Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


The megalithic past of the Bronze Age kurgans of the North Pontic Region


Biology Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Life Sciences


The Early Bronze Age (EBA) burial mounds (kurgans) in the western part of the North Pontic Region (NPR) display a tendency to be erected over earlier megalithic ritual constructions. The initial purpose of these megalithic structures might have been cosmology-related. In succeeding time periods the initial astronomic purpose could have been forgotten and these megalithic sites became designated at sacred places suited for distinguished burials. Megalithic elements comprising the initial constructions became incorporated into the subsequent burials. The Revova kurgan from western NPR is one such construction. It was erected over a megalithic structure in a shape of a tortoise with the stone elements of the construction being astronomically aligned. An assembly of disarticulated human remains deposited in the center of the construction dated to the Eneolithic (4200 BC). On the other hand, the layout of stones comprising the Tortoise appears to most accurately line up with the movement of celestial objects as they appeared on the sky 6300 BC. Mitochondrial DNA lineage extracted from the remains was characteristic to the Mesolithic/Neolithic hunter-gatherer populations from northern Europe as well as Bronze Age groups from south Siberia.

Conference Name

Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists

Conference Location

Pilsen, Czech Republic

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