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The Bioarchaeology of the Human HeadDecapitation, Decoration, and Deformation$
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Michelle Bonogofsky

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035567

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035567.001.0001

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Skull Deformation During the Iron Age in the Trans-Urals and Western Siberia

Skull Deformation During the Iron Age in the Trans-Urals and Western Siberia

(p.202) 8 Skull Deformation During the Iron Age in the Trans-Urals and Western Siberia
The Bioarchaeology of the Human Head

Svetlana Sharapova

Dmitry Razhev

University Press of Florida

This chapter presents a bioarchaeological study of the widespread practice of skull deformation among the peoples of the Iron Age Sargat culture living in the forest-steppe region of the Trans-Urals and western Siberia. Archaeological investigation of the Sargat culture has yielded burial mounds (kurgans) containing the remains of males, females and juveniles, only few of whom display evidence of intentional cranial deformation. Skeletal and contextual analysis of the burials of this small group of individuals, dating to 100 bc to 300 ad, indicates that skull deformation among the Iron Age Sargat culture served as a marker of social status, signaling membership in a semi-nomadic privileged group that likely held greater social and/or political power than the majority of the population.

Keywords:   circular cranial deformation, Iron Age, forest-steppe, Sargat culture, bioarchaeology, Kurgan, Trans-Urals, Siberia, social status

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