Abashevo culture

The Abashevo culture is an early Bronze Age (ca. 2500–1900 BCE) archaeological culture found in the valleys of the Volga and Kama River north of the Samara bend and into the southern Ural Mountains. It receives its name from the village of Abashevo in Chuvashia. Artifacts are kurgans and remnants of settlements. The Abashevo was the easternmost of the Russian forest zone cultures that descended from Corded Ware ceramic traditions. The Abashevo culture played a significant role in the origin of the Sintashta culture.[1] The Abashevo culture does not pertain to the Andronovo culture and genetically belongs to the circle of Central European cultures employing the Corded Ware ceramics of the type represented by the Fatyanovo culture.[2]

The economy was mixed agriculture. Cattle, sheep, and goats, as well as other domestic animals were kept. Horses were evidently used, inferred by cheek pieces typical of neighboring steppe cultures.[3] The population of Sintashta derived their stock-breeding from Abashevo, although the role of the pig shrinks sharply.[4]

It follows the Yamna culture and Balanovo culture[5] in its inhumation practices in tumuli. Flat graves were also a component of the Abashevo culture burial rite,[6] as in the earlier Fatyanovo culture.[7] Grave offerings are scant, little more than a pot or two. Some graves show evidence of a birch bark floor and a timber construction forming walls and roof.[8]

There is evidence of copper smelting, and the culture would seem connected to copper mining activities in the southern Urals. The Abashevo culture was an important center of metallurgy[9] and stimulated the formation of Sintashta metallurgy.[10]

The Abashevo ethno-linguistic identity is a subject of speculation, although it likely reflected a merger of the earlier Indo-European Poltavka culture in the Volga-Ural steppes, Fatyanovo-Balanovo traditions,[11] and contacts with speakers of Uralic; Abashevo was likely the area in which some loan-words entered Uralic. The skulls of the Abashevo differ from those of the Timber Grave culture, early Catacomb culture, or the Potapovka culture.[12] The anthropological type is a transitional group in which Mongoloid and Europoid features are commingled, probably due to Siberian admixture. [13] [14]

Abashevo probably witnessed a bilingual population undergo a process of assimilation.[15] Some members of the hunter-gatherer Volosovo culture were apparently also absorbed into the Abashevo populace, as Corded-impressed Abashevo pottery has been found alongside comb-stamped Volosovo ceramics at archaeological sites, sometimes even in the same structure.[16]

Abashevo occupied part of the area of the earlier Fatyanovo-Balanovo culture, the eastern variant of the earlier Corded Ware culture, but whatever relationship there is between the two cultures is uncertain. The pre-eminent expert on the Abashevo culture, A. Pryakhin, concluded that it originated from contacts between Fatyanovo / Balanovo and Catacomb / Poltavka peoples in the southern forest-steppe.[17] Early Abashevo ceramic styles strongly influenced Sintashta ceramics.[18]

It was preceded by the Yamna culture and succeeded by the Srubna culture and the Sintashta culture.[19]

Abashevo culture
Geographical rangeCentral Russia, Volga region
PeriodBronze Age
Datesc. 2500 BC – 2200 BC
Preceded byYamnaya culture
Followed bySintashta culture

