Craniological data on the recent population compatable with paleoanthropological material is of a great significance for solving the problems of racial and ethnic genesis. Until nowadays this important source on Turkic-speaking population of the northern Altai has been practically absent. To make up for this deficiency the author collected the craniological data on the Bachatian Teleuts, Shortzs, and Kumandins. These materials have been supplemented by the paleoanthropological series of the Old Turkic time which was recently obtained by archaeologists in the vast area of Western-Siberian forest-steppe zone.

New materials allow us to examine the questions concerning the localization of the northern Altai groups among the racial types of Southern and Western Siberia and, in combination with historico-ethnographical, archaeological, and linguistic data, would contribute to resolving the problem of their ethnogeny. In particular, the anthropological data gives us the possibility to study the issues of origin of the aboriginal population inhabiting the northern foothills of the Altai, as well as anthropological composition of the population of the Western-Siberian forest-steppe during the Old Turkic time.

Complex approach with application of data obtained by other disciplines (history, ethnology, archaeology, linguistics) is an indispensable condition for the successful resolution of the problems concerning the origin of populations.

Abundant information on the northern Altai groups was collected by the participants of the academic expeditions in the XVIII century (I.Georgi, P.S.Pallas, I.Gmelin, V.Verbitsky, V.V.Radlov, and others). L.P.Potapov made a significant contribution to the historico-ethnographical study of the northern Altai groups [1957; 1969]. His works based on the historical, ethnographical, linguistic, and other sources demonstrated the extreme complexity of the ethnic composition of the modern population in the northern Altai. Paleoethnographical reconstructions made by L.P.Potapov cover the period from the first part of the I millennium A.D. to the recent times and reflect the ethnogeny of the Altai people.

Archaeological data of the Old Turkic time is very important for the reconstruction of the ethnic history of the northern Altai groups. Archaeological studies have established wide distribution of sites attributed to the so called Srostki Culture in the Western-Siberian forest-steppe and contiguous territories at the end of the I millennium A.D. General and particular questions on the history of the Srostki Culture were examined by M.P.Gryaznov, V.A.Mogilnikov, D.G.Savinov, S.V.Neverov and others.

Extensive anthropological study of the aboriginal population of Southern Siberia based on the modern methods was carried out for the first time by A.I.Yarkho in 1924-1927. On the basis of the investigated material A.I.Yarkho had worked out the classifiction of the antropological types of the population of the Altai-Sayanian Upland. The Uralian, South-Siberian, and Central-Asian anthropological types had been isolated. A.I.Yarkho attributed almost all the northern Altai groups to the Uralian anthropological type. The materials collected by A.I.Yarkho more than 50 yeras ago still constitute the main source on the anthropology of the northern Altai groups.

Due to the archaeological investigations carried out at different times the paleoanthropological data on the Old Turkic population of the Upper Ob Region and the Kuznetsk Hollow were obtained. As the craniological analysis made by G.F.Debets and V.P.Alexeev [Дебец Г.Ф., 1948; Алексеев В.П., 1960; 1963] has shown, the population of two these regions belonged to the mixed variants of the European-Mongolian origin. Their European admixture goes back to the population of earlier epochs.

The craniological materials under analysis in this work have been mainly collected in the later cemeteries excavated by the author. The materials on the modern population were grouped with regard to ethnographical and linguistic data. In accordance with the archaeological data on the local variants of the Srostki Culture, the medieval series have been grouped. In sum, the material analysed in the work comprises the following number of skulls and burials ( in brackets):

Table 1

Modern groups Medieval groups
Northern Shortzs 44(1)
Southern Shortzs 41(4)
BachatianTeleuts 77(1)
Lower Kumandians 22(1)
Kyzylians 104(1) Barnaul-Kamenskian Region 5 (1)
North-Western Altai 29 (1)
Tomsk-Ob Region 13 (1)
Barabiansk forest-steppe 12 (1)
Omsk-Irtysh Region 11 (3)
Total 228 (8) Total 70 (7)


Original craniological data on the Northern and Southern Shortzs, Bachatian Teleuts, and Kumandians are presented in the Tables 2-3.

Craniologically, both male and female skulls of the Northern Shortzs are characterized by mesocrania with medium sizes of longitudinal, transverse, and height diameters; relatively narrow and moderately inclined forehead; moderately wide, long, orthognant face markedly profiled especially at the level of the Zygo-maxillar points; the canine tooth fossa of medium depth; medium mezoconch orbits; mezorinian nose; wide noseband of a moderate height; small projection of nosial bones.

The series of skulls on the Southern Shortzs, Bachatian Teleuts, and Kumandians replicate the characteristics of the Northern Shortzs.

Comparison between these craniological series, conducted by mean quantity of the characteristics, shows that the intergroup swing is not large. At the same time, there are some differences between the skulls of the northern Altai groups: extreme sizes can be observed more often in the Kumandians on the one hand, and in the Shortzs on the other. The male Kumandian skulls are the most gypermorphous on the scale of the northern Altai groups. They are characterized by the largest diameters of the cerebral box, as well as by a wider and higher face. Male skulls of the Southern Shortzs, on the contrary, differ from the other groups by smaller absolute measurements of skull, smaller height and breadth of facial skeleton. The Northern Shortzs and Bachatian Teleuts share the most similarity and occupy the intermediate position between the Southern Shortzs and Kumandians.

Table 2.

Mean measurements of male skulls of the northern Altai groups.

Features Northern Shortzs Southern Shortzs Bachatian Teleuts Kumandians Kyzylians
1. Longitudinal diameter 178.9(17) 180.5(24) 182.(41) 183.2(11) 179.3(50)
8. Transversal diameter 139.9(17) 137.7(23) 142.8(42) 142.8(11) 144.8(50)
17 Height diameter 134.3(16) 136.3(24) 134.0(40) 137.5(11) 131.9(50)
88:1 Cranial index 78.2(16) 76.4(23) 78.5(41) 77.9(11) 80.9(50)
55. Skull basis length 100.9(16) 100.8(24) 100.3(40) 102.4(11) 99.5(50)
9. Minimum frontal breadth 93.7(19) 93.4(23) 92.9(41) 93.8(12) 94.9(50)
32. Angle of frontal bone 83.2(8) 83.2(22) 81.1(42) 83.9(11) 82.0(50)
40. Face basis length 100.2(8) 96.1(18) 98.5(25) 102.4(11) 97.9(36)
45. Bizygomatic diameter 133.3(7) 133.6(22) 135.9(41) 137.2(11) 138.2(50)
48. Upper facial height 73.7(9) 74.4(17) 74.9(25) 76.6(9) 72.1(38)
45. Nosal breadth 25.4(13) 25.4(24) 24.8(42) 26.1(12) 25.1(50)
52. Orbital height 35.0(13) 34.0(24) 33.8(42) 32.9(13) 33.6(50)
52:51 Orbital index 84.4(13) 79.4(24) 78.9(42) 76.1(13) 76.8(50)
SS. Symotical height 3.3(11) 2.8(22) 3.8(42) 3.2(13) 2.9(49)
SS:SC Symotical index 42.2(11) 41.5(22) 48.3(42) 43.1(13) 40.3(49)
DS. Dacrial height 10.1(11) 9.9(21) 10.1(42) 10.0(13) 9.6(49)
DSC Dacrial index 49.2(11) 46.4(21) 50.8(42) 46.8(13) 46.1(49)
72. Total facial angle 83.7(7) 86.8(20) 86.0(29) 87.9(9) 85.4(39)
74. Angle of alveolar part 79.8(6) 83.5(17) 78.2(25) 81.9(9) 77.0(37)
77. Nase-malar angle 141.1(17) 140.7(23) 143.5(42) 142.7(13) 145.0(49)
zm' Zygo-maxillar angle 129.3(11) 127.9(21) 131.8(41) 130.4(13) 133.4(49)
75(1). Angle of nose bulging 21.0(7) 22.2(16) 23.6(28) 23.3(9) 20.7(38)

Table 2.

Mean measurements of female skulls of the northern Altai groups.

