Site Overviews: Azerbaijan: Hasansu Kurgan: Bronze & Iron Age Cemetery
The remains of a kurgan found near Hasansu in western Azerbaijan reflect Middle Bronze Age cultures in the region. The kurgan is similar to those of the Tazakand and Trialeti cultures that spanned Azerbaijan and Georgia from approximately 2,200 to 1,700 BC. It is notable for the fascinating orientation of 71 pottery vessels, adjacent to a deceased juvenile, arranged in distinct parallel lines along two walls inside an excavated kurgan. The shoulders of many of the pots were decorated with etched bands of chevrons and other formal designs. A scattering of domestic animal bones may be from food provided for the deceased in the afterlife. Skulls and leg bones of bulls had been placed in two corners of the burial chamber, a deliberate arrangement perhaps intended to represent a bull-drawn chariot or cart. Other finds included bronze pins, baskets, and perforated beads. Several kurgans excavated at Hasansu are similar to others discovered in the 1980s in the Shamkir region of western Azerbaijan.
The discovery of this kurgan in the AGT Pipelines corridor illustrates the burial practices of the Middle Bronze Age, which had previously been poorly documented in this area. Some archaeologists view the introduction of burials in the style of Hansansu to this region as evidence of foreign populations moving into the region, or of an internal evolution in burial practices.
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