Burial Mounds in the Southern Caucasus: Mapping the Kurgans of Uzun Rama Plateau, Central Azerbaijan (4th to 1st Millennium BCE)

Research project T3_2

The tradition of burying the dead in burial mounds (kurgans) is inscribed in the Southern Caucasus landscape. These mounds represent an ideal archive for the detection of developments of social inequalities between the fourth and the first millennium BCE.
In the framework of the joint project on Eurasian burial mounds of ‘ROOTS of Inequalities’, this project investigates the Uzun Rama Plateau (Azerbaijan, Goranboy province), which is characterized by large communal kurgans dated to the Kura-Araxes period, as well as smaller mounds of the Late Bronze/Early Iron Age.
Initial survey and topographic investigation documented 205 kurgans. First detailed topographic mapping along the northern margin of the plateau already recorded the high dimensional and morphological variability of the various kurgans.
The project will conduct detailed topographic mapping and combine it with high-resolution geophysical investigations to record the dimensions of all preserved kurgans as well as the position and size of their internal chambers. Furthermore, this investigation will document the different mound morphologies, enabling us to suggest dating parameters. The work will offer a comprehensive and high-resolution record of a group of kurgans concentrated in a relatively small area, supporting the reconstruction of the local burial practices from the Early Bronze Age through to the Iron Age.

Cooperation Partner:
Bakhtiyar Jalilov, Azerbaijan National Academy of Science, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Stadt (Land).
Further cooperation: Nicola Laneri, Center for Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies (CAMNES), Florence (Italy).
 
ROOTS of InequalitiesAn overview of the bare landscape of the Uzun Rama Plateau. The entire area was dedicated to housing the dead from the fourth to the first millennium BC (photo: A. Ricci).
 
ROOTS of InequalitiesThe detailed topographic mapping of the central area of the Uzun Rama Plateau documented a concentration of at least 12 kurgans (map: J. Kneisel and A. Ricci).

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Project by Andrea Ricci aricci@roots.uni-kiel.de
and Jutta Kneisel jutta.kneisel@ufg.uni-kiel.de

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