Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Those who came from ancient times

May 19, 2015 Kurgan stelae are anthropomorphic stone stelae, images cut from stone, installed atop, within or around an ancient burial mounds. The stelae are also described as "obelisks" or "statue menhirs". Spanning more than three millennia, they are clearly the product of various cultures. The earliest are associated with the Pit Grave culture of the Pontic-Caspian steppe (and therefore with the Proto-Indo-Europeans according to the mainstream Kurgan hypothesis). There are Iron Age specimens are identified with the Scythians and medieval examples with Turkic peoples. Such stelae are found in large numbers in Southern Russia, Ukraine, Prussia, southern Siberia, Central Asia and Mongolia.

Anthropomorphic stelae were probably memorials to the honoured dead. They are found in the context of burials and funeral sanctuaries from the Eneolithic through to the Middle Ages. It was proved by historians that Kalmyks revered kurgan obelisks in their country as images of their ancestors, and that when a bowl was held by the statue, it was to deposit a part of the ashes after the cremation of the deceased, and another part was laid under the base of the statue. When used architecturally, stelae could act as a system of stone fences, frequently surrounded by a moat, with sacrificial hearths, sometimes tiled on the inside.
There are few such stelae in the back yard of Poltava regional museum. They attract many tourists who would like to touch a statue created by our ancestors thousand years ago.