The article presents a technique of periodization of the Saltovo-Mayaki culture burials based on the shapes of polished vessels. The methodological basis of the research is historical-and-cultural approach. This is a scientific direction developed by the famous Russian ceramic researcher A.A. Bobrinsky. The materials of the study are the most popular categories of vessels from the catacomb cemeteries of the Saltovo-Mayaki culture. These are jugs and cups from Dmitrievka and Yutanovka cemeteries.
The main hypothesis of the study is as follows: (1) Burials with polished vessels of the mass traditions of shapes creating are earlier on the cemetery; (2) During the necropolis functioning, the erosion of mass traditions of vessel shapes creating took place; (3) Distribution of new (possibly mixed) traditions belongs to the late period of necropolis functioning. Burials with vessels of the ‘new’ traditions should be attributed to the late period of the burial ground’s existence. The hypothesis found a number of independent confirmations at both burial sites studied. These are metal inventory, planigraphy, and topography of graves.