Architectural and planning design of Sintashta-Petrovka settlements and the issue of the Bronze Age warfare

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh
Address: United States
Affiliation: Institute of the Earth Cryosphere, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation
Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh
Address: United States
Journal nameRossiiskaia arkheologiia
EditionIssue 3

The research aims to explore rationality that ordered the construction of the Late Bronze Age Sintashta-Petrovka nucleated villages. For a long time, it has been the conventional knowledge that the settlements were fortresses that served to protect people in the hostile environments. However, careful consideration of main attributes of their fortifications and natural environmental settings allows us to suggest a different interpretation. From our point of view, the systems of walls and ditches had to be constructed to protect the villages from the seasonal floods and harsh winter conditions. This protection was vital for keeping the livestock and allowing of its successful reproduction and adding surplus. Our conclusion is supported with a number of important observations including a relatively low average height of the walls; lack of standardization in the construction of ditches; and intentional choice of the least protected spots like bottoms of the rivers’ valleys. Finally, we argue that social complexity that allows such public projects had roots not in the hostile environments, but in pastoral subsistence system. Successful management of herds permitted some people to achieve the elevated social statuses and gave them the power to organize the life of others.

KeywordsBronze Age, settlement archaeology, landscape archaeology, Sintashta, Petrovka, fortress, political anthropology
Publication date15.10.2018
Number of characters1308
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