Ariets Research Blog

May 18, 2009

Physical type of the Saka

Filed under: -Scythians, Indo-Europeans, Physical anthropology — Ariets @ 5:11 pm

Physical type of the Saka. In Dendogram I the data is taken from male craniometry. The series is divided into two large branches. The group on the right represents skulls with the most sharply manifested Europoid traits. It includes a series of Bronze Age material from the lower Volga river, morphological similar skulls dating to the early Iron age from the southern Siberia Tagar culture, from Ulan Gom in Mongolia, mid-1st millenium BC Scythian material from kurgans in the Dnieper River region, and one of the craniological variations of the Amu Darya Saka. In general, all of the skulls are dolichocephalic, with relatively broad and low faces, low orbits, and sharply profiled facial features. During the Bronze Age this physical type was characteristic of the western steppes populations, occupying the areas north of the Caspian and Black seas. Conditionally we will call this type “Western”.

The series grouped in the left branch of the dendogram is characterized by a different physical type. These are mesobrachiocephalic skulls with a varying degree of face flatness, relatively high faces, high orbits, and a smooth macrorelief of the crania. These facial traits are well represented in Karasuk graves found in the Minusinsk Basin. The same craniological variations are basic to the populations who left behind Saka necropoleis in Kazakhstan, in the foothills of the Altai Mountains, the southern Ural steppe region, and the lower Syr Darya River. This variation has also been registered in some burial complexes on the left bank of the Amu Darya River. Because the peoples of the group are located geographical to the eastern steppes, we conditionally call this type “Eastern“.

The female series of Dendogram 2 reports the same distributional pattern as the male series. This distribution is influenced by the greater flatness of their facial features as compared to those of the males, and by a greater tendency towards brachiocranial type and greater facial broadness. That is, the patterns are affected by a complex of traits which testify to the presence of a Mongoloid admixture, indicating that they probably originated in Central Asia.

Source: Some ethnogenetical hypotheses, Leonid T. Yablonsky (found at AnthroScape forum).

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