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Reconstructing Ritual from Archaeological Investigation: Chungul Kurgan from the Qipchaq Steppe of the Early 13th Century

Reconstructing Ritual from Archaeological Investigation: Chungul Kurgan from the Qipchaq Steppe of the Early 13th Century
4 Bancroft Ave., Room 200B
Time: Mar 13th, 4:00 pm End: Mar 13th, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: Slavic Studies (FAS), Religion, Study of (FAS), Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (FAS), Medieval Studies (FAS), History (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), Archaeology, 400-1200, 1200-1500
Lecture by Renata Holod, University of Pennsylvania

The Archaeology Centre and the Departments of History and Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations are pleased to present

Renata Holod, University of Pennsylvania

Reconstructing Ritual from Archaeological Investigation: Chungul Kurgan from the Qipchaq Steppe of the Early 13th Century

The careful excavation of Chungul Kurgan has allowed for a reconstruction of burial rituals of a Qipchaq (Cuman/ Polovets) noble in the steppe of the Molochna River system of southern Ukraine. The phasing of the burial ritual can be reconstructed based upon the interpretation of the archaeological record, and enhanced through ethnographic and historic parallels. Furthermore, the calculation of the energetics necessary for the construction of the tumulus provides a reliable estimate of the physical effort, and social organization, necessary to raise a tumulus of more than six meters in height and sixty-eight feet in diameter. Along with the very rich grave goods, the construction process of the tumulus and the burial rituals illuminate the material and spiritual identity of the Qipchaq nomadic confederation of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Close familial and military ties with the surrounding polities of the Rus’ principalities, Bulgaria, Georgia, and Byzantium, as well the activities of missionaries out of Crimea provided these nomadic groups with a familiarity with the rites and rituals of Christianity, both eastern and western. These reconstructed Turkic rituals, then, can also be read against a backdrop of continued, close-up experiences of Christianity.

This event is free and open to the public.  Registration is not required.  For further information, please contact the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at (416) 978-3306.


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