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Immigration and transhumance in the Early Bronze Age Carpathian Basin: the occupants of a kurgan

  • Claudia Gerling (a1) (a2), Eszter Bánffy (a3), János Dani (a4), Kitti Köhler (a3), Gabriella Kulcsár (a3), Alistair W.G. Pike (a2), Vajk Szeverényi (a5) and Volker Heyd (a2)...

You never know until you look. The authors deconstruct a kurgan burial mound in the Great Hungarian Plain designated to the Yamnaya culture, to find it was actually shared by a number of different peoples. The Yamnaya were an influential immigrant group of the Late Copper Age/Early Bronze Age transition. The burials, already characterised by their grave goods, were radiocarbon dated and further examined using stable isotope analysis on the human teeth. The revealing sequence began with a young person of likely local origin buried around or even before the late fourth millennium BC—a few centuries before the arrival of the Yamnaya. It ended around 500 years later with a group of different immigrants, apparently from the eastern mountains. These are explained as contacts built up between the mountains and the plain through the practice of transhumance.

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