Recovered in Xinjiang, Northwest China
Quote:"So far more than two dozens of metal cauldrons have been found in Xinjiang, and most of them can be dated to the mid-first millennium BC (Table 1). Except for two examples that were found in the mountain areas of southern Xinjiang, the majority of cauldrons were recovered in the areas north of the Tian Shan mountains, such as Yili, Balikun and Altai."
Quote:the Type I cauldrons from Xinjiang are comparable in form to those found in North China, Mongolia and southern Siberia, which have been dated roughly to the 8th-4th centuries BC (Liu 1987: 62; Chlenova 1994: 506; Takahama 1994:1-6). The dates for the Xinjiang specimens are likely within a similar chronological range, only the cauldron with a pierced stand from Fuyun in Altai (Fig. 2: 2) should be considered within a later date.
Third, the cauldrons of Type II and Type IV typologically resemble those found in the Semirechiye region in Kazakhstan and Kirghizia, which have been attributed by Russian scholars to the Saka culture of the 7th-4th centuries BC (Akishev & Kushayev 1963: 111) or 5th-3rd centuries BC (Bernshtam 1949: 353-4, 1952: 47). This resemblance suggests that the Xinjiang specimens could probably be considered within the Saka context and dated to the 7th-3rd centuries BC. Among the Type II cauldrons, the one from Biliuhe in Qitai is worthy of special attention. It is featured with a pair of "three-legs" handles standing horizontally on the shoulder (Fig. 3: 5). Cauldrons with this characteristic design of handles were also recovered in southern Siberia. It seems very probable that the Xinjiang specimen was related to those similar pieces in southern Siberia in some way.
Quote:The identification of Cu-As-Sb alloy points to the connection with southern Siberia. It has also been suggested that most of Xinjiang cauldrons were cast in piece-molds and the technology most likely originated in northern China.


And a few bits from "The Origin of the Indo-Iranians" (https://ia800503.us.archive.org/30/items...ranian.pdf)

Quote:Cauldrons belong to the articles that are diagnostically ‘Scythian’. They were found in the North Caucasus near Tanais on the lower Don, in the Voronezh region, in the Volga region, and in the Urals (Krivtsova-Grakova 1955: 44-5, 133, 135; Smirnov 1964: 127-136, fig. 70AB). The concentration of their finds is highest in east Kazakhstan and Semirech’e (Bernshtam 1952: 45-50; Kopylov 1955; Spasskaya 1956; Arslanova and Charikov 1980: fig. 1) and in Xinjiang, which was connected with the Semirech’e center (Mei and Shell 1998: fig. 7). Cauldrons also comprise a large group among the finds of the Tagar culture of Siberia (Chlenova 1967: 92-109, table 18, 19); 
Quote:The chronology and origin of cauldrons are difficult to determine because the majority derive from chance finds. But the cauldrons of the barrows of Kelermes have a fixed date—not earlier than the middle of the 7th century BC. Cauldrons of the Beshtau type (with fixed ring-like handles that are raised over the rim so that they are half of a ring higher than the rim) are believed to be older (Alekseev 2003: 45, fig. 1: 7, 8). They have analogies in the products of the east Andronovo metallurgical province and the Minusinsk Basin. N. L. Chlenova (1967: 94-95, 99) dated them to the 8th–beginning of the 7th century BC. 

Quote:According to another hypothesis proposed already at the end of the 19th century by P. Reinecke, the homeland of the Scythian cauldrons was localized in China. Nowadays this opinion has many adherents among the enthousiasts of the conception og the eastern origin of the Scythians. It is true that diverse types of bronze vessels were elaborated in Shang-Yin China (Bagley 1987). They were cast in forms where composite ornaments (interwoven S-form figures and meanders) were carved. A vessel of the ding-type from North-Central China (Arthur Sackler collection) is a probable prototype of the steppe cauldrons of the second type (tripods with three legs; Bagley 1987: N 86; So and Bunker 1995: 92 N 4). Its typically Chinese ornament helped J. So to date it to the 12th–11th centuries BC. The scholars regard it as a product of Chinese craftsmen who worked for northern barbarians. But the fact should not be overlooked that there were no finds of cauldrons with imitation Chinese decoration neither in Siberia, nor in Kirgizia, nor in Kazakhstan. 
Quote:As for the cauldrons of the first type (with a tray), their origin might have been connected with the vessels of the fu-type from north China (So and Bunker 1995: 108 N 22; Bunker 2002: 194-195 N 185). The fu is a deep U-shaped bowl sitting on a low trumpet-shaped stem with vertical handles. Handles are designed as a twisted rope. In the upper part of the trunk there is a roller with notches imitating a rope. It separates the belt with a meander pattern from the lower zone with V-shaped figures. So and Bunker regard this cauldron as belonging to the transitional period between the Eastern and Western Zhou and date it to the 8th century BC. They note that it is the earliest specimen of its type in Western 406 CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX China. Analogous small and more roundish unornamented vessels were found in Xi’an in the burials of Jundushan, Yanging north of Beijing. The graves belong to non-Chinese people and date from the 7th–6th centuries BC (fig. 22: 1). 
Quote:A. M. Tall’gren localized the center of their creation in Central Asia; E. Yu. Spasskaya—in the steppes; N. M. Yadrintsev, G. P. Sosnovsky, E. Minns—in Siberia (Chlenova 1967: 92). N. L. Chlenova (1967: 95-99) proved that the Siberian cauldrons of the Tagar culture were not the earliest of their type, but had developed under the influence of the cauldrons of Kazakhstan, Semirech’e and Central Asia, the earliest of which date from the 8th–7th centuries BC. 
Quote:As for Xinjiang, the blossoming of culture there in the Final Bronze Age was caused by the migration of the Andronovo population from Semirech’e (there are Andronovan graves in Xinjiang). The similarity of the types of metal articles with those of the Shamshi hoard (Linduff, ed. 2004) permits one to assume that metallurgists and smiths from Central Asia were working in Xinjiang. Petroglyphs discovered there belong to the Eurasian steppe province. Thus it becomes obvious that there is no need to search for a prototype of the Scythian cauldron either in China or in Iran; one may regard it as an innovation introduced into the culture of metallurgists of the east Andronovo metallurgical province in the period of the applied-roller ceramics. It was the period when wide ethno-cultural relations were established in the steppes, which facilitated the influence of the Central-Asian and Chinese cultures and stimulated the search for new types, adapted to the conditions of the pastoral life.

