Afanasievo culture

Afanasievo culture
Afanasevo provisional.png
Alternative namesAfanasevo culture; Afanasevans
Geographical rangeSouth Siberia
Dates3300 BCE — 2500 BCE
Major sitesMinusinsk Basin
Followed byOkunev culture, Andronovo culture[1]

The Afanasievo culture, or Afanasevo culture (Russian Афанасьевская культура Afanas'yevskaya kul'tura; "[the] Afanasevan culture"), is the earliest known archaeological culture of south Siberia, occupying the Minusinsk Basin and the Altai Mountains during the eneolithic era, c. 3300 to 2500 BC. It is named after a nearby mountain, Gora Afanas'yeva (also known as Bateni).[2]

David W. Anthony believes that the Afanasevans were descended from people who migrated c. 3700–3300 BCE across the Eurasian Steppe from the Repin culture of the Don-Volga region (and possibly members of the neighbouring Yamna culture).[3] Because of its geographical location and dating, Anthony and earlier scholars such as Leo Klejn, J. P. Mallory and Victor H. Mair have linked the Afanasevans to the Proto-Tocharian language.[4][5][6][7]


Conventional archaeological understanding tended to date at around 2000–2500 BC. However radiocarbon gave dates as early as 3705 BC on wooden tools and 2874 BC on human remains.[8] The earliest of these dates have now been rejected, giving a date of around 3300 BC for the start of the culture.[9]

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