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In the works of the last decades, a whole range of categories of the burial inventory of nomads of Asian Sarmatia of the 2nd–1st centuries BC is considered, having no prototypes in the material culture of the preceding time and being regarded as Eastern innovations. They are associated with the movement of a number of nomadic groups from the north-western borders of China to the west, fi rst to Central Asia, where the Greco-Bactrian kingdom fell under their blows, and then further west up to the Lower Volga region.

The analysis of archaeological materials conducted in this paper does not give grounds to speak about the distribution of items of South Siberian (Transbaikalian) origin in the burials of the nomads of Asian Sarmatia. At the same time, it is obvious that in some burials of the Lower Volga region, dating in frames of the late 2nd – 1st centuries BC, there are certain artefacts, as a rule, of status appearance (massive gold jewelry: torcs and bracelets, belt plates), mostly with losses and traces of primitive ancient repair, which can be considered as items brought by nomads from Central Asia. One cannot, however, exclude the role of intertribal marriages of the elite nomads in the distribution of such things, especially since at least some of them in the Volga region were found precisely in the female burial no. 8 of the Burial-mound No. 55/1954 near the village of Kalinovka.

In some cases, it is possible to speak about certain Eastern infl uences in the execution of belt buckles, similar to certain extent to the remote prototypes from Mongolia and Transbaikalia.

In general, there is every reason to suggest the migration of some group (groups) of nomads from Central Asia to the steppes of the Lower Volga region and their possible participation in the events connected with the fall of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom.

Judging by the number of items examined in this article, the number of migrants was not signifi cant, which is consistent with the observations of other researchers, based on an analysis of the burial rite. I will note that for the time in question there are only rare examples of artefacts, which moved from west to east (probably also through the Eurasian steppes). However, it is not necessary to consider the movement of the abovementioned objects from east to west and from west to east as a refl ection of economic relations along the Silk Road, as the author has already stated elsewhere.


Xiongnu, Transbaikalia, South Siberia, Central Asia, Asian Sarmatia, Lower Volga region, belt plaques of gold, bronze, jet; gold adornments of status level.

Mikhail Yu. Treister

German Archaeological Institute, Berlin, Germany

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