Kirillova I.V., Spasskaya N.N. 2015. Horse remains from the Gnezdovo archaeological complex, Smolensk Region, Russia // Russian J. Theriol. Vol.14. No.1: 85–104 [in English].

Irina V. Kirillova [], “Ice Age” Museum, All-Russian Exhibition Centre, Bld. 71, Moscow, 129223, Russia;

Natalia N. Spasskaya [], Zoological Museum of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Bol’shaya Nikitskaya st., 6, Moscow, 125009, Russia.

ABSTRACT. The paper summarizes results of the archaeozoological and taphonomic studies of the osteological materials from floodplain settlement (complexes “Nastil 2”, “Fire 1”) and burial mounds of the medieval Gnezdovo. Mostly cranial remnants of the complex “Nastil 2” are characteristic of so-called “storages” sacrifice, which is recorded for this site for the first time. Animal bones of the “Fire 1” layer were heavily affected by the fire that changed bone tissues in various degrees depending on the temperature. Horse remains of the burial mounds Ts-255 also bear traces of a fire affect, which could be indirect (for example, through a thin soil layer). It changes previous idea of the way the inhumation by indicating cremation. Horse remains of the Gnezdovo show differences in the size class and proportion of skeletal elements. Gracile first phalanges of the horse of the Ts-191 burial indicate their belonging to a southern race. This feature is absent in other remains thus suggesting heterogeneity of the horse breed composition in the Gnezdovo. This is consistent both with the heterogeneity of ethnic composition and with the presence of imported artifacts in the burials. Specificity of the Gnezdovo burials with horses (a separate horse burials; a burial of a rider with his horse; a horse belonging to one owner) demonstrates a special relationship of the residents with riding horses.

KEY WORDS: burial, horse, Gnezdovo archaeological complex, Middle Ages.

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