Moscow University

«Golden» warrior from Sak barrows of Tarbagatay

Samashev Z.S. (1), Veselovskaya E.V. (2,3), Vasiliev S.V. (3)

1) State historical and cultural reserve-Museum “Berel” of the Ministry of culture and sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 00001, Kultobe, 11, Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan; 2) Russian State University for Humanities, Miusskaya square, 6, Moscow, 125993, Russia; 3) Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS, Leninskiy pr., 32a, Moscow, 119991, Russia

Samashev Z., PhD, DSc, Professor; ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7171-3003;; Veselovskaya E.V., PhD, DSc; ORCID ID: 0000-0002-2932-9884;; Vasiliev S.V., PhD, DSc; ORCID ID: 0000-0003-0128-6568;


In 2018, during the excavation of the burial mound 4 of the burial complex Eleke Sazy (East-Kazakhstan region, Republic of Kazakhstan), the undestroyed burial of the young warrior was discovered. The work aims at characterizing the archaeological and anthropological features of the find and to reconstruct the appearance from the skull. Preliminary dating – VIII-VII centuries BC. Material and methods. To study the monument the standard methods of archaeology were used. Anthropological characteristics were obtained with the use of craniometry, and the lifetime appearance of the face was reconstructed with the program «Algorithm of the appearance» by calculating ante mortem characteristics based on the skull sizes. Results. The deceased laid on his back, head to the west. Many gold items were discovered in the burial accompanying the body, including a massive neck ring. Among the discoveries were: gold leaf lying predators figurines (head full face and body in profile) analogues to the Saryarka monuments of the early Sasmolian culture. The craniological study revealed that the skull of the «golden» warrior was mesocranial type, medium-high, the facial skeleton is medium-high and medium broad with flattened horizontal profiling, the nose is slightly protruding, long and narrow, and orbits are high. The contour, graphic, and sculptural reconstructions of the appearance are presented. The young man’s face is narrow, flattened at the upper part. The shape of the face is oval. The forehead is wide. The upper eyelid fold is developed significantly. The relative protrusion of the cheekbones is large. The nasal bridge is of medium depth, very narrow, the protrusion is small in the upper part the back of the nose. The tip of the nose is narrow. Scissor bite. Lower jaw and chin are not large. Conclusion. Based on design features barrow No. 4 of the Eleke Sazy burial of Tarbagatay has much in common with famous burial structures from East Kazakhstan and Saryarka, and based on the ware complex - more extensive parallels can be drawn with the early Sak monuments of Zhetysu, Sayano-Altai, Xinjian and other adjacent territories. The shape and size of the cranium of the studied individual differ noticeably from modern Kazakhs and are closer to some variants of the more ancient substrate of the Eurasian steppe population. The skull is characterized by mesocrania, while modern populations of East Kazakhstan are brachycephalic. The appearance of the young man, presented at reconstructions, is characterized by a mixture of Caucasoid and Mongoloid features.


Eleke Sazy funeral complex; East-Kazakhstan region; early Iron Age; craniology; craniofacial reconstruction

DOI: 10.32521/2074-8132.2019.4.126-139

Цит.: Samashev Z.S., Veselovskaya E.V., Vasiliev S.V. «Golden» warrior from Sak barrows of Tarbagatay // Moscow University Anthropology Bulletin (Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta. Seria XXIII. Antropologia), 2019; 4/2019; с. 126-139

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