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Norman J. Finkelshteyn

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Belt set from Salovsky Cemetary 1, Kurgan 1, burial 2
By Norman Finkelshteyn
Information for the following came from the article "Poyasniye nabori iz kurganov Khazarskogo vremeni mezhdurechya Dona i Sala" (Belt sets from Khazar period kurgans found between the Don and Sal rivers) by A.A. Ivanov, V.P. Kopilov, S.A. Naumenko, which appeared in Donskaya Arkheologia, No. 1 - 2000. No ISBN is listed.
Photographs were provided by the Donskaya Arkheologia magazine and are used by exclusive permission. The online summary of the magazine is provided in Russian and English at

Belt Plates from Salovsky Cemetary 1, Kurgan 1, burial 2

Belt End plate

The discussed find comes from one of 56 burial complexes in the small area between the Don and Sal rivers. The vast majority, including this one, are identified as Khazar, dating to between the second half of the seventh and the first half of the ninth centuries.
Ivanov, Kopilov, and Naumenko theorise that these burials, characterised as mounds with narrow, square ditches, show a distinct ethno cultural style in the artifacts and the belt sets especailly may be used to characterise a distinct ethno-cultural group.
This find comes from the secondary grave of the referenced Kurgan. The primary one was robbed.
This one was of a warrior, it included a horse and a rich burial inventory. Among the materials were coins dated to 717-741 C.E.



Plaque with integral frame


Description of the Belt Parts
All belt parts were cast silver with finishing work, decorated with vegetal motiffs.
The buckle, buckle-tongue, and buckle plate were made separately and hinged together. A pin put through "ears" at the base of the buckle plate held it to the belt.

Plaque with hinged frame
The belt end is similarly attached to the belt with a sort of hinge-pin through loops at its flat edge.
There are two small plates with integral open rectangular frames, and two much larger ones with hinged semi-oval frames (only one of these is shown at the full belt photo). The smaller plaques were at the body's right hip and had been used to attach the straps of the purse.

"Leafy" Plaque
Finally, there were three intricate roughly triangular plates ("leafy shaped" for lack of a better descriptive). The description of the find does not indicate how these were oriented on the belt or how they were found on the body. I hesitatingly suggest comparison with the "horseshoe" plates on the Romanovsky belt (see article on the same).

Purse Plates from Salovsky Cemetary 1, Kurgan 1, burial 2

Description of the Purse
The purse remains were found under the right arm of the corpse.
All purse plates were cast silver with finishing work, decorated with vegetal motiffs.
The purse was decorated with three rectangular plates with rectangular openings (only 2 are shown in one photo and 1 in the second).

Detail of select Purse plates
To hold the purse closed, a strap with a belt end plate was used. The belt end was attached with two rivets and held flat with a thin plate which follows the shape of the belt end.
The strap was run through two brackets (one is shown in the Purse Plates photo, the other survived only as a fragment), before being buckled with a two sided buckle with hinged tongue.
A rectangular frame plate with rounded extensions was also found on the purse but its purpose is not guessed at.

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