The Forgotten Child of the Wider Corded Ware Family: Russian Fatyanovo Culture in Context

26.11.2020
On 12th of November, an article titled “The Forgotten Child of the Wider Corded Ware Family: Russian Fatyanovo Culture in Context” came out online by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the international journal ‘Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society’. The paper, authored by researchers from the University of Helsinki, Kerkko Nordqvist together with Professor of Archaeology Volker Heyd, presents the current state of knowledge regarding the Russian Fatyanovo Culture, an independent culture within the wider Corded Ware Complex. Latest information regarding the geography, chronology, material culture, subsistence strategies and worldview of these communities is included and their importance as a link between west and east, pastoralists and hunter-gatherers, and the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC is emphasized.

The Forgotten Child of the Wider Corded Ware Family: Russian Fatyanovo Culture in Context

Kerkko Nordqvist & Volker Heyd

Abstract

The Fatyanovo Culture, together with its eastern twin, the Balanovo Culture, forms part of the pan-European Corded Ware Complex. Within that complex, it represents its eastern expansion to the catchment of the Upper and Middle Volga River in the European part of Russia. Its immediate roots are to be found in the southern Baltic States, Belarus, and northern Ukraine (the Baltic and Middle-Dnepr Corded Ware Cultures), from where moving people spread the culture further east along the river valleys of the forested flatlands. By doing so, they introduced animal husbandry to these regions. Fatyanovo Culture is predominately recognised through its material culture imbedded in its mortuary practices. Most aspects of every-day life remain unknown. The lack of an adequate absolute chronological framework has thus far prevented the verification of its internal cultural dynamics while overall interaction proposed also on typo-stratigraphical grounds suggests a contemporaneity with other representations of the Corded Ware Complex in Europe. Fatyanovo Culture is formed by the reverse movement to the (north-)east of the Corded Ware Complex, itself established in the aftermath of the westbound spread of Yamnaya populations from the steppes. It thus represents an important link between west and east, pastoralists and last hunter-gatherers, and the 3rd and the 2nd millennia bc. Through its descendants (including Abashevo, Sintashta, and Andronovo Cultures) it becomes a key component in the development of the wider cultural landscape of Bronze Age Eurasia.