Large medieval burial ground discovered in Omsk region

Tara is a city located in the Omsk region and founded at the end of the 16th century. Thanks to the well-preserved cultural layer, archaeologists often manage to make unique finds in this area. So, this year, students of the Faculty of Historical and Political Sciences of Tomsk State University (TSU) during the summer excavations discovered a large medieval burial in the city cemetery, consisting of 90 graves and many household items.

Among the items found is a golden earring, a rare find for Orthodox burial grounds, where jewelry was usually not left. The students also discovered in the settlement layer a core for a squeaker, a weapon of the 17th century. Among other finds of the Tara expedition are coins, fragments of pottery, iron knives, horseshoes, playing chips and a cube.

“We cleared one of the skeletons and determined that it was a female burial. We found an Orthodox cross in her hand, or, as we call them, a “cross vest”, and when they turned the skull, they saw that underneath it lay a shiny gold earring in the form of a snake curled up into a ring, biting its own tail. The very image of a snake is very ancient and widespread… We can definitely say that this woman is clearly from a family that could afford to put a golden thing in the grave. To the question of what time the found burial dates back to – the 17th or 18th century, there is no definite answer yet – there are no mentions of it, descriptions, designations in documents and maps of that time or they have not been preserved.– says the head of the field practice, head of the Department of Archeology and Local History of the Faculty of Historical and Political Sciences of TSU Maria Chernaya.

All burials were located not in plank coffins, but in wooden decks, that is, in hollowed out tree trunks. At the same time, crosses-vests were on the chest of the dead and only one was put into the hand. There were several times fewer graves with vests than those buried, which reflects the common practice for that time – the absence of an obligatory rule to wear a cross, as well as the rule to put it in a grave.

The cemetery was located outside the walls of Tara, although at that time they were also buried inside the cities – near churches, next to residential buildings, and even under the floor of the house as an echo of the cult of ancestors – let the deceased protect his relatives. The depth of the graves was different – from 50 cm to 1-1.3 m, their orientation in space also varied. For example, in the Tara burial ground, burials are located perpendicular to each other – along the north-south and west-east lines.

According to the press service of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia.

Source: Автономная некоммерческая организация "Редакция журнала «Наука и жизнь»" by

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