Late bronze age petroglyphs of unyuk mountain, in the Minusinsk Basin

Y. N. Esin, S. G. Skobelev

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This study introduces a new southern Siberian rock art site, situated on the Unyuk Mountain, in the Minusinsk Basin, and studied in 2016-2017. Stylistically, the main petroglyphs date to the Late Bronze Age, i. e. late 2nd to early 1st millennia BC. Of special interest are images of oxen with ropes fixed in their noses. Such petroglyphs are rare in that region. In one case, the ox is tied to a pillar; in the other case, a man leads it. The composition consisting of a man and an ox walking in one direction is repeated thrice. All the known petroglyphic images of a man holding a rope attached to an ox's nose were found on the right bank of the Yenisei. This may be due to the cultural and economic specificity of the southeastern, forest-steppe part of the Minusinsk Basin. At the same time, these images may be a local variant of the composition "man walking with an ox", which occurs mainly in more southerly areas of the Altai-Sayan. Another rare petroglyph found on the Unyuk Mountain shows a pillar with a triple top. Its parallels, found at other petroglyphic sites in the Minusinsk Basin, are described. They may refer either to everyday practice or to beliefs about the dead person's travel to the nether world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalArchaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Bull
  • Late Bronze Age
  • Minusinsk Basin
  • Ox
  • Petroglyphs
  • Ritual pillar
  • Southern Siberia
  • petroglyphs
  • ritual pillar
  • ox
  • bull




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