Srubnaya culture

The Srubnaya culture (Russian: Сру́бная культу́ра, romanized: Srubnaya kultura, lit. 'log house culture'), also known as Timber-grave culture, was a Late Bronze Age (18th–12th centuries BC) culture[1] in the eastern part of Pontic-Caspian steppe.


The name comes from Russian сруб (srub), "timber framework", from the way graves were constructed. Animal parts were buried with the body.


The Srubnaya culture is a successor to the Late Catacomb culture and the Poltavka culture,[1] as well as the Potapovka culture.

It occupied the area along and above the north shore of the Black Sea from the Dnieper eastwards along the northern base of the Caucasus to the area abutting the north shore of the Caspian Sea, west of the Ural Mountains to come up against the domain of the approximately contemporaneous and somewhat related Andronovo culture.

The Srubnaya culture is succeeded by Scythians.[1]


The economy was mixed agriculture and livestock breeding.


In a study published on 10 October 2015,[2] 14 individuals of the Srubnaya culture could be surveyed. Extractions from 100% of the males (six men from 5 different cemeteries) were determined to be of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a1. Extractions of mtDNA from fourteen individuals were determined to represent five samples of haplogroup H, four samples of haplogroup U5, two samples of T1, one sample of T2, one sample of K1b, one of J2b and one of I1a. The list of 14 surveyed individuals:

  • Kurgan burials at Spiridonovka IV cemetery:
    • kurgan 1, grave 11, sample I0360, male - Y-DNA R1a1 (SRY1532.2) and mtDNA U5a1
    • kurgan 2, grave 5, sample I0361, male - Y-DNA R1a1a (M17) and mtDNA H5b
    • kurgan 1, grave 6, sample I0359, female - mtDNA U5a2a1
    • kurgan 1, grave 15, sample I0354, female - mtDNA U5a1
    • kurgan 2, grave 1, sample I0358, female - mtDNA H6a1a
  • Kurgan burials at Spiridonovka II cemetery:
    • kurgan 1, grave 1, sample I0430, male - Y-DNA R1a1a1b2a2a (Z2123) and mtDNA H3g
    • kurgan 1, grave 2, sample I0431, female - mtDNA H2b
    • kurgan 11, grave 12, sample I0421, female - mtDNA H3g
  • Kurgan burials at Barinovka I cemetery:
    • kurgan 2, grave 17, sample I0423, male - R1a1a1b2 (Z93) and mtDNA J2b1a2a
    • kurgan 2, grave 24, sample I0422, female - mtDNA type T1a1
  • Kurgan burials at Novosel’ki cemetery:
    • kurgan 6, grave 4, sample I0232, male - R1a1a1b2 (Z93), mtDNA U5a1f2
  • Kurgan burials at Uvarovka I cemetery:
    • kurgan 2, grave 1, sample I0424, male - R1a1a1b2 (Z93); mtDNA T2b4
  • Kurgan burials at Rozhdestvenno I cemetery:
    • kurgan 5 grave 7, sample I0234, female - mtDNA K1b2a
    • kurgan 4 grave 4, skeleton 2, sample I0235, female - mtDNA I1a1

Another 2017 genetic study, published in Scientific Reports, found that the Scythians shared similar mitochondrial lineages with the Srubnaya culture. The authors of the study suggested that the Srubnaya culture was ancestral to the Scythians.[3]

In 2018, a genetic study of the earlier Srubnaya culture, and later peoples of the Scythian cultures, including the Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, was published in Science Advances. Six males from two sites ascribed to the Srubnaya culture were analysed, and were all found to possess haplogroup R1a1a1. Cimmerian, Sarmatian and Scythian males were however found have mostly haplogroup R1b1a1a2, although one Sarmatian male carried haplogroup R1a1a1. The authors of the study suggested that rather than being ancestral to the Scythians, the Srubnaya shared with them a common origin from the earlier Yamnaya culture.[4]


  1. J. P. Mallory, "Srubnaya Culture", Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
  2. Mathieson, Lazaridis et al. (2015). "Eight thousand years of natural selection in Europe". pp. Supplementary Information. Archaeological context for 83 newly reported ancient samples. Pages 12–14. bioRxiv 016477.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. Juras, Anna (March 7, 2017). "Diverse origin of mitochondrial lineages in Iron Age Black Sea Scythians". Nature Communications. doi:10.1038/srep43950.
  4. Krzewińska, Maja (October 3, 2018). "Ancient genomes suggest the eastern Pontic-Caspian steppe as the source of western Iron Age nomads". Nature Communications. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat4457.
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