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Srubna (Timber-grave) culture (c. 1800-1200 BCE)

Quick Facts

  • Succeeded to the Late Catacomb culture, the Poltavka culture, and the Potapovka culture. The Srubna culture may represent the southward expansion of the Abashevo and Sintashta-Petrovka cultures (both carrying predominantly R1a-Z93 male lineages), who are linked to the Proto-Indo-Iranian people. This would have occured soon after the invention of the spoke-wheeled horse chariots used for war c. 2000 BCE in the the Sintashta-Petrovka culture.
  • Extended all over the steppe and the forest-steppe zones, above the northern shore of the Black Sea from the Dnieper eastwards along the northern base of the Caucasus to the area abutting the north shore of the Caspian Sea, west of the Ural Mountains.
  • Contemporaneous and somewhat related Andronovo culture.
  • Dwellings were partially sunken in the ground and built with wooden posts and gable roofs. Walls were made of wood, turf, and occasionally stone.
  • Srubna pottery was characterised by geometric designs in the form of horizontal and diagonal lines, zigzags, herringbone patterns and other geometric shapes. The upper part of vessels were sometimes embellished by a variety of ornament signs in the form of corded patterns, crosses, solar signs, rectangles, as well as zoomorphic and anthropomorphic images. Some researchers regard them as primitive pictographic letters.
  • The economy was based on a mix of cereal agriculture and livestock breeding. Cattle were the dominant domesticated animals, followed by horses. Many villages had a blacksmith and a metallurgical foundry. The metallurgical industry was based on the mining of copper-bearing sandstones in the Urals (Kargaly field) and the Donets Ridge (Bahmutskiy field).
  • The dead were inhumed in timber-framed (or cруб in Russian) graves inside kurgans (burial mounds). Sacrificed animals were buried with the body.
  • The Srubna culture could possibly be ancestral to the Cimmerians and/or the Mycenaeans.
Reconstruction of a dwelling from the Srubna culture (photo by Vodnik from Russian Wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0)
Pottery from the Srubna culture (photo by EvgenyGenkin - CC BY 2.5)
Knives from the Srubna culture (photo by EvgenyGenkin - CC BY 2.5)

Historical context of the Srubna (Timber-grave) culture

Map of middle Bronze Age cultures in Europe between 2000 and 1500 BCE - Eupedia

Genetic Analysis


MtDNA samples from the Srubna (Timber-grave) culture
Hg N1a R0/HV H HV0/V J T1 T2 U2 U3 U4 U5 K I W X Others
N=14 0 0 5 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 4 1 1 0 0 0
% 0% 0% 35.5% 0% 7.5% 7.5% 7.5% 0% 0% 0% 28.5% 7.5% 7.5% 0% 0% 0%

The following mtDNA and Y-DNA samples were tested by Mathieson et al. (2015).

Samples from the Volga-Ural region (Samara)

Sample Y-DNA mtDNA Location Date
I0232 R1a1a1b2 (Z93) U5a1f2 Novoselki, Samara 1850-1200 BCE
I0234 - I1a1 Rozhdestveno, Samara 1850-1600 BCE
I0235 - K1b2a Rozhdestveno, Samara 1850-1600 BCE
I0259 - U5a2a1 Spiridonovka IV, Samara 1850-1200 BCE
I0260 R1a1 (M459) U5a1 Spiridonovka IV, Samara 1850-1200 BCE
I0261 R1a1a (L168) U5a1a Spiridonovka IV, Samara 1850-1200 BCE
I0354 - U5a1 Spiridonovka II, Samara 2016-1692 BCE
I0358 - H6a1a Spiridonovka IV, Samara 1913-1629 BCE
I0421 - H3g Spiridonovka II, Samara 1850-1600 BCE
I0422 - T1a1 Barinovka I, Samara 1850-1200 BCE
I0423 R1a1a1b2 (Z93) J2b1a2a Barinovka I, Samara 1850-1200 BCE
I0424 R1a1a1b2 (Z93) T2b4 Barinovka I, Samara 1850-1200 BCE
I0430 R1a1a1b2a2a (Z2123) H3g Spiridonovka II, Samara 1850-1600 BCE
I0431 - H2b Spiridonovka II, Samara 1850-1600 BCE


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