See also


  1. ^ David W. Anthony, "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World", Princeton University Press, 2007, p 382
  2. ^ Elena E. Kuz'mina, The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, Volume 3, edited by J. P. Mallory, Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2007, p 302
  3. ^ J. P. Mallory, Abashevo Culture, Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997, p 1
  4. ^ Elena E. Kuz'mina, The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, Volume 3, edited by J. P. Mallory, Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2007, p 146
  5. ^ L. Koryakova, A. Epimakhov, The Urals and Western Siberia in the Bronze and Iron Ages, Cambridge University Press, NY, NY, 2007 ISBN 978-0-521-82928-1, p 100
  6. ^ Elena E. Kuz'mina, The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, Volume 3, edited by J. P. Mallory, Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2007, p 221
  7. ^ L. Koryakova, A. Epimakhov, The Urals and Western Siberia in the Bronze and Iron Ages, Cambridge University Press, NY, NY, 2007 ISBN 978-0-521-82928-1, p 100
  8. ^ J. P. Mallory, Abashevo Culture, Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997, p 1
  9. ^ J. P. Mallory, Abashevo Culture, Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997, p 2
  10. ^ Elena E. Kuz'mina, The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, Volume 3, edited by J. P. Mallory, Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2007, p 86
  11. ^ J. P. Mallory, Abashevo Culture, Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997, p 2
  12. ^ Elena E. Kuz'mina, The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, Volume 3, edited by J. P. Mallory, Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2007, pp 169–170
  13. ^ Elena E. Kuzʹmina, The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, The Netherlands 2007, p 169
  14. ^ Carl Waldman, Catherine Mason, Encyclopedia of European Peoples, New York 2006, p 253
  15. ^ Elena E. Kuz'mina, The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, Volume 3, edited by J. P. Mallory, Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2007, p 222
  16. ^ David W. Anthony, "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World", Princeton University Press, 2007, p 382
  17. ^ David W. Anthony, "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World", Princeton University Press, 2007, p 383
  18. ^ David W. Anthony, "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World", Princeton University Press, 2007, p 382
  19. ^ David W. Anthony, "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World", Princeton University Press, 2007, p 382


  • J. P. Mallory, "Abashevo Culture", Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
  • Elena E. Kuz'mina, The Origin of the Indo-Iranians, Volume 3, edited by J. P. Mallory, Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands 2007
  • David W. Anthony, "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World", Princeton University Press, 2007.
Airyanem Vaejah

Airyanem Vaejah (Avestan: 𐬀𐬌𐬭𐬌𐬌𐬀𐬥𐬀 𐬬𐬀𐬉𐬘𐬀𐬵 airiiana vaējah, approximately “expanse of the Aryans”, i.e. Iranians) is the homeland of the early Iranians and a reference in the Zoroastrian Avesta (Vendidad, Farg. 1) to one of Ahura Mazda's "sixteen perfect lands."

Andronovo culture

The Andronovo culture is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished c. 2000–900 BC in western Siberia and the central Eurasian Steppe. Some researchers have preferred to term it an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon. The older Sintashta culture (2100–1800 BC), formerly included within the Andronovo culture, is now considered separately, but regarded as its predecessor, and accepted as part of the wider Andronovo horizon.

Most researchers associate the Andronovo horizon with early Indo-Iranian languages, though it may have overlapped the early Uralic-speaking area at its northern fringe.According to genetic study conducted by Allentoft et al. (2015), the Andronovo culture and the preceding Sintashta culture are partially derived from the Corded Ware culture, given the higher proportion of ancestry matching the earlier farmers of Europe, similar to the admixture found in the genomes of the Corded Ware population.

Bug–Dniester culture

The Bug–Dniester culture was the archaeological culture that developed in the chernozem region of Moldavia and Ukraine around the Dniester and Southern Bug rivers in the Neolithic.

Over approximately 1,000 years, 6300–5500 BC, the Bug–Dniester culture metamorphosed through different cultural phases, but the population remained about the same. What is most noteworthy about the Neolithic in this region is that it developed autochthonously from the Mesolithic there. The people in this region relied predominantly on hunting aurochs, red deer, roe deer and boar, and fishing for roach, eels and pike. They made pottery from about 6200 BC. This type of pottery made by hunter-gatherers had arrived in the middle Volga from the Lake Baikal region of Asia. One notable characteristic is that many pots had pointed bottoms, designed for cooking over a fire. They could be decorated in patterns of wavy lines.This local culture was influenced by the neighboring Neolithic Criş culture, whose origins lay in the Carpathian basin. The Criş farmers arrived in the upper valleys of the Seret and Prut about 5800–5700 BC. Criş pottery forms were copied by the Bug–Dniester people. Wild grasses were abandoned in favor of einkorn, emmer and spelt. Cattle-breeding was adopted.

