«Варварские» элиты Нижнего Поволжья и Подонья в III в. до н.э. – сер. III в. н.э.: опыт выявления уровней социальной иерархии
The author analyzes burial complexes of the “Barbarian” elite of the Lower Volga-and-Don region of the Sarmatian era. In frames of the four chronological periods: 3rd and 2nd c. BC, 1st c. BC, 1st – mid-2nd c. AD, mid-2nd and - mid-3rd c. AD, changes in the burial rite and grave goods are traced. Groups of the elite burial complexes belonging to different levels of hierarchy are identified and mapped. An interpretation of the revealed changes is proposed.
Judging by the composition and origin of the prestige items originating from these graves, cultural groups with differing thanatological doctrines participated in this process. It seems that the observed changes were largely due to the foreign political factor, in particular the development of relations between the most important political players of the era – Parthian Iran and Rome. The nomadic chiefdoms of the Volga-Don region, with their significant military potential, were obviously involved in internal and foreign political conflicts in the Bosporan Kingdom and the Caucasus. The booty and gifts received during the war conflicts and making alliances partially turned out to be at funeral ceremonies of the “barbarian” nobility, reinforcing their claims to leadership.