Preliminary results of an investigation of a single Barrow near the village of Serteya (Smolensk region)
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A single burial mound is located on the right bank of the Serteyka River (north-western Russia). It was discovered by E.A. Schmidt in 1951 and is attributed to the Old Russian Period. New researches on the burial mound conducted in 2013 and 2014 have uncovered several diachronic constructions. The first stage was connected to a flint knapping site, which was located on a natural ele- vation. It can be attributed to the 6th millennium BC on the basis of the Early Neolithic pottery fragments found nearby. The next period is dated to the second half of the 3rd millennium BC, when a ritual platform was created. Moreover, on another mound, a ditch was created, which can be attributed to the Long Barrow Culture due to a ceramic fragment found there. Samples from burnt bones and charcoal indicate that the first and second stages of this construction could be dated to between the middle and the second half of the 3rd millennium BC – the late stage of the Zhizhitskaya Culture of pile-dwellers and the initial stage of the Uzmenskaya Culture. Animal bones were cremated along with bronze items, as evidenced by the patina visible on the surface of the bones. Such a rite has been recorded for the first time. Furthermore, a ritual fire-place was set on a flat platform, and additional fireplaces were situated on the slope of the burial mound. This complex, which can be interpreted as a site of worship from the Late Neolithic through the Early Bronze Age, existed for a long period of time. Nowadays, it is difficult to find analogies to such ritual complexes from the 3rd millennium BC from the territory of Poland and the Upper Dnepr region; only the kurgans and burial mounds of the Corded Ware Culture dating to the 3rd millennium BC are known. It might also be supposed that some of the sites with such a sepulchral rite, usually attributed to the Long Barrows Culture, could also be ritual sites – this, however, would require further research.
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