Catacomb culture

The Catacomb culture (c. 2800–2200 BC) is a group of related cultures in the early Bronze Age occupying essentially what is present-day eastern Ukraine and southern Russia.

The culture applied cord-imprinted decorations to its pottery and shows a profuse use of the polished battle axe, providing a link to the West. Parallels with the Afanasevo culture, including provoked cranial deformations, provide a link to the East. It was preceded by the Yamnaya culture. The Catacomb culture in the Pontic steppe was succeeded in the west by the Multi-cordoned ware culture from c. 22nd century BC, and the Srubna culture from c. the 17th century BC.

Colchian culture

Colchian culture (Georgian: კოლხური კულტურა; 3000 BC to 600 BC) is Neolithic - an early Bronze Age and Iron Age culture of the western Caucasus, mostly in western Georgia. It was partially succeeded by the Koban culture in northern and central Caucasus.

It is named after the ancient geographic region of Colchis, which covered a large area along the Black Sea coast. Today Colchs are known as Laz and Megrel.

Dnieper–Donets culture

The Dnieper–Donets culture (ca. 5th—4th millennium BC) was a Mesolithic culture in the area north of the Black Sea/Sea of Azov between the Dnieper and Donets River, and bordering the European Neolithic area.

There are parallels with the contemporaneous Samara culture. The Dnieper–Donets culture was succeeded by the Yamnaya culture.

Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture

The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (abbreviation: EIEC) is an encyclopedia of Indo-European studies and the Proto-Indo-Europeans. The encyclopedia was edited by J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams and published in 1997 by Fitzroy Dearborn. Archaeological articles are written by Mallory, linguistic articles are written by Adams, and includes a distinguished Who's Who of 1990s Indo-Europeanists who made contributions as sub-editors. While not a polemic, the work in part responds to Colin Renfrew's Anatolian hypothesis of Indo-European origins.

Fatyanovo–Balanovo culture

The Fatyanovo–Balanovo culture, 3200 BC–2300 BC, is an eastern extension of the Corded Ware culture into Russia.

It runs from Lake Pskov in the west to the middle Volga in the east, with its northern reach in the valley of the upper Volga. It is really two cultures, the Fatyanovo in the west, the Balanovo in the east. The Fatyanovo culture emerged at the northeastern edge of the Middle Dnieper culture, and was probably derived from an early variant of this culture.Fatyanovo migrations correspond to regions with hydronyms of a Baltic language dialect mapped by linguists as far as the Oka river and the upper Volga. Spreading eastward down the Volga they discovered the copper ores of the western Ural foothills, and started long term settlements in lower Kama river region. The Balanovo culture occupied the region of the Kama–Vyatka–Vetluga interfluves where metal resources (local copper sandstone deposits) of the region were exploited.Fatyanovo ceramics show mixed Corded Ware / Globular Amphorae traits. The later Abashevo culture pottery looked somewhat like Fatyanovo-Balanovo Corded Ware, but Abashevo kurgans were unlike Fatyanovo flat cemeteries, although flat graves were a recognizable component of the Abashevo burial rite. Balanovo burials (like the Middle Dnieper culture) were both of the flat and kurgan type, containing individual and also mass graves.Settlements are scant, and bear evidence of a degree of fortification. The villages were usually situated on the high hills of the riverbanks, consisting of several above-ground houses built from wooden logs with saddle roofs, and also joined by passages. The economy seems to be quite mobile, but then we are cautioned that domestic swine are found, which suggests something other than a mobile society. The Fatyanovo culture is viewed as introducing an economy based on domestic livestock (sheep, cattle, horse & dog) into the forest zone of Russia. The Balanovo also used draught cattle and two wheeled wagons.As is usual with such ancient cultures, our main knowledge comes from their inhumations. Shaft graves were evident, which might be lined with wood. The deceased were wrapped in animal skins or birch bark and placed into wooden burial chambers in subterranean rectangular pits. The interments are otherwise in accord with Corded Ware practices, with males resting on their right side and females on their left. Local metal objects of a Central European provenance type were present. Copper ornaments and tools have been found in Balanovo burials (Chalcolithic). Burial goods depended on sex, age, and social position. Copper axes primarily accompanied persons of high social position, stone axe-hammers were given to men, flint axes to children and women. Amulets are frequently found in the graves as well as metal working implements.The theory for an intrusive culture is based upon the physical type of the population (physical anthropology), flexed burial under barrows, the presence of battle-axes and ceramics. There are similarities between Fatyanovo and Catacomb culture stone battle-axes. The Volosovo culture of indigenous forest foragers was different in its ceramics, economy, and mortuary practices. It dispersed when the Fatyanovo people pushed into the Upper and Middle Volga basin. Ceramic finds indicate Balanovo coexisted with the Volosovo people (mixed Balanovo-Volosovo sites), and also displaced them. Note that the ethnic and linguistic attribution of the Volosovo culture is uncertain; Häkkinen maintains that their language was neither Uralic nor Indo-European, but a substratum to Finno-Permic. The cultures of the Prikamsky subarea in the Late Bronze Age continued preceding traditions in pottery, house designs, and stable animal husbandry with the breeding of horse, cattle, and to a lesser extent, pigs and sheep. Scholars interpret some of these cultures with stages in the development of the proto-Permian language. Some have argued that this culture represents the acculturation of Pit-Comb Ware culture people of this area from contacts with Corded Ware agriculturists in the West. It does not seem to represent a northern extension of the Indo-European Yamna culture horizon further south.Historical sources mention a people inhabiting the region of the earlier Fatyanovo region. The Hypatian Codex of Chronicles mentions that in 1147 the Prince of Rostov-Suzdal defeated the Golyad' (Голядь) who lived by the River Porotva. The Protva is a tributary of the Oka river near Moscow, where there is a wealth of Baltic hydronyms.

