Glazkov culture

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Bronze Age

Near East (c. 3300–1200 BC)

Anatolia, Caucasus, Elam, Egypt, Levant, Mesopotamia, Sistan
Bronze Age collapse

South Asia (c. 3000– 1200 BC)

Ochre Coloured Pottery
Cemetery H

Europe (c. 3200–600 BC)

Aegean, Caucasus, Catacomb culture, Srubna culture, Beaker culture, Unetice culture, Tumulus culture, Urnfield culture, Hallstatt culture, Apennine culture, Canegrate culture, Golasecca culture,
Atlantic Bronze Age, Bronze Age Britain, Nordic Bronze Age

China (c. 2000–700 BC)

Erlitou, Erligang

arsenical bronze
writing, literature
sword, chariot

Iron Age

Glazkov culture is archaeological culture of ancient Tungus racially Mongoloid tribes in the Bronze Age (18th-13th centuries BCE), spread in the Baikal area. The Glazkov Tunguses came to Siberia from the south, displacing Yukagir tribes. Glazkovs is a conditional name for the group of the ancient Tungus tribes inhabiting in the 2nd millennium BCE (Glazkov time) the headwaters of Angara river.[1] Glazkov culture is named after a suburb of the city Irkutsk, where it was first found.[2]


Archeologists distinguish in the 2nd millennium BCE Southern Siberia two synchronous independent cultures: Glazkov in the east and Andronov in the west. "In the Baikal territory lived a Glazkov group of related tribes, most likely the ancestors of modern Evenks, Evens or Yukagirs. Their culture was very close to the culture of the inhabitants of the upper Amur and Northern Manchuria, and of Mongolia to the Great Wall of China and Ordos. It is possible, hence, that all this extensive area was populated by peoples culturally related with the hunter and fisher tribes of Neolith and Early Bronze... probably speaking related tribal languages".[3] Later the carriers of the southern part Glazkov culture tribes converged with some ancestors of the Huns, and intermixed with them.[4] In the 18th century BCE the Andronovs seized Minusinsk depression and almost encountered the Glazkovs on the Yenisei. Glazkovs and Andronovs played a secondary role in the 2nd millennium BCE Southern Siberia. Sayano-Altai mountains, Minusinsk depression and Tuva were occupied by Dinlins. Dinlin type "is characterized by the following attributes: average height, frequently tall, a stout and strong constitution, an oblong face, white skin with rosy cheeks, blond hair, a straight protruding nose, frequently eagle-type, light eyes".[5] In the Glazkov time, both Glazkovs and Andronovs superimposed on the aborigional Southern Siberian Dinlin population.

The Glazkov time ended with advent of the Huns in the Karasuk period. Archeologists found that the Huns of the 12th century BCE created a Hunnish empire. At that time the Huns occupied steppes from Hebei to lake Barkul, and already were attacking China. Their ethnological description in the Chinese annals states that "They have no houses and do not work the land, and live in tents... They respect elders and at certain time gather to arrange their affairs".[6] After crossing the desert, they gained control over isolated carriers of Glazkov and Andronov cultures.[1]

The advent of the Huns was caused by climatic changes. The Hunnish nomadic cattle breeding by the 12th century BCE was so developed that Huns in search of pastures spread to the north, with the animal husbandry providing them sufficient draft force. The petroglyphs recorded a covered wagon "ship", drawn by the oxen, for the horses it was too heavy and clumsy, on which the ancestors of the Huns crossed over "the sandy sea". The climate change at the turn of the 2nd millennium BCE brought changes in distribution of vegetation, initiating process of climatic cooling and wetness that lasted until the middle of the 1st millennium BCE, changing the borders of the Gobi desert. The "taiga sea" was spreading south, forest-steppes turned into dense thickets, undermining the economic base of Siberia inhabitants, but benefiting the southern nomads. By the 3rd century BCE the Huns already were the masters of all the steppe space from the Gobi desert to the Siberian taiga. On the banks of the Yenisei and Abakan rivers next to a Glazkov timbered log hut appeared round yurt of the nomad. Together with cultural there was also a racial mixture, in the Karasuk epoch in the burials started appearing Mongoloid, narrow-faced N. Chinese type and Caucasoid brachycranial type of southern origin.[7]


The elements of Glazkov material culture are stitched birch bark boat, dishes of birch bark and wood, portable cradles, a sawhorse-like contraption for carrying load on the back, composite bow, short strong spear with a massive long tip, three-component divaricating dress that allows to dry by the fire without having to completely undress. Glazkov Tunguses had copper knives, bronze fishing hooks, and ceramics.

Timeline of Scythian kurgans in Asia and Europe (Per Fig.6 of Alekseev, A. Yu. et al., "Chronology of Eurasian Scythian Antiquities" [8]


Glazkov burials brought new funeral traditions, the deceased are oriented down river, instead of geographical direction, crouched position, and intentionally broken artifacts, likely to protect the living from the danger presented by a deceased.

The end of the Glazkov time in the southern portion of Baikal eastern area is brought by influx of people from the Tuva and north-western Mongolia, who brought a distinctive tradition of stone kurgans with fences (chereksurs), which resulted in a formation in the Central Asian steppes of a Slab Grave Culture that became an eastern wing of a huge nomadic world in Eurasia, which produced in the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE a bright civilization known as Scythian-Siberian World.

Related cultures

Glazkov culture had clearly expressed variations, bringing about a number of hypotheses about ethno-cultural situation in the Baikal area, all of them concurring that all population groups are of the animal husbandry type. These cultures are Daur, Slab Grave Culture, and Palace Type burials, seen by some researchers as the earliest predecessor of the Slab Grave Culture [9]


Hunting, fishery and gathering


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.2, (In Russian)
  3. Okladnikov A.P., "Neolith and Bronze Age of Baikal", Part 3, Moscow-Leningrad, 1955, p. 8, in Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.2, (In Russian)
  4. Okladnikov A.P., "Neolith and Bronze Age of Baikal", Part 3, Moscow-Leningrad, 1955, p. 9-10 (In Russian)
  5. Grumm-Grjimailo G.E., "Western Mongolia and Uryanhai territory", vol. 2, Leningrad, 1926, p. 34-35 (In Russian)
  6. Cordier H., "Histoire generale de la Chine", vol. 1. p. 205.
  7. Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Ch.2, (In Russian)
  8. Alekseev A.Yu. et al., "Chronology of Eurasian Scythian Antiquities Born by New Archaeological and 14C Data", © 2001 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona, Radiocarbon, Vol .43, No 2B, 2001, p 1085-1107
  9. "History of Buratia Culture", Ulan-Ude, 2003

See also