The Minusinsk Basin is located where China, Mongolia, Siberia and Kazakhstan meet. Enclosed, but broad, and rich in copper and other minerals, the valley offers missing links between the prehistory of China and that of the greater Russian steppes. In the late Bronze Age the material from Minusinsk was important for the origins of bronze metallurgy in China, and in the Iron Age the area was a focus for the development of that equestrian mobility which was to become the elite way of life for much of the Eurasian steppe for more than a millennium.
We are privileged to publish the following two papers deriving from research at the Institute for the History of Material Culture at Saint Petersburg, which give us the story so far on the archaeology of this remarkable place. In The emergence of the Karasuk culture Sophie Legrand discusses the people who occupied the Minusinsk Basin in the Bronze Age, and in The emergence of the Tagar culture, Nikolai Bokovenko introduces us to their successors, the horsemen and barrow-builders of the first millennium BCE.