Maykop culture

The Maykop culture (scientific transliteration: Majkop, Russian: майкоп, [mai.kɔp]), c. 3700 BC–3000 BC, was a major Bronze Age archaeological culture in the western Caucasus region of southern Russia.

It extends along the area from the Taman Peninsula at the Kerch Strait to near the modern border of Dagestan and southwards to the Kura River. The culture takes its name from a royal burial found in Maykop kurgan in the Kuban River valley.

Norse clans

The Scandinavian clan or ætt/ätt (pronounced [ˈæːtː] in Old Norse) was a social group based on common descent.

Novotitorovka culture

Novotitorovka culture, 3300–2700 BC, a Bronze Age archaeological culture of the North Caucasus immediately to the north of and largely overlapping portions of the Maykop culture facing the Sea of Azov, running from the Kerch Strait eastwards, almost to the Caspian, roughly coterminous with the modern Krasnodar Krai region of Russia.

It is distinguished by its burials, particularly by the presence of wagons in them and its own distinct pottery, as well as a richer collection of metal objects than those found in adjacent cultures, as is to be expected considering its relationship to the Maykop culture.

It is grouped with the larger Indo-European Yamna culture complex, and in common with it, the economy was semi-nomadic pastoralism mixed with some agriculture.

Penard Period

The Penard Period is a metalworking phase of the Bronze Age in Britain spanning the period c. 1275 BC to c. 1140 BC.

It is named after the typesite of Penard in West Glamorgan, where a hoard of bronze tools from the period was found in 1827.

The period is characterised by a flowering in experimentation in bronze working, spurred by increased contact with the Urnfield culture of Continental Europe from where early sword and shield imports came.

Chronologically it follows the Taunton Period metalworking phase, and precedes the Wilburton-Wallington Phase. There are links with Reinecke D and early Hallstatt A1 periods, and the French Rosnoën and the Montelius III phases.

Developments included the invention of the cylinder sickle and leaf-shaped pegged spearheads, mirroring an increase in the use of sheet bronze. Clay moulds and new lead-rich alloys were also employed.

