A more recent, revised and updated version of this paper has been published (2019)

Yamna package

From Indo-European.info

Revision as of 17:26, 3 November 2017 by Admin (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

The 'Yamna package', as defined by Volker Heyd[Harrison and Heyd 2007][Heyd 2007] (combining his own and many other previous works), consists of the following eleven components:

The social sphere

  • The round barrow ("tumulus") as a personalised monument, often combined with an anthropomorphic stela reinforcing the personhood of the deceased.
  • Single burial with the deceased lying flexed on its back, often covered in red ochre, and in a deep rectangular pit.
  • Social position and gender are sistematically marked (less so in Bulgaria), with a wooden wagon marking an elevated social position (at the western edge, there is little grave equipment).
  • Craftsmen - especially metalworkers - have a special social status in the north Pontic region.
  • Hoarding metal objects begin again, with shaft-hole axes in the western Yamna area.

The technological sphere

  • Re-establishment of metallurgy of gold and copper, following a long decline after 3500 BC. A different 'Caucasian mettalurgy' consisting of smelting, working, and casting in two-piece stone moulds.
  • New weapon designs in copper: the shaft-hole axe and tanged metal dagger.

The economic sphere

  • The domesticated horse, important in a dedicated pastoral economy which raises herds of cattle and flocks of sheep for wool.
  • Wooden wagons placed in graves as social markers, the westernmost examples are graves of Placidol in northern Bulgaria.

The material sphere

  • The custom of using simple golden, electrum or silver hair rings, a distinctive bone toggle, and decorated bone discs
  • Widespread use of cord decoration on pottery; the common cross-footed bowls, copy models on the eastern Pontic steppes.


Examples of the 'Yamna package' components. Modified from (Harrison and Heyd 2007).

These components later evolved in western Europe (in the upper Danube), in combination with the 'Proto-Beaker package', into the classical Bell Beaker culture.

yamna-bell-beaker.jpg Yamna - East Bell Beaker migration 3000-2300 BC. Adapted from Heyd[Harrison and Heyd 2007]