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The Sredny Stog culture (named after the Ukrainian village of Serednyi Stih where it was first located, for which Sredny Stog is the conventional Russian-language designation) dates from the 4500-3500 BC. It was situated just north of the Sea of Azov between the Dnieper and the Don. One of the best known sites associated with this culture is Dereivka, located on the right bank of the Omelnik, a tributary of the Dnieper, and is the most impressive site within the Sredny Stog culture complex, being about 2,000 square meters in area.

It seems to have had contact with the agricultural Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in the west, and was a contemporary of the Khvalynsk culture. There is a suggestion (by Yuri Rassamakin) that it should be considered an areal term, with at least four distinct cultural elements. The foremost expert on this culture (Dmytro Telegin) has divided Sredny Stog into two distinct phases. It was succeeded by the Yamna culture.

Inhumation was in a ground level pit, not yet capped by a tumulus (kurgan). The deceased was placed on his back with the legs flexed. Ochre was used. Phase II also knew corded ware pottery, which it may have originated, and stone battle-axes of the type later associated with expanding Indo-European cultures to the West. Most notably, it has perhaps the earliest evidence of horse domestication (in phase II, ca. 4000-3500 BC) with finds suggestive of cheek-pieces (psalia).

In the context of the modified Kurgan hypothesis of Marija Gimbutas, this pre-kurgan archaeological culture could represent the Urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language. Paleolithic Continuity Theory [1] associates Pit Grave and Sredny Stog Kurgan cultures with Turkic peoples.

Notes

  1. ^ Mario Alinei (2003) “Interdisciplinary and linguistic evidence for Paleolithic continuity of Indo-European, Uralic and Altaic populations in Eurasia”.

Sources

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