Persian mythology

Persian mythology are traditional tales and stories of ancient origin, all involving extraordinary or supernatural beings. Drawn from the legendary past of Iran, they reflect the attitudes of the society to which they first belonged - attitudes towards the confrontation of good and evil, the actions of the gods, yazats (lesser gods), and the exploits of heroes and fabulous creatures. Myths play a crucial part in Iranian culture and our understanding of them is increased when we consider them within the context of Iranian history.

For this purpose we must ignore modern political boundaries and look at historical developments in the Greater Iran, a vast area covering the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Central Asia, beyond the frontiers of present-day Iran. The geography of this region, with its high mountain ranges, plays a significant role in many of the mythological stories. The second millennium BC is usually regarded as the age of migration because of the emergence in western Iran of a new form of Iranian pottery, similar to earlier wares of north-eastern Iran, suggesting the arrival of the Ancient Iranian peoples. This pottery, light grey to black in colour, appeared around 1400 BC. It is called Early Grey Ware or Iron I, the latter name indicating the beginning of the Iron Age in this area.

Poltavka culture

Poltavka culture (Russian: Полтавкинская культура), 2700—2100 BCE, an early to middle Bronze Age archaeological culture of the middle Volga from about where the Don-Volga canal begins up to the Samara Bend in Russia, with an easterly extension north of present Kazakhstan along the Samara River valley to somewhat west of Orenburg.

Together with the Catacomb culture it is the successor of the Yamnaya culture, while also succeeded by the Sintashta culture. It seems to be an early manifestation of the Srubna culture. There is evidence of influence from the Maykop culture to its south.

What significantly distinguishes it from the Yamnaya culture are changes in pottery and an increase in metal objects. Tumulus inhumations continue, but with less use of ochre.

It was succeeded by the Srubna and Sintashta culture. It is presumptively early Indo-Iranian (Proto-Indo-Iranian), possibly representing a late satem dialect of Proto-Indo-European.

Potapovka culture

Potapovka culture, ca. 2500—2000 BC. A Bronze Age culture centered on the Samara bend in the middle Volga region, projecting well east into the Samara River valley.

It seems to be connected only in a material culture way with the earlier stage of the Andronovo culture (Sintashta and Petrovka period), but probably genetically to the Poltavka culture, with influences from the more northerly Abashevo culture. Loosely, it can be considered as descended from the earlier Khvalynsk culture and Samara culture, both of which occupied this same geographic extent.

The inhumations are in kurgans (tumuli). Smaller less important graves surround the original tumulus. Animals, either whole or in parts, were among the grave offerings (cattle, sheep, goats, dogs). One burial has the corpse's head replaced with that of a horse,

reminiscent of the Vedic account of how the Asvíns replace the head of the priest Dadhyañc Artharvana with that of a horse so that he could reveal the secret of the sacred drink. —EIEC "Potapovka Culture"The culture was clearly comfortable with horses. Wheels and wheeled vehicles are equivocally identified in the remains.

Mallory argues that the Potapovka culture's lack of a clear genetic relationship with the early Andronovo culture, and that the Andronovo lacks an immediate local ancestor, the "cultural trajectory" for the Indo-European societies of this region need to be seen as coming from the west.

It was preceded by the Poltavka culture, and succeeded by the Srubna culture.


