Middle Bronze Age societies and barrow line chronology. A case study from the Bukivna ‘necropolis’, Upper Dniester Basin, Ukraine

Publication date: July 2018Source:Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 95
Author(s): Przemysław Makarowicz, Tomasz Goslar, Jakub Niebieszczański, Mateusz Cwaliński, Igor T. Kochkin, Jan Romaniszyn, Sergiy D. Lysenko, Tomasz Ważny
The area of the Upper Dniester Basin in Western Ukraine comprises one of the largest concentrations of barrows with the exception of the steppe zone. This article concerns the absolute chronology of one mound group in Bukivna, built in the Middle Bronze Age by the people of the Komarów culture. It also focuses on reconstructing the spatial arrangement of barrows and explaining the creation of their specific linear alignment. A Bayesian statistical analysis of radiocarbon AMS dates collected from five excavated tumuli revealed the chronological and spatial organization of the Bukivna barrows. Moreover, a seriation and correspondence analysis was performed on pottery from the barrows to expose the chronology of specific ornamentation groups. This research allowed for the scenario of the emergence of mounds in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC to be reconstructed. In light of the presented data, it is theorized that barrows were arranged in linear alignments along selected hill zones, although they did not necessarily proceed in a continuous or defined direction. Structuring of the funerary space resulted from the extension of mound groups, which probably represent family sub-necropolises. Linear arrangements of mounds were derived by merging the particular groups; barrows were erected in areas apart from the ‘planned’ structure, usually during different periods (but sometimes simultaneously). It was only after some time that the final alignment formation was accomplished, thus ending the process of structuring particular fragments of the barrow landscape.