Kurgan pottery: this was very primitive, made from clay mixed with crushed shells and sand. The pots were decorated with incision-marks made by a triangular stick, with pit impressing (?), cord impressing and impressing with a stick wound with cords.

The Kurgan settlements came in two types. The first is a simple village, usually located on a river terrace; there would be ten to twenty small, rectangular, semi-subterranean houses with pitched roofs supported by thin wooden posts. There would be stone-walled hearths, usually one hearth per house, but situated either indoors or just outside. A very large village could have up to two hundred houses.

The second type is a hill-fort placed on a steep river bank in a place difficult of access – usually a promontory at the juncture of two rivers. Note: both types of settlement had the advantage of being defensible; so the Kurgan people had to put up with being raided by their neighbors, and probably raiding them right back. That is, they were well acquainted with war. The semi-subterranean houses sound like the underground homes of the Armenians and Gobi desert peoples, which existed right up to modern times; the Armenians lived underground by reason of the cold of their winters, and the Gobi people by reason of the intense heat of their summers. Also, in the Russian steppe as late as 1900, the Cossacks lived in semi-subterranean houses. They did it to escape the terrible storms and blizzards of the winter months, taking underground with them all their livestock and fuel, and many a disgusted British traveler attests to it.

Some examples of excavated Kurgan sites:

Hill-fort One (Miklajlovka, where the Podpil'na River meets the Dnieper): a settlement guarded by massive stone walls 3 meters high, built of about ten courses of large stones. It had rectangular houses totally unlike the river village houses: built with timber walls on massive stone foundations (the last up to one meter in height) and two or more large interior rooms. In the last period of usage, the fort became very large, girdled with huge walls and ditches, and held houses with stone foundations and wattle-and-daub walls.

Hill-fort Two (Skelja-Kamenolomnja, on promontory overlooking Dnieper River): it was built on a site with cliffs on three sides, and a thick stone wall on the slope approaching the fourth side. Within the boundaries were rectangular houses on stone foundations. Also found were workshops for fabricating polished stone tools, battle-axes and mace-heads etc.

Hill-fort Three (Liventsovka at Rostov on the Don): this stood on a high hill surrounded by a massive stone wall, with ditches both inside and outside the wall. There were square or circular hearths in the houses.

Hill-fort Four (Nagyarpad, southern Hungary): this housed an estimated 250 people, in fifty small houses standing in rows along a paved road leading to the top of a steep hill. Two large wooden houses, probably royal, stood on the terrace at the terminus of the road.

These hill-forts are the prototypes for Greek, Illyrian, Celtic, Baltic, Germanic etc castle-hills et al. Walls and citadels built from massive stones are characteristic of the earliest historical times; the proper term for such work is Cyclopean, from the ancient Greeks who were convinced only giants could have built on such a scale!


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