Corpus Tumulorum Scythicorum et Sarmaticorum

Union Académique Internationale

Deutsches Archäologisches Institut

Centre for comparative studies on ancient civilizations
Russian Academy of sciences

Institut des recherches sur l'Antiquité et le Moyen-Age «Ausonius»
CNRS, Université de Bordeaux III


Edited by Askold Ivantchik and Hermann Parzinger





From the Editors of the Series

This volume ushers in a new series of monographs devoted to the publication of Scythian and Sarmatian burial-mounds. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of these sites: they constitute our main source of information regarding the history and culture of the ancient nomads of the Eurasian steppes. Mikhail Rostovtsev in his day was already referring to the need to bring out a Corpus of these sites. Since then, a good deal of work has already been carried out: a considerable range of books has been published devoted to the publication of both the famous élite burial-mounds (Solokha, Chertomlyk, Tolstaya Mogila, the Kelermes burial-mounds et al.) and also the more modest burial-mound necropoleis for the common population. Yet the number of excavated burial-mounds of the Scythians and Sarmatians is constantly growing, thanks to the intensive excavations currently being undertaken in the Ukraine and southern Russia. Despite the slower pace of this research in the last decades stemming from the sharp drop in financial support, the investigation of burial-mounds is still going on and yielding new interesting results. The publication of such results, however, all too often fails to keep up with the excavations themselves: many important sites have languished unpublished for decades or are only being published in part in the form of short reports in the academic literature or even in exhibition catalogues, in which attention is focused only on the most eye-catching ‘museum’ objects. Even some of the most famous ‘royal’ burial-mounds excavated as long ago as the 19th or early-20th century (the Aleksandropol, Oguz and Kozel burial-mounds) have not been published in full, not to mention the numerous, no less important (although sometimes less sensational) sites, which have been excavated in recent decades.

We hope, that this new series will go at least some way towards rectifying the situation outlined above. It will include new publications of Scythian and Sarmatian burial-mounds regardless of when they were excavated. The term “Corpus” indicates the endeavour to bring within the framework of this series the largest possible number of publications of burial-mound sites executed in keeping with requirements common to the series as a whole. These are first and foremost the comprehensive nature of each publication (which must include all available information on the site to be published) and its high academic standards. The series cannot, of course, claim to become a “Corpus” in the full sense of the word, i.e. to publish all the burial-mounds. It will not, for instance, include burial-mounds, which have already been published thoroughly and to a sufficiently high academic standard (for example, the above-mentioned Kelermes burial-grounds or Chertomlyk) or those which are due to be published in the future outside the confines of this series.

Insofar as the aims of this new series coincide to a considerable degree with those of the series Steppenvölker Eurasiens, which we started bringing out in 1997, we have decided to publish this Corpus of Scythian and Sarmatian Burial-mounds as a sub-section of the former series. As before, the original series will continue to publish works outside the framework of the Corpus, for instance publications not connected with burial-mounds or books which are not publications of a specific site (burial-mound or group of burial-mounds).

This bringing together of Scythian and Sarmatian burial-mounds in a series would naturally not have been possible without collaboration between specialists from a variety of countries and academic institutions. In order to co-ordinate their efforts, a consultative committee for the series is being organized, made up of representatives of various countries and academic institutions, where research is being carried out in the field of Scythian and Sarmatian archaeology. The archaeology of the East European steppes, which for a long time was the monopoly of the former Soviet Union, has increasingly begun to attract the attention of Western scholars. Yet the achievements of Russian-speaking academics, including those which are of interest to scholars representing related disciplines (such as Classical Archaeology and the Archaeology of the Near East) are to date only rarely accessible for their Western colleagues because of the language barrier. For this reason the books in this new series will be published in two versions — one in Russian and one in a West-European language — for the most part English, but possibly in German or French.

The increasingly international character of research into Eurasian archaeology is reflected in the broader range of publishers bringing out the “Corpus”. The German Archaeological Institute and the Centre for the Comparative Study of Ancient Civilizations, Russian Academy of Sciences — former publishers of the series Steppenvölker Eurasiens — are now joined by the Institute for Research into the Ancient World and the Middle Ages «Ausonius» in Bordeaux. Furthermore, the whole project is developing under the aegis of the International Union of Academies, which underlines its international character still more strongly. We hope that this series, which begins with the publication of one of the most important sites of the earliest period in the evolution of Scythian culture, will develop successfully and become a convenient and familiar tool for specialists working in the sphere of Ancient History and Archaeology, not only in the Eurasian steppes, but also in the regions adjoining them.

A. Ivantchik, H. Parzinger

Volumes of the series

Vladimir R. Erlikh, Ljudmila K. Galanina, Alexandre M. Leskov, Elena V. Perevodchikova Ulskii Tumuli. Cultic and Burial Complex of the Scythian Period in the Northern Caucasus. Corpus Tumulorum Scythicorum et Sarmaticorum. Vol. 2. Berlin, Bordeaux, Moscow. 2008 (in print).

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© Paleograph-Press, 2007