I tried snipping out a few things that seemed important at first glance, but the whole chapter on cauldrons is worth a read. (and would probably make more sense that way)
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Thank you, Jan

Your above post is very informative, the references linking the Chinese culture to that of southern Siberia... which in turn, creates a connection between a vast ethnos occupying Minusinsk, then the Altai, Xinjing, and the Illi Valley. In terms of tribes, east to west, the cauldrons would be connected to the Loufan, Yuezhi, Wusun, and Saka. Possibly, these cauldrons were a Sibero-Scythian version of the Chinese di or ding created by piece-mold casting. On the other hand, we have Siberian lost wax and hollow-shaft weapons entering China.

I'm pressed for time, working on a Powerpoint presentation for next weekend. But offhand, we appear to looking at an incredibly broad spectrum of likened bronze technology in a era centuries prior to the popularized, so-called, "Silk Road." This interaction, along with a fluxing ethno-genesis-- Siberian, Yuezhi, Wusun, and Saka-- appears to be the formative cultural core of the Aorsi. Interesting how the sources mention the Altai, time and again, which might aid the Pazyryk=Yuezhi hypothesis of Haskins, Rudenko, and Enoki. Thanks for the post. (I've yet to add more about Generals from the North, but I'll get more info together at some point.) Big Grin
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
Generals from the North, Part 4: Origin of the "Yuezhi cauldron," and "The Scythian Triad."

You've gotta love it when everything comes together. Taking the premise of Jan's amalgam of 9 various quotes (or "interpretations") of where the Scythian cauldron originated, we can precisely narrow it to a singular location-- the Northern Zone, and about 13 centuries prior to the Common Era.

   
Here we have Scythian cauldrons within "Type 1" artifacts from China's Northern Zone, an area that encompasses the "bend" of the Yellow River, a territory extending from the Ordos (below the bend) to Inner Mongolia (above the bend). Why are primary "Scythian" objects, precisely the earliest ones, found in Northern China, not in Saka dominions or Western Scythia? These are perfect examples of Davis-Kimball's "Yuezhi cauldron."

We are looking at a culture that eventually produced the Loufan (central) and Linhu tribes (eastern). The carriers of Seima-Turbino metallurgy arrived in Qin in the west and Qi in the northeast in the 14th century BC, increasing into the 8th century BC. Among distinctive burials in Linzi, captital of the State of Qi, we find 38 horses accompanied by 13 chariots in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). "Linzi [burials] 10 and 31 were probably the most interesting... all the exact DNA matches were from the western and central parts of Eurasia." ( Bennett et al., A Reanalysis of Eurasian Population History, 2006.)

This invasive group can be directly traced to the Suiyuan culture. It was founded prior to the settlement of the Shang at Anyang in the south and the Karasuk culture in the north; and both the Anyang and Karasuk bronze "intrusive" material arrived directly from what is now Suiyuan Province. Here's a digital map of Suiyuan's location. (see Karl Jettmar's excellent article, The Karasuk Culture and It's South-Eastern Affinities, PDF, 1950)
   

Korean professor Jeong Su-il phrased it this way, "The Suiyuan bronze-ware culture may thus be described representing the easternmost extent of the Scythian culture. This was the first culture established by nomadic horse-riding peoples in the Steppes of Eurasia, with bronze-ware items consisting chiefly of articles needed for the nomadic and horse-riding lifestyles." (Jeong, The Silk Road Encyclopedia, 2016) As such, the Suiyuan culture represents the earliest manifestation of Scythian culture, the portable Scythian cauldron, and the emerging "Scythian Triad." This location-- in the middle of China's Northern Zone-- is the geographical birthplace of all things Scythian.
 
