Timber-Grave culture. A Bronze Age culture of the late 2nd to early 1st millennium BC that existed in Ukraine along the Dnieper River and in the Black Sea and upper Donets River regions. It was first identified by Vasilii Gorodtsov in the early 20th century. The culture had similarities with tribal groupings from the Dniester River in the west to the Caspian Sea in the east, leading to a scholarly debate as to whether a single or several cultures existed in this area. The defining characteristic of the Timber-Grave culture was its use of wooden vaults in graves. Bodies were commonly placed into these in a flexed position. Settlements in which the inhabitants lived in semi-pit or surface dwellings and engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, and metal-working were located in raised areas near major waterways. Excavations there revealed large numbers of bronze items (particularly implements and weapons), pottery decorated with geometric designs and a rounded lip under the crown, bone implements, and molds and remains from metal workshops. Scholars have divided the Timber-Grave culture into an early (14th–12th century BC) Sabatynivka culture phase and a later (11th–9th century BC) Bilozerka culture (see Bilozerka settlement) phase. Its people eventually assimilated into the Scythian tribal structures of the latter 1st millennium BC.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]