Sintashta (Russian: Синташта́) is an archaeological site in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia. It is the remains of a fortified settlement dating to the Bronze Age, c. 2800–1600 BC, and is the type site of the Sintashta culture. The site has been characterised "fortified metallurgical industrial center".Sintashta is situated in the steppe just east of the Ural Mountains. The site is named for the adjacent Sintashta River, a tributary to the Tobol. The shifting course of the river over time has destroyed half of the site, leaving behind thirty one of the approximately fifty or sixty houses in the settlement.The settlement consisted of rectangular houses arranged in a circle 140 m in diameter and surrounded by a timber-reinforced earthen wall with gate towers and a deep ditch on its exterior. The fortifications at Sintashta and similar settlements such as Arkaim were of unprecedented scale for the steppe region. There is evidence of copper and bronze metallurgy taking place in every house excavated at Sintashta, again an unprecedented intensity of metallurgical production for the steppe. Early Abashevo culture ceramic styles strongly influenced Sintashta ceramics. Due to the assimilation of tribes in the region of the Urals, such as the Pit-grave, Catacomb, Poltavka, and northern Abashevo into the Novokumak horizon, it would seem inaccurate to provide Sintashta with a purely Aryan attribution. In the origin of Sintashta, the Abashevo culture would play an important role.Five cemeteries have been found associated with the site, the largest of which (known as Sintashta mogila or SM) consisted of forty graves. Some of these were chariot burials, producing the oldest known chariots in the world. Others included horse sacrifices—up to eight in a single grave—various stone, copper and bronze weapons, and silver and gold ornaments. The SM cemetery is overlain by a very large kurgan of a slightly later date. It has been noted that the kind of funerary sacrifices evident at Sintashta have strong similarities to funerary rituals described in the Rig Veda, an ancient Indian religious text often associated with the Proto-Indo-Iranians.Radiocarbon dates from the settlement and cemeteries span over a millennium, suggesting an earlier occupation belonging to the Poltavka culture. The majority of the dates, however, are around 2100–1800 BC, which points at a main period of occupation of the site consistent with other settlements and cemeteries of the Sintashta culture.

Sintashta culture

The Sintashta culture, also known as the Sintashta-Petrovka culture or Sintashta-Arkaim culture, is a Bronze Age archaeological culture of the northern Eurasian steppe on the borders of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, dated to the period 2100–1800 BCE. The culture is named after the Sintashta archaeological site, in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia.

The Sintashta culture is widely regarded as the origin of the Indo-Iranian languages. The earliest known chariots have been found in Sintashta burials, and the culture is considered a strong candidate for the origin of the technology, which spread throughout the Old World and played an important role in ancient warfare. Sintashta settlements are also remarkable for the intensity of copper mining and bronze metallurgy carried out there, which is unusual for a steppe culture.

Sredny Stog culture

The Sredny Stog culture (Russian: Среднестоговская культура) is a pre-kurgan archaeological culture from the 5th millennium BC. It is named after the Russian term for the Dnieper river islet of today's Seredny Stih, Ukraine, where it was first located. It was situated across the Dnieper river on both its shores, with sporadic settlements to the west and east. One of the best known sites associated with this culture is Dereivka, located on the right bank of the Omelnik, a tributary of the Dnieper, and is the most impressive site within the Sredny Stog culture complex, being about 2,000 square meters in area.

Srubnaya culture

The Srubnaya culture (Russian: Сру́бная культу́ра, romanized: Srubnaya kultura, lit. 'log house culture'; Ukrainian: Зрубна́ культу́ра, romanized: Zrubna kultura), also known as Timber-grave culture, was a Late Bronze Age (18th–12th centuries BC) culture in the eastern part of Pontic-Caspian steppe. It is a successor to the Late Catacomb culture and the Poltavka culture, as well as the Potapovka culture.

It occupied the area along and above the north shore of the Black Sea from the Dnieper eastwards along the northern base of the Caucasus to the area abutting the north shore of the Caspian Sea, west of the Ural Mountains to come up against the domain of the approximately contemporaneous and somewhat related Andronovo culture.

The name comes from Russian сруб (srub), "timber framework", from the way graves were constructed. Animal parts were buried with the body.

The economy was mixed agriculture and livestock breeding. The historical Cimmerians have been suggested as descended from this culture.A study on DNA variation among ancient Europeans found that, of the six samples extracted from Srubna culture sites for which a Y-DNA hapogroup could be tested, all belonged to haplogroup R1a, and four of them to subclade R1a-Z93, which is common among modern-day Indo-Iranians.The Srubna culture is succeeded by Scythians and Sarmatians in the 1st millennium BC.

Bronze Age
Bronze Age
(North Caucasus
and Transcaucasia)

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