Chernyakhov culture

Location and Nomenclature
– Chernyakhov culture encompassed regions of Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania.
– The name Chernyakhov is the transliteration from Russian for an archaeological site near Kyiv, Ukraine.
– Other spellings include Cherniakhiv (Ukrainian) and Czerniachów (Polish).
– The culture is also named after Sântana de Mureș, a cemetery site in Romania.
– The dual name reflects past preferential use by different schools of history.

– Scholars debated the ethnic affinity of people in the Chernyakhov zone.
– Soviet scholars saw it as the reflection of the Proto-Slavs, while western historians attributed it to the Goths.
– The origins of Slavic culture may be connected with the areas of the upper Dnieper River basin.
– The Chernyakhov culture represents a cultural interaction of diverse peoples, predominantly those existing in the region.
– Both inhumation and cremation burials were practiced, with grave goods varying over time.

Ceramic Wares
– Pottery in the Chernyakhov culture was predominantly wheel-made and made of finer clay.
– Hand-made pottery showed greater variety in form and sometimes had incised linear motifs.
– Roman amphorae were also found, suggesting trade contacts with the Roman world.
– There was a small presence of hand-made pottery typical of western Germanic groups.
– The presence of distinct pottery suggests the presence of Germanic groups.

– The Chernyakhov people were primarily involved in the cultivation of cereals, especially wheat, barley, and millet.
– Ploughshares, sickles, and scythes were frequently found, indicating agricultural practices.
– Cattle breeding was the primary mode of animal husbandry, with limited horse breeding in the open steppe.
Metalworking skills were widespread, and local smiths produced many implements.
– There is evidence of production specialization in some areas.

– The Chernyakhov culture ended in the 5th century due to the arrival of the Huns.
– The collapse of the culture was attributed to a disruption of the hierarchical political structure.
– Ethnic distinction persisted among the autochthonous elements after the demise of the Gothic elite.
– The rise and expansion of the early Slavs played a role in the decline of the Chernyakhov culture.
– The collapse was not explained in terms of population displacement but rather changes in political structure.Sources: