2021, vol. 9, no. 2. Adamov A.A.

2021, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 359-373

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22378/2313-6197.2021-9-2.359-373


A.A. Adamov
Tobolsk Complex Scientific Station
of the Ural Branch of the
Russian Academy of Sciences
Tobolsk, Russian Federation

Abstract: Research objectives: The article scrutinizes the arguments challenging the urban status of the Kuchum settlement (Isker), the capital of the Siberian Khanate. The author analyzes the available data on the vicinity, population, trading, and craft production of this capital.
Research materials: The main sources are materials obtained during archaeological research in the ancient settlement in the twentieth and twenty-first century, as well as artifacts collected on the shallows of the Irtysh River from the destroyed cultural layer of the mo­nument since the 1880s. The cartographic materials of S.U. Remezov, V. Filimonov, and V.N. Pignatti were also used in the study.
Results and novelty of the research: An analysis of the available data showed that the area of the monument reached at least 2.6 hectares by the late fifteenth century. In addition, archaeological research by A.P. Zykov and the author revealed a complex multi-level fortification system aimed at defending the capital of the Siberian Khanate. The artifacts found in 2019 suggest the presence of oversize brick structures in the capital. Such artifacts prove the important role of Isker as the center of trade located on the most convenient route which connected Central Asia, China, Eastern Europe, and the taiga regions of Western Siberia. The population of the settlement widely used silver and copper coins in trading. The collected data show that blacksmiths, casters, jewelers, tailors, and tanners lived and worked in Isker. A huge cultural layer, rich in artifacts, of the Kuchum settlement could be formed only by a fairly large population by Siberian standards, consisting of the khan’s family and its servants, close members of the nobility, Muslim clergy, warriors, merchants, and artisans. The total available data allows us to consider Isker as the political, commercial, craft, and religious center of the Siberian Tatars.

Keywords: Siberia, Middle Ages, Siberian Khanate, town of Sibir, Kuchum settlement, Isker

For citation: Adamov A.A. The Kuchum Settlement: The Capital of Siberia or a Historical Myth (Archaeological Facts and Historical Assumptions). Zolotoordynskoe obozrenie=Golden Horde Review. 2021, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 359–373. DOI: 10.22378/2313-6197.2021-9-2.359-373


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About the author: Aleksandr A. Adamov – Cand. Sci. (History), Senior Research Fellow, Tobolsk complex scientific station of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Scien­ces (15, Academician Osipov Str., Tobolsk 626152, Russian Federation). E-mail: adamowaa@yandex.ru

Received  January 23, 2021   Accepted for publication  May 10, 2021
Published Online  June 29, 2021