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The Bronze Age culture

Bronze cauldron with horse-shaped handlesThe Bronze Age culture of the peoples inhabiting the steppes of the Ukraine and the valleys of the Volga and the Don is represented by remains of the Old Pit, Catacomb and Timber Grave cultures, although there is considerably less material than from the Tripolye culture. Of outstanding importance is the so-called "founder's hoard" comprising pottery moulds and various instruments used in making axes, adzes, daggers, etc., discovered on a site in the Volgograd region.

 

The Caucasian section contains artefacts dating from the period of the Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, and derived mostly from the Northern Caucasus (objects of chronologically later origin forming part of the collection of the Oriental Department). Among the earliest are the finds from the Agubekovo and Dolinskoye settlements and from a burial in the vicinity of Nalchik. The most important, however, is the famous complex of finds from the Maikop Barrow, discovered in 1837. Here, concealed beneath a great mound of earth, a timber crypt disclosed three bodies, including one of a tribal chief. It was around his remains that the largest number of objects was found: two gold, fourteen silver and eight pottery vessels; pieces of a funerary canopy ornamented with numerous gold plaques depicting lions and bulls; multitudinous gold, silver and stone beads and other ornaments, as well as a set of copper and several stone implements, including flint arrowheads. Since these Maikop finds comprise one of the earliest funerary comlexes of the tribal nobility and illustrate the relations between the tribes of the

Northern Caucasus and the civilizations of the Ancient Orient, they have long drawn the attention of scholars. The material from Meshoko, the only settlement of the Maikop culture practically fully explored, affords an insight into the mode of life of the local population.

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