Mongol warriors of the Jochi Ulus at the Karasuyr cemetery, Ulytau, Central Kazakhstan

E. R. Usmanova, I. I. Dremov, I. P. Panyushkina, A. V. Kolbina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present an archaeological study of medieval burials of warriors from the Karasuyr cemetery located in the Betpakdala desert near the Ulytau Range of central Kazakhstan. The region was an eastern province of the Golden Horde, a ritual center of Jochi clan and later Mongol rulers until the late 16th century. The excavated part of the cemetery includes five burials. There were four males (three Mongoloid and one Caucasoid), and one was that of a female. Based on artifacts and the results of radiocarbon dating, the burials date between the late 13th and early 14th century. Artifacts include birch-bark quivers, iron and bone arrowheads, fragments of laminar armor, and knives. The burial rite, the artifacts, and the physical type of the individuals suggest that three of them were Mongol warriors buried according to the Tibetan Buddhist rite, following an unknown military conflict during the Jochi Ulus rule––the first such burials to be excavated. Absence of weapons and the scarcity of other artifacts in the grave of the Caucasoid male indicate a subordinate position in the military group. The time of cemetery construction traces the early expansion of Buddhism beyond Tibet before the spread of Islam across the northern fringes of the Eurasian steppe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalArchaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Golden Horde
  • Jochi Ulus
  • Laminar armor
  • Mongol warriors
  • Tibetan Buddhism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Studies

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