Kufterin V.V., Dubova N.A.

Palaeodemography of Gonur: a review

This paper outlines results of a palaeodemographic study on the Late Bronze Age skeletal sample from Gonur Depe — an ancient proto-urban center in the Murghab oasis (Southern Turkmenistan, 2300–1500 ΒΡ). The analysed sample consists of 4060 individuals (2245 from the Main and Royal necropolises, 1732 from the ruins of the palace-temple ensemble, 5 from the so-called «cemetery of the temenos», 60 from Gonur-20 and 18 from Gonur-21). The analysis includes computation of the standard palaeodemographic parameters; life tables and demographic curves for the total sample and separately for males and females are presented. The total Gonur sample is characterised by a close to normal sex ratio (with a slight predominance of females relative to males) and corresponds to the minimum «standard» infant mortality. The average age of death for adult males is 34.5 years, for females is 34.2 years, and for the total population (including children) — 26.2 years. Demographic patterns for samples from the Gonur necropolis (2245 individuals) and from the ruins of palace-temple ensemble (relatively late burials, 1732 individuals) are different. At the same time, the authors emphasised that all the groups of tombs from various parts of this site belonged to the representatives of a single archaeological population. The results of an intergroup comparison (using Principal Component Analysis) allows us to conclude that the demographic patterns of the Gonur Depe sample are close to those of skeletal population from such proto-urban centers as Altyn Depe (Southern Turkmenistan) and Sapallitepe (Southern Uzbekistan), as well as to the sample from the Elunin culture (Teleutskyi Vzvoz-1 burial ground). It is concluded that the studied skeletal population, according to paleodemographic data, demonstrates a relatively high living standard and a successful population. Moreover, the obtained results are important, because Gonur Depe materials can be taken as «reference» in modelling the demographic structure of the past human societies (in particular, those of the Bronze Age).

Key words: paleodemography, Bronze Age, Gonur Depe, Turkmenistan, Central Asia.


Pestryakov A.P., Grigorieva O.M., Pelenitsyna Y.V.

Age variability in the measurements of morphological features of heads in the modern Azerbaijani population

This article addresses age variability in some Azerbaijani cephalometric features, based on study of the population of two closely related and neighbouring villages (Lower and Upper Askipara). They represent the Azerbaijani enclave in the territory of Armenia. The majority of this population is native to the area. Research took place in 1985 and studied approximately 40 % of the adult population (equally men and women) using the parameters of programmes of ethnic anthropology. Attention was paid only to the measurement characteristics that are relevant in relation to their correlation with the age of the studied group (there were 11 correlations). Six of them characterize the skull, which is forming in ontogenesis by ossification of connective tissue the bubble (nota textus bulla). The other five characteristics are formed as a result of cartilaginous tissue substitution. The analysis of the studied group leads to the following conclusions. Age variability of some measured features of the head is detected. Age-related variability of the measured characteristics of the arched part of the skull usually showed a reliable negative correlation in their values with age. It means that the older generation had smaller values than the younger ones had. The values of the facial bone structure did not show such a clear correlation with age, except the zygomatic and mandibular diameters. They usually showed a small reliable positive correlation with age. So, these features had a larger value in older age than in younger. These results were observed in both men and women of both villages, but more clearly expressed in the population of Lower Askipara (this village is larger than Upper Askipara). Of all the studied signs the highest and most stable negative correlation with age showed the greatest head width, cephalic index, the degree of sphericity and the relative height of the cranial vault (pointer lipsiense). For a short time (about 50 years) variability of the metric parameters of the head were investigated in a small, isolated population of Azerbaijanis showing the same temporal vector, which is characteristic of evolutionary changes (secular trend) in a significant part of the population of Eurasia: brachycephalidae, spherisation of the cranium and the increase of the cranial vault. To determine at what age there was the greatest variability of va-lues, the study divided the population of both villages (separately by sex) into three age groups: younger age — from 19 to 39 years (born after 1945), average age — from 40 to 54 years (born between 1930 and 1945), older age — 55 years or more (born before 1930). In both men and women, the selected age groups were close in number. When the studied sample was divided into three age groups, it was found that the greatest variability of values and their correlation with age were recorded in both men and women in the younger aged group: 19–
39 years (born after 1945).

Key words: Azerbaijani population, brachycephalidae, spherization, Lower and Upper Askipara.