To establish an absolute chronology, 11 samples representing nine tombs were radiocarbon-dated. ) has been archaeologically verified at a number of sites from Kazakhstan and Mongolia to northeastern China (4, 14, 29, 30).Dated material includes charcoal (twigs of spp., and wood of Maloideae spp. The Liushui bronze weaponry, particularly the very distinctive rhombic arrowheads with one side spur, and horse harnesses (Fig.The goods with which the deceased were endowed are limited in type, quantity, and quality.Sheep/goat bones in or beside vessels are the remains of food gifts, whereas single horse skulls or mandibles with or without a bronze bit and cheek pieces placed next to the human body might represent highly valued riding horses.2 ) and bracelets (found in 2 tombs), and a mirror (found in 1 burial).A socketed bronze axe and lance point are singular finds from tomb M55, which also stands out for containing a higher quantity of goods (Fig. In 4 tombs, iron fragments were found and assumed to be parts of knives, but the severe state of corrosion did not allow more exact determination.Except for the rhombic socketed arrowheads, all other bronze weapons, horse harnesses, and ornaments have been found across the northern Chinese steppes from Xinjiang to the Korean Peninsula (32, 33).
Radiocarbon dates place the onset of the burial activity between 1108 and 893 B. (95% probability range) or most likely between 1017 and 926 B. Observed similarities in the characteristic weapon types, metal horse harnesses, and “animal style” decorations were further used to stress the cultural unity of the Eurasian steppes and to coin widely used terms, such as “Scythian world” and “Scythian triad” (discussion and references in 8).During three summer campaigns, the entire graveyard with 52 earth pit tombs containing about 160 skeletons of men, women, and children has been excavated. About half of the graves had an additional small stone circle on the eastern side in which ashes, pot sherds, and burned bones of sheep/goats were found.These finds indicate ritual feasting, which occurred some time after the funeral ceremony. In only eight cases (∼15%) was a single person buried in a supine position with legs drawn up and head facing toward the east.Ornaments include very distinct gold and silver earrings with one biconical end, gold or silver beads, and a gold pectoral (Fig. Necklaces are usually made of white stone or shell beads; nephrite and agate beads are rare.Stone pegs accompanied by pieces of graphite appear similar to modern “eyebrow pencils,” although their exact use is not known.