Struggle Between Life and Death in Proto-Bactrian Culture Ritual and Conflict

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“Vladimir Ionesov has broken new ground with the findings and production of this book. For a long time we have awaited a systematic analysis of the Bactrian archaeological record, especially from what we may call ‘the pre-dawn of history.’ . . . now that we have Ionesov’s assessments of excavated findings we gain a much better sense of how urban (or fortress-city) life developed out of small-scale traditional societies. . . . The implications of Bactria’s ‘unearthed treasures’ for plotting these processes in the Middle East and Central Asia more generally are immense, allowing for a much better comprehension of the rise of he greater Mesopotamian city-states. . . He has established himself as an internationally reputed theorist of imitative ritual and he now enhances that standing further. In the light of the above, this book turns out to be a crucial text on archaic – or, to be more precise, late bronze age – religion. . . . I heartily recommend this volume to interested readers, who should include Indologists, Iranologists, and scholars in early Zoroastrianism, prehistorians, and classical archaeologists, as well as theorists and practitioners of comparative religion.” – Gary W. Trompf

“. . . he has collected rich material for understanding the cultural transformation and ritualization of conflict in transitional societies, both ancient and modern. . . . an original work of high quality, a valuable contribution to the study of ritual practice and social relations within transitional culture. The significance of the work can also be defined through the total change that takes place in Central Asian countries today. . . the author has given a clear analysis of Central Asian culture today and how it will develop tomorrow.” – Yuri F. Buryakov

“. . . original interpretation of conflicts in the changing society of Proto-Bactrian civilization. In his work the author has convincingly demonstrated how much the culturological approach can give to understanding the development of the proto-state transitional society. . . . The links between the search for ritual practice, concentration of power and compensatory functions of the social symbolism are very well constructed.” – Eleonora Dmitrieva

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface; Foreword
Introduction: Ancient Bactrian Region; Written Sources; Archaeological Sites; Sherabad Oasis; Bronze Age culture; Culture as Transitional Complex
Part I: History in Transition: Proto-State Formation; Central Asia between Tribal Society and Statehood; Social-Historical Situation in Bronze Age; Development of proto-Bactrian culture
Part II: The Archaeological Objects: Cemeteries of Sapalli Culture; Developments of burial Grounds; Mortuary Practice and its Archaeological Manifestations
Part III: The Ritual Process: Cenotaphs as Symbolic Complex; Imitative Ritual in Transitional Culture
Part IV: The Social Process: Proto-State Society in Northern Bactria; Proto-Bactrian Culture in Transition
Conclusion: Djarkutan as Early Urban Center within Transitional Time; Proto-Bactrian Culture and State Formation; Social Mixation and Intercultural Synthesis
Appendix; Bibliography, Indexes

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