(Chapter V, section 11)

The Bronze Age on the eastern plains

The remaining portions of Europe, for which there is skeletal documentation of Bronze Age date, may be studied as a single unit. This consists of the grassy plain which extends from northern Germany and the Baltic states, south of the forests, across Poland and southern Russia into Siberia. It must be remembered that during the Bronze Age this plain was drier than at present, and that the agriculture of the Neolithic farmers had been discouraged to a large extent both by drought and by the incursion of Battle-Axe people who had first appeared in the Late Neolithic in central and western Europe.

The evidence from Poland, although meager91 shows that the Corded concentration which had taken place some centuries earlier on Polish soil had yielded to the smaller dolichocephalic blend already observed in Austria and Bohemia. During the earlier Bronze Age, there had been a number of Bell Beaker settlers in Poland as well, who may also have left descendants.92

The Bronze Age Ukrainians, again, belonged to the same “Nordic” type, with a mean cranial index of 74,93 without the excessive vault height of the Austrian and Bohemian groups. In Russia the height is less than the breadth in most instances.

In the parts of southern Russia immediately north of the Black Sea, from the Kiev government eastward, Bronze Age remains have not been studied in a manner sufficient to permit the formation of adequate conclusions. What information is available shows that the population was presumablybly long headed and of tall stature.94 The same is true of the population of the northern slopes of the Caucasus, where the crania are for the most part characterized by exceptionally long faces, narrow noses, and vaults of considerable height, like the Corded crania farther west,95 although some Megalithic forms may also have been present. Some of the Caucasian crania, however, are those of small dolichocephals, and a few, for the most part females, are brachycephalic. In the latter part of the Bronze Age, the people on the northern slopes of the Caucasus practiced cranial deformation of the Hittite variety, which reached, in its southward diffusion, to Egypt.

To the east of European Russia, in western Turkestan and southern Siberia, there was a nucleus of Bronze Age civilization, which had cultural connections with the Danube, the Caucasus, Iran, and China.96 That the participants in this Bronze Age were men of European racial type is very apparent from the remarkable series of one hundred and fifteen adult crania from kurgans in the Minussinsk district of southern Siberia97 (see Appendix I, col. 31), near the headwaters of the Yenisei.

This country, which is now the home of nomadic tribes of Kirghiz and Kalmucks, was, as early as the second millennium before Christ, occupied by a population of purely European character. The series, coming mostly from the first millennium B.C., while reasonably homogeneous, shows as much variability as do most modern groups. The range of the cranial index includes all head forms, among which are a few planoccipital brachycephals, but the mean is dolichocephalic; similarly the faces are prevailingly long, the noses narrow. In general, although individual crania are as large and as long as the most extreme Corded form, the vaults are of moderate size, and the height is considerably less than the breadth.

In lowness of vault and breadth of face, the Minussinsk skulls resemble the Ukrainian Bronze Age group. On the whole, they form a far eastward wing of the typical Bronze Age population which reached from Austria and Bohemia to central Asia—and the term “Nordic,” in the skeletal sense, is as applicable in the east as in the west. One must expect regional differences in a racial type covering such an extensive area. In this case the difference is simply that the vaults are higher and the faces narrower in the west, as far as Poland, and the reverse from the Ukraine on eastward

The Andronovo or Minussinsk Kurgan culture lasted from about 1000 B.C. to 1 A.D., and was followed by other cultures, which lasted until the eighth century, when the Kirghiz came in.98

These later peoples introduced iron, and the habit of making plaster death masks. Not only do these masks represent in many cases a long-headed, narrow-nosed and often aquiline, and narrow-faced people, but the plaster contains in some instances blond hairs pulled out of the beard. The head hair, often preserved on the corpses, is usually brown.

During the fourth century A,D., the physical type definitely changed, as one can tell from the masks—the face is now wide and flat, the nose broad and flat, with a very low bridge. Eye slits are painted blue—and the hair blue with black lines.99 Thus not until after the time of the Huns were the Nordics of southwestern Siberia replaced by mongoloids.



91 Nine Bronze Age crania have been published by:
Czortkower, S., AnthPr, 1932, pp. 212—218.
Stojanowski, K., PAr, vol. 3, 1925—27, pp. 52—53.
Tur, Jan, Swiatowit, vol. 3, 1901, pp. 85—93.

92 Sedlaczek-Komorowski, L., BAPS, ser. B, vol. 2, 1932, pp. 253—257.

93 Debetz, G., AntrM, vol. 4, 1930, pp. 43—105.

94 Gochkevitch, quoted by Tallgren, A. M., ESA, vol. 2, 1926.
Rau, P., ESA, vol. 4, 1929, pp. 41—57.

95 Broca, P., BSAP, ser. 2, vol. 8, 1873, pp. 572—578.
Chantre, E., RDAP, ser. 2, vol. 4, 1881, pp. 247—254.
Smirnov, M., BSAP, vol. 12, 1877, pp. 541—553.
Virchow, K., ZFE, vol. 22, 1890, pp. 412 ff.

96 Tallgren, A. M., ESA, vol. 2, 1926.

97 Goroshchenko, K., Kurgannie cherepa Minusinskago Okruga, OMM, #2, 1900.
Debetz, C. F., AZM, #2, 1932, pp. 26—48.

Golomshtok, E., AA, vol. 35, 1933, pp. 319—322.

99 Golomshtok, E., BUMP, vol. 2, #4, 1933, pp. 40—45.