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The Danubian route of the Yamnaya culture

Project information


Project title: The Danubian route of the Yamnaya culture

Project No: 2015/17/B/HS3/01327

Project lead: dr hab. Piotr Włodarczak

Project lead, institutional: Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Project financing:National Science Center, 2014-2016


e-mail: wlodarczak.piotr@gmail.com
phone (22) 620-28-81 do 86

Project implementation:

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences





1. Research project objectives/ Research hypothesis


The aim of the proposed project is to gain new knowledge based on complex information in the western march of the "steppe" population settlement in Europe. The subject of research will be burial mounds in the territory of Vojvodina (Serbia) near confluence Tisa in Danube, dated to the 1st half of the 3rd millennium BC. They are the westernmost vestiges of the expansion of population originating from the Northern Black Sea steppe areas. Data acquired from research on burial ritual and biological characteristics of designated groups of the Yamnaya culture populations will serve the comparisons with information on other groups of steppe populations in the Danube basin and the North Pontic zone.
The crucial task is to compile data on burial rituals of the "tumuli" population from the Danube region with those from Central Europe. It is of vital importance for reconstruction of the funerary "activities" of observable for the vast areas of Central Europe in the 3rd millennium BC (i.e. the Corded Ware culture).
The critical component of studies in the proposed project is the determination of the character of cultural changes taking place within the migrating steppe populations. Meaningful will also be the comparison drawn between those changes and the biological information derived from archaeological and archaeozoological data.
The overriding issue in the project will be therefore the relations between migrations of the steppe population and emergence of new types of cultural patterns in the 3rd millennium BC Central Europe. The final effect of the project will be an English monograph.


2. Research project methodology


Within the proposed project we intend to elaborate the archival materials as well as to acquire new data in the course of both noninvasive
research and excavations. The Yamnaya culture finds from Vojvodiny (burial mounds at the Jabuka, Perlez and Vojlovica sites) will be subjected to both archaeological and anthropological investigation. The samples from skeletal remains will be subjected to radiocarbon and stable isotopes (of oxygen, strontium, carbon, nitrogen) analyses as well as to the genetic material analyses. Furthermore we plan to carry out archaeobotanical, archaeozoological and sedimentological analyses of the material. In order to widen the set of data meeting all currently operative standards, excavations of two burial mounds will be performed. The tumuli chosen for field research are localized near Novi Sad, and thereby belong to the westernmost concentration of the Yamnaya culture burial mounds in Europe.
Prior to excavations the geophysical and topographic surveys will be performed in order to properly recognize the burial mounds' surroundings and to create Digital Elevation Models (DEM) of the area under research.
All the project results will be presented in texts combined to a monograph in English - the final effect of the project.


3. Expected impact of the research project on the development of science, civilization and society


The expected results are of great importance to European prehistory, for they will help to solve the problem of the role of expansion of the steppe populations in cultural changes in the 1st half of the 3rd millennium BC Central Europe. These results are of great importance also for describing the local context of the Yamnaya culture in Vojvodina to be compared with other regions of expansion of the steppe populations in Europe.
The analyses of multisource archaeological and anthropological data (accordingly to those listed in the project) are of great importance for future research on both regional and interregional scale.
The project aims at making a step forward in searches for compatibility of results of archaeological research and specialized "hard-science" investigations. The step forward in terms of significance of demonstrating the advantages and disadvantages of all prescribed methods for designing future research initiatives concerning prehistoric cemeteries.