Anton Gass, "Das Land der sieben Flüsse im 2. bis 1. Jahrtausend v. Chr", in: eTopoi. Journal for Ancient Studies, Volume 3 (2014), 87–106


The southeastern Semirechye (Kazakhstan) is rich in remains of the martial mounted nomads of the Scytho-Sacian culture groups dating to the first millennium BC. Mainly they’re known through their burial grounds, containing mighty elite kurgans. Through the cartography of these burial grounds, certain landscape markers could be identified, that played a leading role in the construction of ritual places of the Early Iron Age Sacian elite. These ritual places functioned as central foci of the collective memory, as well as of the cultural self-identification of the Sacians. The analysis of both the internal structure of the burial grounds, as of the kurgan form and its periphery, laid bare certain architectonical templates, which on the one hand represent different ritual actions and on the other hand made possible an overview of the possible social stratigraphy of Sacian society. Besides the analysis of burial grounds, a large number of presumably contemporary settlement sites could be identified. The settlements performed varying roles in the different areas within the research region. These roles reflect varying forms of economy, which range from sedentary agriculture to nomadic pastoralism. The study of the preceding Bronze Age (the 2nd millennium BC), represented within the research area by the so-called Kul’saj-group, helps in getting a better understanding of the cultural change from Bronze to Early Iron Age.

Published In

Gerd Graßhoff and Michael Meyer (Eds.), eTopoi. Journal for Ancient Studies, Volume 3 (2014), Berlin: Exzellenzcluster 264 Topoi