Articles / Old Russian Kurgans (barrows)

Old Russian Kurgans (barrows)

Subject / Relics

The Old Russian kurgans (barrows) are mounds over graves of the 10th-14th centuries. In old Russian towns barrow burials were stopped in the 11th century after adopting Christianity. The rural population continued to bury according to the Pagan ritual. The area of the Leningrad Oblast, where old Russian kurgans are located, include the Luga River upperstream region, the Izhora Hills and the north-eastern Chud Lake region. Barrow burials number from several to a thousand hemisphere-shaped mounds of 0.5-1.5 metres high. Barrows' foundations are edged with boulders or arounded with small ditches. During the 11th century they turned to bury unparched mortal remains (corpse-layout). The deceased person was oriented with the face turned to the next world side. Ingrian Finns put a corpse with the head at the northern or southern end of the grave, Slavs put a corpse with the head at the western end of the grave (with the face to the east). The funerary ritual was ended with the funeral service and funeral feast ("strava"). In the 11th - the first half 13th centuries the deceased persons were buried at the foundation of the mound. A pot with food was put at the foot. A sickle was put near women, men were buried with axes, scythes, arms. A knife in the case, a case with stone-fire were fastened to the belt. Slavs' and Ingrian Finns' burials are discerned with decorations of suits, details of funeral rituals. In the middle of the 13th century funeral ritual was undergone. Burials in pits without equipment and zhalnik-graves are spread. This radical turn was caused by the mass adaptation to Christianity of rural population. In far Chud pogosts barrows were made untill the 16th century. Mass excavations of barrows were fulfilled by L. K. Ivanovsky, N.K. Roerich, V.N. Glazov and others in late 19th - early 20th centuries. A.A. Spitsin systematized these materials. During 1927-1931 GAIMK (the State Archaelogy Institute of Material Culture History) workers were fulfilling the registration and calculation of survived sites. From the 1970s G.S. Lebedev, E.A. Pyabinin and others continurd the researches.

Plotkin, Konstantin Moiseyevich

Glazov, Vladimir Nilovich
Ivanovsky, Lev Konstantinovich
Lebedev, Gleb Sergeyevich
Roerich, Nikolay Konstantinovich
Ryabinin, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich
Spitsyn, Aleksandr Andreyevich

Topographical landmarks/Izhora Hills, the
Topographical landmarks/Prichudye North-eastern
Topographical landmarks/Verkhneye Poluzh'ye

Лапшин В.А. Археологическая карта Ленинградской области. Ч. 1-2. Л.; СПб. 1990-1995
Лебедев Г. С. Археологические памятники Ленинградской области. Л., 1977
Рябинин Е. А. Водская земля Великого Новгорода. СПб., 2001.
Спицын А.А. Гдовские курганы в раскопках В.Н. Глазова // Материалы по археологии России. Вып. 29. СПб., 1903
Спицын А.А. Курганы С.-Петербургской губернии в раскопках Л.К. Ивановского // Материалы по археологии России. Вып. 20. СПб., 1896

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