     
In the above map, we find Type 1 artifacts within a culture just north to Anyang. Type 2 artifacts extend to the north into Mongolia and less influenced by the Chinese. The Type 1 culture would have produced the earliest steppe bronze-ware to enter Shang territory... and likely it also produced Fu Hao the woman general. Below is a typical Scythian example, called a "fu cauldron" by the Chinese. It was found in Inner Mongolia.

   

Within the Suiyuan culture, we begin to see a formation of the "Scythian triad," expressly horse-riding gear, steppe weapons, and a rudimentary "animal style" art. Previously, artifacts from this area were called "Ordos bronzes" and their inception was attributed to a much later date. What's important, at least to me, is a confirmed archaeological presence of primary Scythian material. This helps move the Yuezhi into this sphere, it links artistically to the Pazyryk material, and it moves far away from Dr. Benjamin's premise that the Yuezhi were not Scythians, and that they were based in a narrow area from Gansu to the Tarim Basin, where we find such humble individuals such as "Cherchen Man," who owned a nice pair of boots and a saddle. Sorry, but "Cherchen Man" was a long way from being a Yuezhi.

   
Above, we see Type 1 artifacts from the Northern Zone. We find a ram's-head finial (Loufan), a standing argali-horse (Karasuk); and in particular, Fig. 33, a griffon-headed horse with combination argali and deer "antlers," a very popular motif seen in Pazyryk tattoos. Fig. 28 displays a "Scythian pick," perhaps more appropriately termed as a sagaris, and exactly like the ones found in Pazyryk burials.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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BTW, how did you get a hold of "The Silk Road Encyclopedia"?
Wow, 180 USD for a Kindle edition?!
Jan Pospisil - fantasy/historical/archaeology illustration
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Jan,

Some of this stuff is really getting expensive! Actually, I found Jeong Su-il's quote on Google Books. (Interesting character, a spy for North Korea, jailed for 11 years... where he wrote the Silk Road Cyclopedia.) I've just ordered two books relevant to the subject, one by Nicola De Cosmo, and another one by So and Bunker. I would love to get Elena Kuzmina's Origins of the Indo-Europeans, but the book costs hundreds of USDs. The connections between the Suiyuan culture, Anyang, the Karasuk culture are amazing when you consider the vast mileage between them. Then again, this reinforces my premise that the Yuezhi nobles were buried in the Altai and a long way from Han China's borders and a piddling strip along the Gansu.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
Breaking News: Berel Kugan #2 Finally Opened

   
The Bukhtarma River Valley, site of the famed Berel tombs. In past posts, we have discussed Berel 11 and its connection to Qin China. Now we have more.

A recent news article (Aug. 20, 2016) described the recent dig at Berel 2 in vague detail. The team included over 50 freshmen from East Kazakhstan State University, guest archaeologists from Russia, Turkey, and Japan, all headed by Zeinolla Samashev.

   
The upper (smaller) kurgan is Berel 2. The lower kurgan, excavated in the mid nineteenth century, is the "King's Kurgan." The two kurgans are surrounded by small burials of the clan's deceased, warriors and otherwise.

Berel 2 has been waiting to be researched for 150 years. In 1865, the larger kurgan-- Berel 1-- was excavated by Russian scientist-orientalist Vasily Radlov. Within the burial, Radlow found a Scythian "King," 17 horses, and a number of gold artifacts. Berel 2, the smaller mound, was constructed only a few meters from the King's burial. Originally, the mound stood 2-3 meters high; its stone embankment disassembled during the Russian era.

   
Berel 2 shows extensive deterioration. The rectangular log "cabin" has rotted away, as well as the sarcophagus.

Under the modern soil, Samashev et al. found a stone structure in a perfect circle; and at a depth of 5 meters, they found the burial. It contained a woman dressed in a kaftan "embroidered with many golden plates;" and she was accompanied by "seven stallions." The grave was looted by contemporaneous robbers shortly after the woman was buried, a high percentage of the valuables taken. 

   
A remaining forehead ornament on one of the Berel 2 horses.

Berel 1, the King's tomb, has been dated to c. 367 BC, the smaller tomb about 20 years later. Notes Samashev, "We have a working version that the buried woman was a queen, the wife of the chieftain from burial Mound No. 1. She probably suffered from some disease and used grated cannabis as a pain reliever."
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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Wow
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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Thanks, Robert.

The Berel kurgans began later than those at Pazyryk, and they seem to coincide with the rise of the Qin state and an increase in trade. This report is obviously a preliminary. We have no idea of the queen's cause of death, but we certainly are getting a better view of the importance women played in Yuezhi society. As an aside, the #1 cause of death is-- fatal injury from being impaled by a sharp instrument.  Angel

Next to battles and raiding, we find spinal and hip injuries from horse riding and also various forms of cancer. In Altai cases, marijuana appears to be used as the common pain killer, either as a tea or inhaled within a tepee-shaped tent.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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