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Sintashta Culture

Indo-European Sintashta Culture Site

This culture existed from 2100 BC to 1800 BC. It was present around modern Chelyabinsk Oblast of Russia.

The earliest known chariots have been found in Sintashta burials and the culture is considered a strong candidate for the origin of this warfare technology, which spread throughout Europe, Anatolia and Egypt. Sintashta settlements are also remarkable for the intensity of copper mining and bronze metallurgy carried out there, which is unusual for a steppe culture.

The Sintashta Culture emerged from the interaction of two antecedent cultures, the Poltavka Culture and the Abashevo Culture. Because of the difficulty of identifying the remains of Sintashta sites beneath those of later settlements, the culture was only recently distinguished from the Andronovo Culture. It is now recognised as a separate entity forming part of the "Andronovo horizon".

Its immediate predecessor in the Ural-Tobol steppe was the Poltavka Culture, an offshoot of the cattle-herding yamna Culture horizon that moved east into the region between 2800 BC and 2600 BC. Several Sintashta towns were built over older Poltavka settlements or close to Poltavka cemeteries, and Poltavka motifs are common on Sintashta pottery.

Sintashta material culture also shows the influence of the late Abashevo Culture, derived from the Fatyanovo-Balanovo Culture, a collection of CORDED WARE Culture settlements in the forest steppe zone north of the Sintashta region that were also predominantly pastoralist.

The ancestors of Fatyanovo-Balanovo originated in the South-Eastern Poland Carpathia region (3000 BC Chłopice-Vesele Culture, the ancestors of Proto-Slavic Mierzanowice Culture) where the first R1a-Z93 samples were found. From there next to the Fatyanovo group towards north went the migration of the Corded Ware Culture Baltic group, moving towards the region of Lithuania and Latvia and creating there the Eastern Baltic Corded Ware Culture. On the basis of numerous old Proto-Indo-European words in the Baltic languages it is even possible to assume that this migration happened jointly with the Fatyanovo people (the future inhabitants of India and Persia, the Indo-Iranian Aryans - the creators and users of Sanskrit and Avestan languages) and a long close neighborhood of the Balts with them. It made it easier for the Balts to retain many elements of the Proto-Indo-European vocabulary and culture in common with the Sintashta.

A proof of the theory above in linguistics is a word "to swim" that is uniquely the same in only Slavic and Sanskrit languages, which kept its unchanged form for 5000 years. It is Sanskrit: प्लवते (plavate), Old Church Slavonic: плавати (plavati), Russian: пла́вать (plávatʹ), Ukrainian: пла́вати (plávaty), Slovene: plávati, Czech: plavat, Old Polish: pławać / spławiać, Slovak: plávať. Other word present only in Slavic languages and Sanskrit is "game", namely Sanskrit: क्रीडा (krida; krīḍā́) / खेला (khela = *ghera) and in Polish: gra, Slovak: igra. In Sanskrit "games" in plural form are क्रीडाः (krIDAH). Before the Grimm's Law the cognates are also Old English: flotian (plotian) and Old Norse: flota (plota) but those are not their unchanged forms.

Other word like that is Sanskrit: विश्व (víśva, víśvaḥ) and Avestan: vispa both meaning "everything" with a cognate only in Slavic: вьсь (vĭsĭ), vas, wszystko but also in Old Prussian: wissa, visi, Lithuanian: visas, viska.

💀 Sintashta people buried their dead in a grave in a form of a kurgan (tumulus). Animals sacrificed as grave offerings were mostly 🐴 horses (up to eight of them in a single grave). There were also found various stone, copper, bronze weapons and silver, gold ornaments. It has been noted that the kind of funerary sacrifices evident at Sintashta have strong similarities to funerary rituals described in the Rig Veda. 💀

Many males from this culture belonged to Y-DNA haplogroup R1a-Z93 and Q1a.


It was the culture ancestral to the Sintashta and Abashevo cultures that flourished from 2900 BC to 1900 BC.

Saag et al. 2020 examined 24 individuals of the Fatyanovo Culture. All 14 male samples belonged to subclades of Y-haplogroup R1a-M417. Six pf these could be further specified to haplogroup R1a2-Z93. The 24 samples of mtDNA extracted belonged to various subclades of maternal haplogroups U5, U4, U2e, H, T, W, J, K, I and N1a. Both the paternal and maternal lineages of the examined Fatyanovo individuals were characteristic of the Corded Ware Culture. They were mostly of steppe ancestry with slight Early European Farmer (EEF) admixture.

They were most closely related to Late Neolithic and Bronze Age populations of Central Europe, Scandinavia and the eastern Baltic, and also grouped together with modern Northern and Eastern Europeans. Around a third of the samples had blue eyes and/or blond hair, while the rest had brown eyes and black or brown hair. The genetics of the people of the Fatyanovo Culture was found to be substantially different from preceding Volosovo Culture, with whom they do not appear to have mixed. Their EEF admixture has not been detected in the earlier Yamnaya Culture, suggesting that the Fatyaovo people did not directly descend from the Yamnaya. The authors of the study suggested that the Fatyanovo Culture emerged through a rapid migration towards the north-east from the Middle Dnieper Culture of modern-day Ukraine and Belarus.

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