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Nature volume 128, pages 190192 (01 August 1931) | Download Citation



South Russian Steppe Graves.—The chronological significance of the ‘Copper Age’ graves in the Pontic steppes is discussed by Prof. V. Gordon Childe in Man for July. Both their relative and absolute ago are ambiguous. Recently, A. W. Schmidt, of Leningrad, who distinguishes three chronological stages, has assigned the ‘Early Kuban phase’ to tho first half of tho third millennium B.C. and the ‘Middle Kuban’ to 2300–1600 B.C. A. M. Tallgren, on tho other hand, would abbreviate the first phase (Maikop and ‘royal kurgans’) and synchronise it with the Danish Passage-Graves epoch with a date rather after 2000 B.C. The later phase (‘catacomb graves’) would be parallel to the Long Stone Cists of Denmark, and occupy from 1800 to 1400 B.C. Recent excavations in Denmark and Macedonia have produced decisive evidence. A hammer-headed pin of bone or metal assigned to the Copper Age of the Middle Kuban phase is peculiar to South Russia from the Dnieper to the Caspian. A bone hammer-pin, with all the peculiarities of the South Russian type, was recently found in a passage-grave on Lolland. It belongs to tho second of the four phases of the Passage-Grave epoch. Further, an unfinished stone battle-axe of a peculiar form has been discovered in the early Macedonian stratum at Hagios Mamos in Chalcidice. It agrees in smallest detail with one from a grave at Kon-stantinova near Piatigorsk, associated with grave goods typical of the Middle Kuban phase. Middle Kuban and early Macedonian thus overlap. The early Macedonian is dated about 2000 B.C., which confirms both the third millennium for the Middle Kuban and about 2000–1800 B.C. for the Passage-Grave period in Denmark.

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