In the epoch of Early Iron (1-st millenium B.C.- the middle of the 1-st
millenium A.D.) wide Eurasian steppes from Mongolia in the East to Pannonia in
the West were inhabited mainly by nomadic Iran-spoken tribes, which had common
name - Early(ancient) nomads.
Written sources of ancient authors, mainly Greek and Roman, mention many
tribes, which inhabited the steppes of Eurasia in the epoch of Early Iron.
Kimmeris, scythians and meots in the North beach of the Black Sea, massagets,
sakas and usuns in the steppes of Kazakhstan and Middle Asia were the most
famous and numerous among them. the tribes of savromats and their descendants
sarmats, which led a normad's life in the steppes of the South Urals and Low
Volga area, were one of great unions of nomads in that period, which were
mentioned by ancient authors.
History and culture of savromat and sarmat tribes, as well as their west and
east neighbours scythian, sako-massagetic, scythian-siberian tribal unions are
comparatively well-known due to rich and many-sided archaeological material, and
also a few ancient written sources. The available information shows that the
society of ancient normads was at the stage of decomposition of primitive
communal relations, forming of early-class state unions. Property and social
stratification of nomads strikingly appeared in magnificient funeral structures
with high-skilled jewelry. Scythian "tsar" barrows of Northen Prichernomorie
such as Solokha, Chertomlyk, Kul-Oba, Tolstaya Mogila and others became famous
throughout the world. Pazyryk, Bashadar and Tuektin barrows of Altai, Besshatyr
barrows of Semirechie, "Ardjan" barrow in Minusinsk hollow and "Issyk" barrow
near Alma-Ata with its "gold" man acquired no less fame.
Among savromat and sarmat antiquities of the South Urals and Low Volga area
comparatively large barrows that reached the height of 2-3 metres and more were
investigated as well. In spite of rich finds they could not be compared with the
barrows of Scythian and Sako-massagetic nomadic aristocracy. It gave many
scientists the reasons to consider that property and social stratification in
the nomadic society of the Urals and Povolzhie had not acquired such perceptible
scale as it was in Prichernomorie, Middle Asia, Kazakhstan and Altai, and that
sarmat and savromat tribes were in a lower stage of economic, social and
cultural development with their West and East neighbours.
The central Filippov barrow is dated by the beginning of the IV-th century
B.C. and belongs to Early-Sarmatian (Prokhorov) culture. The most reasonable
argument testifyed to this data is an iron two-blade sword found at the bottom
of dromos with other articles of weaponry and harness. The sword has a straight
navershie, bent at obtuse angle crossing and, according to Smirnov's
classification, it belongs to so-called transitional type (from Savromatian to
early-Sarmatian). K.F.Smirnov convincingly showed that all swords of such type
are dated by the IV-th century B.C. Gold plates of wooden dishes from Filippovka
(in their form, subjects and manner of making) have much in common with
analogous things from Sarmatian memorials of the Don river,"tsar" barrows of
Scythia, which are dated by the IV-th - the III-rd centuries B.C. There are much
resemblance between ceremonial weaponry of central Filippov barrow (the sword
and the dagger) and the weaponry of Sakian barrow Issyk. They repeat each other
in the form of navershies and crossings of gold encrustation of the handles and,
undoubtedly belong to one and the same time. But it is not the V-th century B.C.
as the explorer of the barrow Issyk K.A.Akishev suggests, but later period - the
IV-th century B.C.
Materials of other investigated Filippov barrows have important meaning
for dating of the central barrow. 17 barrows from 25 were investigated. On
the whole, both burial ceremony and objects of the barrows are identical.
They all were erected in one and the same time , at least in 30-50 years.
Only one grave (grave 2, barrow 23) dated by more ancient time, probably
the V-th century B.C.,is an exeption, which is seen in the objects and in
stratigraphical data. The material of other graves doesn't deviate from
the framework of the IV-th century B.C.
Among the articles of weaponry the iron swords of "transitional" type -
straight or bent navershie and bent at obtuse angle crossing - are the most
reliable material for dating. They were found in two central graves of the
barrow. Bronze mirrors with long handles and wide bulge along the edge are
characteristic for the beginning of the IV-th century B.C. They were also found
in two graves. Bridle collections decorated with bronze plates in wild-animal
style, remains of quivers with iron and bronze three-blade tips of arrows,
temporal pendants and various beads presented in Filippov barrow also belong to
the IV-th century B.C.
It must be emphasized that some investigators suggest more ancient
dating of Filippov barrow, at least its central barrow - the V-th century
B.C. Really, some objects such as silver rhytons, gold two-handle jug,
iron swords and daggers with crossing in the form of a butterfly have many
analogies in complexes of the V-th century B.C. However we must take into
account that gold and silver dishes might be in use for rather long time.
The time of its making and putting into the grave might not coincide. The
swords with crossing in the form of a butterfly are not strictly dated by
the V-th century as well, as they are frequently found with the swords of
"transitional" type, which undoubtedly refer to the IV-th century B.C. The
necessaty of more accurate definition and even revision of dating of the
materials of Savromat-Sarmatian time in South Urals has come to a head. It
especially concerns the articles of weaponry.
Fillipov burial ground , especially its central barrow is undoubtedly a
prominent memorial of ancient nomads' culture in South Urals. It is a nekropol
of generic and probably tribal clan, which occupied high positions in leadership
of military alliance of ancient South Urals' tribes on the border of the V-th
and the IV-th centuries B.C.
At the same time, the discrepancy in dating of the central barrow and the
burial ground as a whole (the end of the V-th century B.C., the border of the
V-th and the IV-th centuries B.C., the beginning of the IV-th century B.C.) does
not have important meaning because it does not influence on determination of
place and role of the tribes, which left us this memorial, in historical events
in Eurasia in Scythian time.