A unique find of a cast of a nose from a grave of the Pit Grave culture, the Molochnaya River region (Ukraine) Cover Image

Уникальная находка модели носа из погребения ямной культуры в кургане на р. Молочной (Украина)
A unique find of a cast of a nose from a grave of the Pit Grave culture, the Molochnaya River region (Ukraine)

Author(s): Yuri Ya. Rassamakin
Subject(s): Archaeology
Published by: Muzeul Naţional de Istorie a Moldovei
Keywords: Eneolithic period; Early Bronze Age; Pit Grave culture; resinous substances; tar; kurgan graves

Summary/Abstract: A burial of a young woman belonged to the Pit Grave culture revealed a cast of a nose made of a resinous substance on the face of a badly crushed skull; the cast was covered with a layer of bright red ochre. It had been formed as a result of the fact that shortly before her burial a nose of the deceased, below the bridge, was carefully covered with a thin layer of liquid resin and painted over with red ocher. The cast retains well-defined details that perfectly reflect the natural shape of the deceased’s nose: its shape, size, nostrils, transition into the upper lip and to the nasal bridge. Due to the decomposition of soft tissues and hardening of resin, the shape has been slightly deformed but, nevertheless, it reflects anatomical features of one of the bearers of the local Pit Grave culture.A short resin plaque clamped between the teeth of the deceased is less informative. It shows the prints of several teeth and a fold which, probably, delineates the imprints of closed lips.In connection with these finds the author discusses other cases of presence of resinous substances in graves of the Early Bronze Age (burials of the Pit Grave culture and burials of the early Catacomb type); also cited are examples from the burials of the earlier Late Eneolithic period. Analysis of resinous substances from the latter defined them as tar. Therefore, the author suggests that in the late Eneolithic and the Early Bronze Age the population used resinous substances for therapeutic and magical purposes.

  • Issue Year: XI/2017
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 67-74
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: Russian