Calendar Age of the Baigetobe Kurgan from the Iron Age Saka Cemetery in Shilikty Valley, Kazakhstan

Irina P Panyushkina, Igor Y Slyusarenko, Renato Sala, Jean-Marc Deom, Abdesh T Toleubayev
  • Radiocarbon, January 2016, Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: 10.1017/rdc.2015.15

Calendar age of Saka kurgans in the Altai Mountains.

What is it about?

It is hard to tell a history of the world without chronology of ancient civilizations. It is even harder when you deal with an unwritten history of nomadic tribes lived in Inner Eurasia 3000 years ago. We used radiocarbon and tree-ring dating to determine precise age of prominent burials (kurgans) of Asian Scythians in the southern Kazakstan.

Why is it important?

Prehistory of Central Asia suffers from the lack of calendar dates for prominent archaeological sites. Out dating results indicate that the age of Shilikty cemetery is 730-690 BCE. This suggests that the Baigetobe kurgan was nearly contemporaneous to the Arjan-2 kurgan (Tuva) and could be one of the earliest kurgans of the Scythian elite (Saka tribes) in Central Asia.


Dr Irina Panyushkina (Author)
University of Arizona

This study demonstrated the successful reduction of dating errors trough collaborative application of two dating techniques - radiocarbon and tree rings to archaeological timbers. To learn how ancient people interacted across the Eurasian Steppe we need to refine the chronology. Systematic effort to date timbers of the Saka burials will help tremendously to this task.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Irina Panyushkina