Some aspects of the postcranial morphology of the Ural-Mugodzhar population in the Late Bronze Age

Grigorev A.P., Zhanuzak R.Zh.




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The paper reports on the osteometric data of skeletons from the burials of the Kozhumberdy group of the Late Bronze Age Alakul Culture (Southern Ural). The research is aimed to reveal the character of the variability of osteometric features of the sample group and its comparison with synchronous groups of the steppe zone of Eurasia. Twenty-four male and seventeen female skeletons were investigated. Taking into account the poor preservation of the material, a new method of identification of sex, developed by I.M. Sineva, was applied. The results of the study of the series by statistical methods (principal component analysis, nonparametric Mann Whitney criterion) are presented. A high degree of morphological diversity of the variants of the skeletal development under the dominance of a rather gracile osteological complex within the Bronze Age of the steppe Eurasia is observed. Several individuals, characterized by the increased size of the skeleton, are distinguished. The similarity of the main part of the studied sample group with the synchronous population of the steppe-forest-steppe zone of the Cis-Urals and Upper Ob Basin is revealed. At the same time, the Kozhumberdy group morphologically differs from the agricultural population of the Bronze Age in Central Asia. These results indicate the main direction of the morphological links of the Kozhumberdy group of the Alakul Culture with the sample groups of the Sintashta Culture of the Cis-Urals and Andronovo Culture of Western Siberia. There is also present an insignificant component associated with the Early Bronze Age population of the steppe Volga-Ural region (the Yamnaya Culture). The assumption made previously on the basis of the study of craniological materials about a single morphological basis for the formation of the population of the Alakul and Srubnaya Cultures of the Bronze Age is not confirmed. The main component in the formation of the physical appearance of the Srubnaya population is the local Volga-Ural population. As the morphological basis for the formation of the Alakul Ural-Mugodzhar group we consider the Sintashta population of the Cis-Urals.

Keywords: anthropology, Late Bronze Age, osteometry, morphology, postcranial skeleton, Ural-Mugodzhar region, Alakul Culture.


Acknowledgements. The authors are grateful to Candidate of History V.V. Tkachev (Orenburg) for his advice on the specifics of the archaeological material and Doctor of Biology V.V. Kufterin (Moscow) for a detailed discussion of the results of this work.

Funding. This work was supported by Russian Science Foundation grant No. 21-78-20015 Technologies of mining and metallurgical production of the Bronze Age in the evolution of the cultural and historical landscape of the Urals region. The work was carried out within the programme-target financing of the Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, IRN project OR11465466, theme: The Great Steppe in the context of ethno-cultural research.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 05.12.2022

Article is published: 15.03.2023


Grigorev A.P., Samara State University of Social Sciences and Education, Maxim Gorky st., 65/67, Samara, 443099, Russian Federation, E-mail:,


Zhanuzak R.Zh., Institute of Archaeology named after A.Kh. Margulan, KN MES RK, Dostyk, 44, Almaty, 050000, Kazakhstan, E-mail:,