MAIASP. 2022. No. 14

A.A. Kazarnitsky (Saint Petersburg, Russia), A.A. Strokov (Moscow, Russia)

revisiting THE Alans in Crimea during the Migration Period

DOI: 10.53737/2713-2021.2022.83.21.006

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Pages: 155181

Some specialists in Crimean archaeology tend to believe that Early Medieval Crimean vaults may contain bone remains of the Alans who once moved to the peninsula from the Caucasus. Such an assumption is based on the similarity of vault burial structures and T-shaped Alanian catacomb graves. However, arguments like this is fairly criticized by specialists in Sarmatian archaeology. We have tried to test this hypothesis with the use of methods taken from physical anthropology. In addition to materials from Crimean burial grounds of Suvlu-Kaya, Inkerman, Chernaya Rechka and from Early Alanian sites in the North Caucasus, we used a wide range of comparative materials from various archaeological cultures of Eastern, Central and Southern Europe. The conclusion is that people buried in the Crimean vaults were hardly related to the Alans or the Sarmatians and presumably originated from autochthonous ‘Taurian’ population. At the same time, the physical appearance of people buried in niche graves is very similar to that of people belonging to the Late Sarmatian and  the Early Alanian groups.

Key words: Sarmatians, Alans, North Black Sea region, Caucasus, Crimea, catacombs, niche-graves, anthropology, craniology, craniometry, discriminant canonical analysis.

Received July 26, 2022

Accepted for publication August 11, 2022

About the authors:

Kazarnitsky Aleksey Aleksandrovich (Saint Petersburg, Russia). Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Strokov Anton Aleksandrovich (Moscow, Russia). Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences