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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Scientific and practical peer-reviewed journal

The Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (Novosibirsk), has been publishing the international peer-reviewed journal Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia since 2000. Each issue is published in parallel Russian and English versions. Each quarterly issue of the journal contains 160 pages of 290 × 205 mm format, including numerous black-and-white and color illustrations.

This periodical is devoted to presentation and analysis of fundamental materials relating to the Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia, including North and Central Asia, Europe, the Pacific Rim, and other regions. The journal is conceived as multidisciplinary. It publishes papers, and maintains discussions on a wide range of research problems, such as Quaternary geology; Pleistocene and Holocene paleoecology; the methodology of archaeological, anthropological and ethnographic studies; information technology; studies of migrations of early populations; paleosociological and paleoeconomic reconstruction; the evolution of the human physical type; modern methods of paleopopulation genetics; prehistoric art; astroarchaeology; studies of the cultures of indigenous populations; and studies of ethnocultural processes. The journal also accepts the results of recent field-investigations conducted by archaeologists, anthropologists, and ethnologists, as well as announcements of symposia and professional meetings.

Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia provides authors with the opportunity to share their ideas and materials with a broad spectrum of professionals, and allows readers to stay current with the most recent issues in the fields of archaeology, ethnology, and anthropology.

The Editorial Council and Editorial Board of the journal include leading scientists from Russia, Asia, Europe, and America.

The Journal is included in:

-       the List of peer-reviewed journals, where the main results of doctoral and post-doctoral dissertations are published;

-        the Russian Science Citation Index (RISC);

-       the Russian Science Citation Index at the Web of Science citations indexing service;

-       the Scopus bibliographic database.

The Journal Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia is a member of the Publishers International Linking Association (PILA)

The Journal publisher IAET  SB RAS is a member of the Association of Science Editors and Publishers (ASEP).

You can subscribe to the Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia from 2016 by E-mail: rodina@archaeology.nsc.ru 

Current issue

Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access
Vol 51, No 1 (2024)
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PALEOENVIRONMENT. THE STONE AGE 

3-34 251
Abstract

Some 3 mln years ago, the genus Homo originated from australopithecines in Africa. In the Pleistocene, in the course of subsequent evolutionary processes such as natural selection, hybridization, and adaptation to changing environments, in the 200–100 ka BP interval, anatomically modern humans emerged in Africa, H. sapiens neanderthalensis in Europe, and H. sapiens denisovan in Central and Northern Asia. The origin of these taxa has been discussed in various publications and at many symposia. In the course of debates, several hypotheses were advanced—African Eve, multiregional evolution, evolution with hybridization, etc. All of them proceed from the assumption that the earliest anatomically modern humans originated in Africa. The main disagreement between the experts concerns the role of native Eurasians in the origin of H. sapiens sapiens following the migration of anatomically modern humans from Africa to Eurasia. In several publications of mine, a scenario of the phylogenetic history of the genus Homo, somewhat different from the currently discussed hypotheses, was proposed. The analysis of the genetic legacy of anatomically modern humans, H. sapiens neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens denisovan has shown that those hominins were able to hybridize and that the hybrids were fertile. This means that hybridization and assimilation proceeded not between separate species but within a single species, whose populations were open genetic systems. Consequently, if, at the final stage of the phylogenetic history of Homo, 200–100 ka BP, three taxa capable of hybridization emerged on various continents in the process of a long evolution, then all previous Early and Middle Pleistocene taxa in Africa, Europe, and Asia, established by the analysis of fossils, had likewise open genetic systems. This means that over a nearly 3 mln year long evolution of the genus Homo, resulting in progressive sapienization, three key factors—natural selection, hybridization, and adaptation to changing environments of the Pleistocene—have shaped both morphology and genetics of that genus. The article addresses the origin of a single basal species in Africa, ancestral to all anatomically modern humans, their spread to Eurasia, and role in the origin of H. sapiens neanderthalensis in Europe.

35-46 146
Abstract

We outline the results of mineralogical and geochemical analyses of Middle Pleistocene sediments of layer 21 in the Main Chamber of Denisova Cave, Altai. The aim of the study was to reveal a set of mineralogical and trace element markers of the black-colored horizons or lenses and to distinguish them from other types of cave sediments. Results were matched with those relating to a similar set of markers of black-colored horizons in the Holocene part of the section in the East Chamber. Results indicate probable sources of organic and organogenic substances in layer 21. The preservation of geochemical marks was assessed for Pleistocene in comparison with Holocene strata, where those markers are distinct. Black-colored lenses in layer 21 resemble biogenic sediments from Holocene section of the East Chamber. Both layers are characterized by high contents of N-bearing organic matter, P, Zn, Cu, and Cd. In bulk samples from Holocene sediments, numerous fragments of chitin (insect exoskeletons) and patches of newly formed Ca and Ca-Mg phosphates were found. We conclude that these peculiar lenses consist mostly of guano from insectivorous bats, and had undergone deep biodegradation. All black-colored horizons and lenses studied in Denisova Cave have a similar set of geochemical markers and distinctly differ from the adjacent strata by their phase, macro- and trace element compositions.

47-57 187
Abstract

We describe a new complex of remains in cultural horizon 3/2 of the Kovrizhka IV site on the Vitim River in the Baikal-Patom Highlands. This feature is a cluster of archaeological remains near the hearth, enclosed by an oval pavement 4.7 m by 3.2 m, consisting of eight slabs. The feature is interpreted as the remains of a dwelling. The spatial arrangement of finds is described. Rather than taking a central position, the hearth is shifted to the probable entrance in the northeastern part. Under one of the slabs of the pavement, an ocher spot was found. Qualitative and typological characteristics of the artifact assemblage are provided. The feature yielded about 2400 lithic artifacts. On the basis of the use-wear study of selected artifacts, four retouched and unretouched flakes are identified as knives. Other tools include a biface-wedge-shaped core, a bifacial scraper-knife, two fragments of unifacial scraper-like tools, a cutting tool, and retouched flakes (altogether 12 spec.). There are also three wedge-shaped narrow-faced microcores, one of which was knapped from a bifacial preform, and two from flakes. The comparison with two dwellings and a hearth complex previously discovered at Kovrizhka IV, the results of AMS-dating (the age of the complex is estimated at ca 18.9–18.6 ka BP), and the analysis of lithics have shown that the site belongs to the early stage of the Late Upper Paleolithic of the Lower Vitim. Anthracological data indicate a tundra-steppe landscape with islets of shrubs (dwarf or shrubby willow). We conclude that the dwelling evidences a short-term occupation episode. Along with the previously excavated features of Kovrizhka IV, the complex in cultural horizon 3/2 gives an idea of the culture and subsistence strategies of the Late Upper Paleolithic people at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum.

58-69 126
Abstract

This article presents the first results of a detailed study of a key rock art site with the earliest petroglyphs in the Mongolian Altai—Baga-Oigur-5 (Right Bank). Basic data on its location, the surrounding environment, etc. are provided. The main groups of petroglyphs are characterized and attributed. The most numerous group, that of the “Kalguty” style, is examined in detail. This style was previously attributed by the current authors to the Final Upper Paleolithic. Bronze Age and medieval petroglyphs are also present at the site. The most informative panels show single horses, bulls, sheep, and deer rendered in the “Kalguty” style, as well as compositions including these animals. Among the earliest local rock art, for the first time, a nonfigurative sign has been found, resembling a grid, connected with the figure of a horse in a manner that is typical of prehistoric art. The analysis of a multilayered composition—one of the most important—confirms the hypothesis that “Kalguty” style petroglyphs predate the Bronze Age. The unusual natural context of Baga-Oigur-5 (Right Bank) is addressed in detail: a restricted area with available flat rock surfaces standing out against a background landscape with convex boulders. The arrangement of rock carvings within the site is unusual: animal figures on various surfaces combine in a nearly compositional manner. A tentative conclusion is made that the site was a sanctuary.

THE METAL AGES AND MEDIEVAL PERIOD 

70-79 133
Abstract

This article presents the findings of a multidisciplinary analysis of pottery belonging to the Novosibirsk variant of the Kulaika culture. Technological (traceological), petrographic, X-ray phase, and thermal analyses were carried out, providing a basis for an objective reconstruction of the pottery technology. Raw material used at two sites, Kamenny Mys and Dubrovinsky Borok-3, originated from a single region, but from different mines. Three types of clay were used at the former site, and two at the latter, evidencing several groups of potters using various types of clay. Correlation between the types of clay and composition of the paste supports this idea. The clays used at Kamenny Mys are quite different from those used at Dubrovinsky Borok-3 in terms of mineral composition, as shown by petrographic and X-ray phase analyses. According to the thermo-gravimetric analysis, the samples fall into groups differing in the quality of firing. Certain vessels were subjected to more intense firing than others.

80-88 117
Abstract

The study addresses the dating and provenance of cast-iron moldboards found in Southern Siberia (the Altai Mountains, Khakassia, and Tuva). For the first time, a similar artifact from the Katanda valley, Ust-Koksinsky District, Republic of Altai, is described. The traditional idea that such artifacts date to the Tang epoch (618–907) is unwarranted. New interpretations of inscriptions on moldboards are proposed, indicating ties with the metallurgic center in Qiyang, Shahe County, Hebei Province, China. Certain specimens could have been manufactured in Qiyang, while others may be local replicas of Chinese prototypes. The closest parallels are those from Northern China, dating to 900–1400 (Song, Liao, Western Xia, Jin, and Yuan states). Those from Southern Siberia likely date to th e 13th–mid-14th century, when that territory was part of the Mongol and Yuan empires. The appearance of Chinese moldboards and their replicas in Southern Siberia was caused by the establishment of military-agricultural settlements, and progress in agriculture and metallurgy under the auspices of Yuan governors, who needed food to supply the army.

89-98 221
Abstract

The article outlines the findings of studies of a funerary complex beside the stone sculpture of a bixi turtle, discovered in 1893 on the territory of the mill of O.V. Lindholm in Primorye. The present research is based on unpublished diaries (from 1893 and 1894) of F.F. Busse, who carried out rescue excavations of the hill under the sculpture and unearthed a stone coffin buried nearby. A rounded stele top with 20 Chinese characters was found at the same place. The translation demonstrates that the burial was that of a prominent Jurchen military leader belonging to a noble Wanyan clan— Wanyan Digunai (Chinese name Wanyan Zhong, 完颜忠, known as Esikui/Asukui, 阿思魁). The burial was largely neglected, because scholars focused on translating and interpreting the inscription. The burial was believed to have been looted long ago, and Busse’s diaries remained unpublished. The focus of the present study, therefore, is to describe all available sources relating to Wanyan Digunai’s funerary complex. Based on the analysis of the excavation findings, features of the funerary rite are reconstructed. The architectural design and layout of the complex are shown to have followed the local East Asian tradition.

99-108 125
Abstract

The article outlines the findings from excavations at Uyelgi mound 11, the most informative one at the cemetery. Its lower horizon revealed a burial demonstrating features highly indicative of the nomadic culture of the Southern Urals. The upper horizon contained two burials belonging to the Srostki culture, characterized by certain artifacts of the “Hungarian” (Carpathian) type, evidencing the return of some South Uralic groups from the west at the time when the Srostki people migrated in the opposite direction from Eastern Kazakhstan and the Altai. This conclusion is supported by findings from the Aktobe cemetery, where typically “Hungarian” ornaments of horse harness co-occur with a belt set with floral decoration following the Srostki tradition of the Altai. Inside the mound and on the platform under it, fragments of five clay vessels were found, most of which are decorated with comb-and-cord patterns of the post-Bakal, Nevolino, and Petrogrom-Yudina type, associated with the East Uralic and West Siberian Ugrians. In terms of spatial structure, stratigraphy, and typology, then, the Uyelgi mound 11 demonstrates at least four cultural horizons: South Uralic, “Hungarian” (Carpathian), Altaic (Srostki), and Ugric (East Uralic and West Siberian), jointly mirroring complex ethnic processes in the region between 800–1000 AD.

109-116 122
Abstract

During excavations at the Markul fortified settlement, Republic of Abkhazia, a cluster of iron items, including nails, was found. Nails usually draw little attention as they cannot serve as chronological indicators. Several attempts at constructing a typology of nails have proved unsuccessful. The quality of metal of which they were forged has not been studied purposefully, although it can be relevant to the use of nails and construction practices. Here, we present the results of a metallographic analysis of 19 nails from Markul (13 spec. from a simultaneously formed cluster of iron items, and six spec. found elsewhere at the site). The findings suggest that they can be subdivided into three types in terms of metal structure and, accordingly, of properties of nails: those with a ferrite structure (“soft”), those with a ferrite-pearlite structure (“strong”), and those with a cementite structure (“extra strong”). These types correlate with three types of construction materials used in Abkhazia in the Late Classic and Medieval period. Lack of correlation between metric properties of nails and metal structure suggests that the latter was intentionally formed for specific tasks, depending on the characteristics of the details joined by nails.

117-124 107
Abstract

The study describes the findings of excavations at the northern palisade of Fort Umrevinsky. We revealed the basis of a log structure with a floor made of planks, adjoining the central part of the northern palisade. A tight joining of the palisade ditch with the two preserved rows of logs indicates a single construction episode. At this area, another entrance to the territory of the fort was revealed, situated right opposite the southern one. Design features of the foundation of the log structure (the way of cutting logs, the floor made of planks), dimensions (6 × 6 m), and location suggest that this was the base of the northern passage tower. Spatial structure, location, and size of the structure match those of wooden towers of Siberian forts. During earlier studies at one of the corner towers of Fort Umrevinsky, built as early as the second quarter of the 18th century, a plank floor was also revealed. The northern passage tower was erected at the initial stage (before the first third of the 18th century) of the fort’s existence. This wooden defensive structure suggests that Fort Umrevinsky was one of border fortifications, each of which had a sub-rectangular palisade and a single entrance tower. The foundation of the northern entrance tower was probably described in 1741 by J.G. Gmelin as a ruin of a guardhouse. Towers of Siberian forts were multifunctional. Apart from their defensive function, they served as guardhouses and were also destined for living and storage.

125-133 124
Abstract

We present the findings from an archaeobotanical study of samples from the habitation layer of Bukhta Nakhodka, a 13th to early 14th century fort on the Yamal Peninsula, Western Siberia. On the basis of a detailed analysis of the taxonomic diversity of macro- and micro-remains of plants, the vegetation around the site is reconstructed as grass, moss, and subshrub tundra. The abundance of pollen and vegetative plant parts in habitation deposits inside buildings support an earlier hypothesis that peat and turf briquettes, resulting from turf removal, were used for construction. The vegetation cover of tundra area within the site and immediately adjoining it had changed. Its integrity was disrupted during construction of the fort, after which ruderal tundra apophytes expanded rapidly, and the turf layer was partly recovered during the fort’s existence. A secondary grass cover, differing from that of the natural tundra communities, formed after the fort had been abandoned. A few remains of wild food plants were found, but none of cultivated plants. On the basis of archaeobotanical data, it is concluded that the pre-Nenets people used the plant resources of the Yamal subarctic tundra mostly for construction, domestic needs, and possibly as food.

134-144 151
Abstract

This article presents the findings of the study of a co-burial of a eunuch-official and his wife, found in the city of Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi-do Province, made in accordance with Confucian traditions during the Joseon Dynasty period. A description of finds, perfectly preserved in the grave sealed with lime-soil mixture and charcoal barrier, is given. The writings on the banners draping the coffins are studied. These say that in the left coffin the husband named Lee was buried; he was an official who oversaw the management of palace goods and held the position that was given only to eunuchs. In the right coffin, according to the writing, there was the body of the wife; she was awarded a lady’s rank corresponding to her husband’s status. Special focus is given to the description of clothes and fabric on the bodies of the buried. The results of anthropological analysis of the remains are given. Morphological features of the pelvic and skull bones provided the information on the sex of the deceased. According to the condition of the auricular surface of the left pelvic bone, the age of the eunuch-official and his wife was determined as more than 60 years. It is concluded that the research materials significantly supplement the scientific information on the position of eunuch-officials in the society during the Joseon Dynasty period.

ETHNOLOGY 

145-153 116
Abstract

Three Buryat bows, studied at Tashir village, in the Selenginsky District, Republic of Buryatia, in 2019, are described. They are relatively well preserved, and one is still functioning. A detailed description of their design is given. The specimens are similar in terms of morphology and technology (specifically, an outline without strings), design of transition zones, section of elastic part, and the shape and position of horn overlays. The tension force of the bows is evaluated, and conclusions are made about the impact of force and practical use. Comments made by a Buryat archer (the bow’s owner) are cited about specific use under various weather conditions. The information is compared with that gained from ethnographic sources, and archival illustrations made in late 1800s and early 1900s are given.

PERSONALIA