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List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2019. Vol. 27

Two Old Turkic Runic Inscriptions on Spindle-Wheels from the Territory of Western Baikal Region: the History of Finds and Their Historical and Cultural Significance

V. V. Tishin

An attempt to summarize data on study of two inscriptions made in Old Turkic runic writing on spindle whorls found in the Western Baikal region at the beginning of the 20th century (during the archaeological excavations organized by Berngard E. Petri) is presented. These two inscriptions, came from the Narin-Kunta village surroundings and Utu-Yelga place, near Shokhtoi ulus, respectively, are the rare Old Turkic runic writing monuments found on archaeological objects in the territory of the Western Baikal region. Such fact makes them unique among the other runiform inscriptions of the region are traditionally included in the Lena-Baikal territorial group of Old Turkic runic writing monuments. After the first attempts to read the inscriptions made in the 1920–40s, researchers haven’t actually return to those monuments, however, sometimes partially involving their data in Turkic studies. Now, the objects with inscriptions analyzed are considered lost. It makes possible to work with the inscriptions only in a few photographs. In this article, author's view to read one of the inscriptions based on the new identification of signs is presented. Lower chronological boundary of their creation can be outlined in the 9th century. There is no need to associate the origin of the texts with the local population of the Western Baikal region. Despite the insufficient archaeological study of its territory, there are some opportunities to identify the historical and cultural context of the creation of these monuments. First of all, the petroglyphic and iconographic materials represented by the rock carvings, being both “tamgha” signs and drawings respectively, make it possible to confidently assume the close contacts of the Baikal population in the Old Turkic period with the population of the Khakass-Minusinsk depression are so-called Yenisei Qïrqïz. The few archaeological data do not contradict this. Meanwhile, the functional purpose of the objects containing inscriptions, that are spindle whorls, is ascertained not only by their forms, but also by the content of one of the inscriptions. The finding out of the manufacturing material of the spindle whorls, which turned out to be Siberian coal, traditionally incorrectly denoted in some publications as “jet”, suggests that it was clearly of local origin. The last fact gives reason to believe that the inscriptions were created precisely in the region of their finding.

About the Authors

Tishin Vladimir Vladimirovich, Candidate of Sciences (History), Senior Researcher, Institute for Mongolian Studies, Buddhology and Tibetology SB RAS; 6, Sakhyanova st., Ulan-Ude, 670047, Russian Federation, tihij-511@mail.ru

For citation

Tishin V. V. Two Old Turkic Runic Inscriptions on Spindle-Wheels from the Territory of Western Baikal Region: the History of Finds and Their Historical and Cultural Significance. Bulletin of the Irkutsk State University. Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series. 2019, Vol. 27, pp. 36–55. https://doi.org/10.26516/2227-2380.2019.27.36 (in Russ.)

Baikal region, spindle whorls, Old Turkic, Runic writing monuments, tamgha, Yenisei Qïrqïz

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