Features Northern Shortzs Southern Shortzs Bachatian Teleuts Kumandians Kyzylians
1. Longitudinal diameter 172.8(20) 175.6(17) 172.3(35) 169.0(9) 171.0(54)
8. Transversal diameter 136.8.(19) 137.2(17) 137.1(34) 136.9(9) 137.1(54)
17 Height diameter 127.7(13) 132.1(16) 127.4(34) 130.0(7) 125.8(54)
8:1 Cranial index 79.4(19) 78.2(17) 79.5(41) 81.0(9) 80.3(54)
55. Skull basis length 93.8(13) 97.2(16) 95.0(33) 95.5(9) 94.3(54)
9. Minimum frontal breadth 92.0(19) 90.8(17) 90.7(35) 90.0(9) 90.2(54)
32. Angle of frontal bone 87.1(12) 86.3(15) 84.9(34) 84.6(8) 83.1(54)
40. Face basis length 93.1(9) 92.8(11) 93.2(9) 95.5(6) 93.0(40)
45. Bizygomatic diameter 127.3(12) 126.5(16) 125.7(33) 127.2(8) 127.4(53)
48. Upper facial height 69.8(12) 70.0(11) 69.6(29) 67.3(7) 69.2(41)
45. Nosal breadth 25.0(12) 24.7(15) 24.5(34) 24.9(8) 24.5(53)
52. Orbital height 33.1(14) 33.6(15) 33.2(35) 32.3(8) 34.1(54)
52:51 Orbital index 80.7(14) 80.1(15) 81.8(35) 80.2(8) 82.5(54)
SS. Symotical height 3.2(14) 2.1(16) 3.4(35) 3.7(9) 2.6(53)
SS:SC Symotical index 35.8(14) 31.1(16) 42.5(35) 41.6(9) 34.1(53)
DS. Dacrial height 9.0(13) 8.2(15) 9.4(34) 9.3(9) 9.0(53)
DSC Dacrial index 43.8(13) 39.8(15) 48.0(34) 47.(9) 44.5(53)
72. Total facial angle 85.8(11) 87.2(12) 85.5(28) 85.8(6) 84.7(44)
74. Angle of alveolar part 78.4(11) 82.1(11) 78.2(28) 77.5(6) 73.8(40)
77. Nase-malar angle 141.1(14) 141.5(17) 143.2(34) 144.5(9) 144.9(54)
zm' Zygo-maxillar angle 132.1(10) 131.8(12) 132.5(34) 130.6(8) 134.2(54)
75(1). Angle of nose bulging 22.1(14) 18.2(2) 20.9(27) 19.7(6) 17.9(43)

Comparison of female skulls demonstrates an opposed picture.The most gypermorphous are the skulls of the Southern Shortzs, while the Kumandians are distinguished by the smallest measurements of the cerebral box and facial skeleton. On the whole, the differences observed are insignificant. All the groups are similar first of all by the ratio of the main diameters of cerebral box, width and height of face, angle of nose bulging, as well as by the features characterizing the horizontal profiling of face. They all have mesocranial cerebral box with medium sizes of longitudinal and transversal diameters and large height diameter; forehead of the width which is less than medium or small; high and moderately wide leptoprozopic face moderately profilied especially in its middle part; high leptorrhine nose of medium width; not wide nose bridge of moderate height; and small angle of projection of nosial bones with the line of facial profile.

The similarity becomes even more obvious when comparing the northern Altai groups with the population of the Altai-Sayanian Upland (the Kachinians, Sagaians, Beltyrians, Koibalians, Kyzylians, Abakanian Shirtzs, Touvinians, Telengits). The comparison was made by the Penrose-Knussmann method of generalized distances. While making the dendograms on the generalized distances the northernAltai groups are amalgamated in one cluster.

More leptomorphic structure and less flatness of facial skeleton of the northern Altai skulls is suggestive of a larger admixture of Europeoid elements if compared with other Turkic-speaking populations of Southern and Western Siberia. This can be traced by counting the generalized indexes suggested by G.F.Debets: Total Coefficient of Facial Skeleton Flatness (FSF), Preauriculare Face-Cerebral Index (PFC) and Provisional Part of Mongoloid Element Index (PPME).

In general, both intra- and intergroup analysis of the craniological data on the Shortzs, Bachatian Teleuts, and Kumandins each taken seperately or in sum show that the groups under study are rather homogeneous. They also testify the close genetic affinity between these populations. Obtained results find convincing correlatives in historico-ethnographical and linguistic research.

