Archaeologists of the South Ural State University have studied female burials of Sarmatian nomads dating back to the early Iron Age (from the 5th to the 3rd century BC), in which weapons were found, they recognized Izvestia.
Scientists came to the conclusion that, most likely, the buried women knew how to handle it, used it in battle, and could well be the prototypes of those Amazonian warriors about whom the ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote. However, they did not constitute any separate military formation or a special layer of society.
“Female burials with weapons were found in mounds of all status levels – from modest mounds to “royal” tombs. This partly answers the question often asked by researchers – did the Amazons constitute a certain social stratum or armed formations on an ongoing basis. Obviously, the women of the early nomads of the Southern Urals, who were buried with weapons, were neither one nor the other and had different social status, belonged to different strata of society, from the elite to ordinary nomads, ”said a senior researcher at the Scientific and Educational Center for Eurasian Studies SUSU Natalia Berseneva.
From more than 500 known burials of this period, scientists have selected 24 that meet the criteria for the study. Some of them were individual, others were paired, others were collective. Weapons were found in all these graves. These were mainly quivers with arrows, but there were also bladed weapons. Most of these women died between the ages of 25 and 35. Some of them were buried with children. Weapons were found both next to the noble dead and in the graves of ordinary nomads.
Only one quiver, found in the burial of the Amazons with high social status, may have been part of the funeral gifts and performed ritual functions. However, the rest of the weapons did not differ in their characteristics from those items that were found in the male burials. And they were located in the same way as in the graves of men. Quivers were most often placed on the left side of the body, less often on the right, on the chest, under the head or between the legs of the deceased. Next to the weapons were usually items of women’s use: beads, mirrors, spindles, dishes.
Items found in the graves suggest that many women knew how to handle ranged weapons, and some even cold ones. In the conditions of the nomadic life of that time, such skills increased the chances of women and their offspring to survive.
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