Oriental Import in the Burials of Western Kazakhstan Nomads (The Middle of the First Millenium BC)

Gutsalov S. Yu.

This is a publication of some objects, apparently imported from the Middle and Near East, discovered in 2002–2005 in kurgans of the nomadic elite of the late 6th – early 5th c. BC. They include golden ornaments (pendants, necklaces, plaques) and cult objects (a mortar, a pestle, a churn-staff, flasks, a stone altar, etc.). The flasks of «Phoenician» glass are various in form. They were most probably used for keeping aromatic substances, not only cosmetic ones, but those applied in funerary rites. The golden ornaments derive from Achaemenid prototypes from Iran and Central Asia. They could have been made after Ancient Eastern models. Small pottery must have been made in the Near East. It is not improbable that Central Asia and Khwarezm in particular acted as an intermediary between the ancient nomads of the Southern Urals and Iran or Asia Minor in luxury goods trade. The finds of this kind in 5th–6th c. BC nomad kurgans of the Southern Urals are rather rare. The spread of «oriental import» in the Southern Urals reflects economical, political and religious connections of the regions in question.

Keywords: Western Kazakhstan, nomads, archaeology, Central Asia