On the basis of the features significant to racial diagnostics, the northern Altai groups occupy an intermediate position between the Mongoloid and Europeoid racial stocks. The vast territory in the boundary between Europe and Asia, situated in Western and Southern Siberia (including Kazakhstan ), is an intermediate zone between the areas of the Mongoloid and Europeoid big races. Basically two racial types are represented there: the Uralian in the northern part of the zone and the South Siberian in its southern part. The problem of genesis of these two local races is resolved in literature in different ways. A.I.Yarkho's standpoint of indifferentiation of the South Siberian race [1947] is disproved by the all subsequent investigations [Debets G.F., Levin M.G., Trofimova T.A. 1952; Debets G.F. 1948; Miklashevskaya N.N. 1959; Alexeev V.P. 1960, 1961, 1963; Ismagulov O. 1970}. At least from the Bronze Age up to the late Middle Ages the territiory of localization of the South Siberian race had been the arena if intensive metisation processes of the ancient Europeoids and Mongoloids.

V.V.Bunak's opinion [1956;1958] about protomorphity of the Uralian race has met well-reasoned objections. Though the possibility of existance of racially indifferentiated populations in the conditions of isolation is regarded as conceivable by the researches of recent years [Debets G.F. 1956; Zolotareva I.M. 1964; Alexeev V.P. 1971; Davydova G.M. 1976, 1986]. Solving the problem of genesis of the Uralian race is hampered by the lack of paleoanthropological materials. Though recently the presence of a large massif of the Europeoid population starting from the Bronze Age can be regareded as proved to the forest-steppe zone of Western Siberia [Dremov V.A. 1967; 1981].

Let's make a comparison with these two local races in order to define the place of northern Altai groups among the racial types of Southern and Western Siberia. Compatable craniological materials on the Uralian (16 series) and South Siberian (9 series) groups have been taken from the literary sources. Comparison of the data on the northern Altai groups with the limits of variability of both races demonstrates clear distinctions from the both. It should be noted that the sizes characterizing the Uralian type occupy an intermidiate position between the South Siberian type and the northern Altai groups. Though taking into account the geographical position one would expect that the latter as well as some Khakass groups occupy an intermediate position between the Uralian and South Siberian anthropological types. Taking into consideration that the extreme sizes characterizing the variability of both anthropological types might be casual and do not reflect in sufficient extent the changebility each of them in general, we have applied another method of comparison which is in averaging the genaralized taxonomic distances of Penrose-Knussman. The data obtained allow us to evaluate the level and character of differentiation of compared groups both inside of each and between them.

The averaged distance Cr2 calculated between all the series of the Uralian race is 0.318. The South Siberian groups demonstrate a little less diversity which is 0.281. The Northern Altai groups display the largest similarity by the whole complex of craniological features: the averaged distance is 0.194.

The average generalized distance of 0.519, obtained by comparing the Uralian and South Siberian anthropological types, points to rather distinct differences.

The comparison between the Northern Altai groups and the Uralian and South Siberian types testifies to the fact that the level of distinction (0.545 and 0.488, respectively) is not less than the level of differentiation of the Uralians and South Siberians. The analysis shows that the northern Altai group of population cannot be included into the Uralian or South Siberian races, but it should occupy its own place in the system of racial classification.




Five paleoanthropological series of the Old Turkic time from the West Siberian forest-steppe (the Barnaul-Kamenskian Region, steppe area of the north-western Altai, the Tomsk-Ob region, the Barabinsk forest-steppe region, the Omsk-Irtysh region) are described for the first time. Published measurements of the skulls from the foot-hills of the Altai and the Kuznetsk Hollow are used for comparison (Tabl. 4-5).

Table 4.

Mean measurements of male skulls of the Old Turkic Time of the West-Siberian forest-steppe.

