ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2017. Vol. 20

The Yakuts Paired Burials in the 18–19th Centuries: Based on the Materials of Yaryylaakh and Tysagastaakh Monuments (Verkhoyansk District of Yakutia)

N. S. Kiriyanov

To date, the double and group (3 or more people) burials of the Yakuts of the 18–19th centuries make the least amount of the total number of investigated monuments of that time. There are only 7 known double burials (co-location of two persons in one tomb or pit), 5 double tiered (where one person is buried in the grave, and the second – in the graveside construction, that is they are arranged in tiers) and 4 group burials. This article analyzes only paired burials, five of which were found in Central Yakutia, but the two monuments have attracted the most attention – Yaryylaakh (joint burial of a young girl and a teenage boy, the siblings) and Tysagastaakh (a 4–5 years old child and a woman, who are not related to each other), found in 2010 and 2012 in Verkhoyansk district by Sakha-French archaeological expedition (MAFSO) led by E. Crubézy and A. N. Alekseev. Representative material complex of these objects in comparison with similar monuments in Central Yakutia enable to reconstruct the rite of paired burying more specifically and draw conclusions about its origins. Based on the available data we can conclude that this ritual is unusual for traditional burial practices of the Yakuts of that time and is associated primarily with some extraordinary circumstances or mass disasters (epidemics, hunger and disease). Shared the tragic fate prevailed over tribal or family tradition that could be expressed in the burial in one coffin unrelated to each other people. This fact is evidenced by the preservation at the time of committing the burial of Patriarchal or maternal lineage, which represented a group of related families united exogamous ban to the ninth knee, i.e. had a common ancestor. Despite the fact that in the 18–19th centuries leading position in the society began to take forming small family and contacts with distant relatives was kept to a minimum, the full exclusion still hasn't happened yet. The look of feminine garments and jewelry talking about middle class of these people. However, these items are completely similar to the products from Central Yakutia and do not have significant differences. Special attention is paid to the work of two female jewelry decoration from the tombs – «kyabaka simekhe» and the necklace (looping torque). According to materials, their shape appeared, probably in the not too distant time (i.e. before the date of the entry of Yakutia into the Russian state), because their prototypes are not yet discovered during excavations of monuments of earlier eras. The presence of such things in the graves may indicate the commitment of the buried people to the traditional Yakut culture, despite their possible non-Yakut ethnicity.

Yakutia, Yakuts, paired burials, looping torques, «kyabaka simekhe», Sakha-French archaeological expedition, MAFSO

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