A.E. Astafyev1 and E.S. Bogdanov2 1Mangystau State Historical and Cultural Reserve, 3rd Microdistrict 66, Aktau, 130001, Republic of Kazakhstan 2Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
We describe artifacts from a burial from the period of Barbarian Invasions on the northeastern Caspian coast (Mangystau Region, Republic of Kazakhstan), near the contemporaneous settlement of Karakabak. The principal finds, representing the Shipovo horizon, suggest a date of late 5 th to early 6th centuries. They reveal a mixture of Sarmatian and Late Sarmatian features with certain innovations. The origin of the latter is discussed. Metal artifacts belonging to the polychrome style (cloisonne work) make it possible, for the first time, to include the Mangystau Peninsula in the distribution range of the “Pontic fashion”. We propose that these artifacts are of local origin, and that the craftsman replicated certain standards without the appropriate tools. The technological characteristics of the pendant and rings had been observed by previous scholars in late Eastern European artifacts associated with the Byzantine school. Their dates (5th-6th centuries) correlate with those of the fifth stylistic group of polychrome artifacts described by I.P. Zasetskaya. Our findings suggest that Karakabak, a craft and trade center, was the place where Byzantine-style cloisonne artifacts were manufactured. These were supplied to nomadic tribes inhabiting the Aral-Caspian area during the Hun and post-Hun periods.