Features Barnaul-Kamensk region. North-Western Altai Tomsk-Ob region Barabinsk forest-steppe Omsk-Irtysh region
1. Longitudinal diameter 184.4(5) 179.1(10) 180.6(5) 179.2(4) 186.9(7)
8. Transversal diameter 145.4(5) 146.5(11) 140.6(5) 149.5(4) 146.7(7)
17 Height diameter 136.0(3) 133.4(9) 130.2(4) 134.2(4) 140.3(6)
88:1 Cranial index 78.9(5) 82.4(10) 78.0(5) 83.4(4) 78.5(7)
5. Skull basis length 102.8(3) 99.8(9) 100.5(3) 102.8(4) 106.3(6)
9. Minimum frontal breadth 93.6(5) 93.9(11) 96.0(5) 98.0(5) 93.8(8)
32. Angle of frontal bone 82.0(3) 83.9(10) 82.4(5) 81.5(4) 81.7(6)
40. Face basis length 98.3(3) 93.8(9) 101.0(3) 98.5(4) 104.7(6)
45. Bizygomatic diameter 140.3(3) 140.2(10) 141.7(3) 143.0(4) 140.5(6)
48. Upper facial height 70.8(5) 73.2(12) 70.3(6) 73.7(5) 76.8(6)
45. Nosal breadth 25.0(5) 25.6(12) 26.2(6) 25.0(4) 27.0(6)
52. Orbital height 33.3(3) 34.7(12) 35.0(6) 32.2(4) 33.0(6)
52:51 Orbital index 75.8(3) 79.3(12) 79.5(6) 72.5(4) 73.2(6)
SS. Symotical height 3.4(4) 3.6(10) 3.3(6) 4.1(3) 3.1(8)
SS:SC Symotical index 53.3(4) 48.4(10) 41.2(6) 53.3(3) 39.6(8)
DS. Dacrial height 10.9(2) 9.9(9) 10.9(5) 11.3(3) !0.9(7)
DSC Dacrial index 51.5(2) 47.9(9) 51.0(5) 49.6(3) 52.5(7)
72. Total facial angle 90.3(3) 89.0(8) 86.8(5) 87.5(4) 87.2(6)
74. Angle of alveolar part 87.0(3) 75.4(8) 79.0(5) 83.5(4) 79.5(6)
77. Nase-malar angle 145.1(5) 146.4(12) 143.3(5) 143.3(5) 147.6(8)
zm' Zygo-maxillar angle 135.0(3) 135.9(10) 132.0(5) 129.1(4) 134.6(5)
75(1). Angle of nose bulging 32.3(3) 20.3(6) 26.5(4) 33.0(1) 24.7(6)

Table 5.

Mean measurements of female skulls of the Old Turkic Time of the West-Siberian forest-steppe.

Features North-Western Altai Tomsk-Ob region Barabinsk forest-steppe Omsk-Irtysh region
1. Longitudinal diameter 174.9(10) 168.0(4) 176.7(3) 169.3(3)
8. Transversal diameter 145.2(11) 144.0(4) 144.5(4) 148.3(3)
17 Height diameter 124.5(4) 127.7(3) 129.7(3) 137.0(2)
88:1 Cranial index 82.7(9) 85.3(3) 81.8(3) 87.7(3)
55. Skull basis length 98.0(3) 101.0(3) 100.7(3) 95.5(2)
9. Minimum frontal breadth 94.3(12) 94.0(7) 92.5(6) 93.0(3)
32. Angle of frontal bone 85.5(8) 83.2(4) 82.0(3) 87.0(2)
40. Face basis length 94.7(3) 98.7(3) 97.0(3) 94.0(10
45. Bizygomatic diameter 137.0(10) 133.3(3) 134.7(3) 133.0(2)
48. Upper facial height 71.0(13) 64.2(6) 71.0(4) 71.0(2)
45. Nosal breadth 25.2(12) 26.2(6) 23.4(4) 22.5(2)
52. Orbital height 35.1(13) 34.5(6) 32.8(4) 34.5(2)
52:51 Orbital index 79.5(12) 81.4(6) 78.0(4) 81.2(2)
SS. Symotical height 3.8(10) 3.2(7) 3.1(3) 2.3(1)
SS:SC Symotical index 45.3(10) 36.5(7) 41.6(3) 40.0(1)
DS. Dacrial height 10.2(9) 10.0(5) 9.1(3) 10.1(1)
DSC Dacrial index 56.3(9) 47.3(5) 45.8(3) 50.0(1)
72. Total facial angle 88.6(8) 86.5(4) 90.0(3) 88.0(2)
74. Angle of alveolar part 75.9(8) 78.2(4) 82.5(2) 79.0(1)
77. Nase-malar angle 143.4(13) 142.8(6) 147.2(4) 150.7(3)
zm' Zygo-maxillar angle 133.3(10) 134.7(3) 136.8(4) 131.1(2)
75(1). Angle of nose bulging 21.3(6) 18.7(6) 21.7(3) 26.0(1)