Architectural energetics for tumuli construction: The case of the medieval Chungul Kurgan on the Eurasian steppe

Publication date: November 2016Source:Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 75
Author(s): Jordan Pickett, John S. Schreck, Renata Holod, Yuriy Rassamakin, Oleksandr Halenko, Warren Woodfin
The present work introduces the first architectural energetics analysis of a medieval tumulus from the Eurasian/Pontic steppe. In contrast to New World earthworks, tumuli on the steppe were constructed 1) with sod taken from the environment immediately surrounding the construction site, 2) with the use of draft animals and metal tools, and 3) in identifiable phases as part of funerary rituals over a period of weeks or months. These variables introduce problems which are confronted through 1) the application of novel historically attested rates for construction and 2) the creation of new, replicable mathematical methods for modeling materials transport.