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: 

Current issue

Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access
Vol 51, No 2 (2023)
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3-13 117

We present the fi ndings of excavations at the Early Paleolithic site of Lakhuti-IV in the middle reaches of the Obi- Mazar River, Republic of Tajikistan. The geological and geomorphological situation in the area is reconstructed, and Pleistocene deposits are described. On the basis of the available chronostratigraphic constraints, we can determine time of formation of the cultural layer that is associated with deposits of the fi fth buried soil (pedocomplex 5, dated to ~0.5 Ma ago). Characteristics of archaeological fi nds (662 artifacts) from eight cultural horizons are discussed. Primary reduction is dominated by the simplest parallel, radial, and slice cores. Among fl akes, “citrus slices” and decortication chips are the most frequent. Tools include numerous fl akes and retouched fragments. Single-edged sidescrapers on large fl akes, denticulate-notched tools, and unifaces are abundant. The concentration of artifacts is very high for the Khovaling Loess Plateau. Lakhuti IV is the fi rst site of the Loessic Paleolithic where artifacts occur in distinct archaeological horizons. Industries associated with pedocomplexes 6–4 in the region (Obi-Mazar-VI, Lakhuti-I, -IV, etc.) show common features, such as primary reduction techniques (slice, radial, simple parallel) and the composition of the toolkits (choppers, unifaces, single-edged side-scrapers, etc.). The fi ndings allow us to draw more reliable parallels with contemporaneous industries of other regions. The closest similarities to industries of the Karatau culture are seen among the Soanian industries in northern Hindustan and the Early Paleolithic assemblages of southwestern China.

14-26 60

We describe fi nds from layer 24 of Kulbulak, Western Tien Shan, excavated in 2018–2019. On the basis of the age of layer 16 (MIS 5e) and the geological context of the deposits, the profi le of the site was subdivided into paleogeographic stages. Layers 25–22 likely correlate with the warming period in the second half of MIS 7. Primary reduction in layer 24 industry was based on parallel uni- and bidirectional techniques, with wide and narrow-faced cores, and following the Levallois strategy. Tools include various side-scrapers, a point on a heavily retouched blade, a retouched blade, an atypical angular end-scraper, and blanks of bifaces. Parallels are found between those fi nds and contemporaneous industries of the Near East. Technologically and likely chronologically, layer 24 is intermediate between Late Amudian and Early Middle Paleolithic assemblages of the Tabun D stage. This is evidenced by a combination of non-Levallois and Levallois fl aking (the latter being predominant), by different types of blanks within the same reduction sequence, by a high share of blades among blanks, by bifacial pieces, by an elongated heavily retouched point, and by an atypical end-scraper.

27-37 79

On the basis of new materials excavated in 2019–2021 from the Upper Paleolithic site of Kushevat, this study addresses the problem of initial human occupation of the Subpolar Urals. Geological and geomorphological fi ndings are presented along with new chronological and paleogeographical data. Archaeological and faunal materials are described, and result s of the traceological analysis of reindeer antlers with cut and chop marks are presented. The fi ndings suggest that Kushevat was a pioneer settlement of the northern Ob region. The obtained luminescence and radiocarbon ages suggest that the peopling of the Lower Ob region occurred prior to 30 ka BP. Climatic conditions during the fi rst half of the Upper Paleolithic (55–25 ka BP) were favorable for humans in the subpolar zone. Geological and geomorphological situation at the Upper Paleolithic sites of northwestern Urals (the Pechora and Kama basins) can be used as a paleogeographic analogue of the conditions in the Lower Ob region during the Pleistocene. The principal Upper Paleolithic sites in the region are associated with accumulations of megafaunal remains in the mouths of ancient gullies. Archaeological sites apparently consisted of two areas differing in location, economic specialization, and toolkit. Areas of the fi rst type include residential zones on leveled areas of the second river terraces adjacent to the ravines. Those of the second type are estuarine zones of modern valleys of streams and rivers, where huge accumulations of megafaunal remains are preserved at the bottoms of ancient ravines.

38-48 64

This paper presents a brief overview of studies exploring the origin of civilizations in modern archaeology of China and Japan and mostly concerning the Neolithic period. The analysis of publications shows that in Chinese and Japanese archaeology, original scholarly traditions have been developed, with their own methodological foundations and terminology. We outline the key ideas relating to the origin of civilization, elaborated by researches in China (Su Bingqi, Yan Wenming, Li Boqian, Xu Hong, Gao Jiangtao) and Japan (Harunari Hideji, Watanabe Hiroshi, Sasaki Fujio, Yasuda Yoshinori). We show that most Chinese scholars consider the formation of state a sine qua non of transition to the civilization stage. However, the problem of identifying criteria of civilization and state formation using archaeological data has not been resolved to date. Examples of archaeological markers of civilization proposed by Chinese specialists are listed. In the works by Japanese researchers, no connection between the emergence of the state and civilization has been revealed. Most Chinese archaeologists date the emergence of civilization and of the fi rst state formations to the Late Neolithic (Dawenkou, Hongshan, Liangzhu, Longshan, etc.), ca 3500–2000 BC. There are alternative hypotheses—the Early Bronze Age (Erlitou culture) and the Late Bronze Age (the Spring and Autumn period). In Japanese archaeology, there are two main positions regarding the time when civilization had formed—the Jōmon period (Neolithic) and the subsequent Yayoi period (Bronze Age). Scholarly and external (including political) factors that have infl uenced modern concepts of the origin of civilization require special historiographic research.


49-56 47

The petroglyphs at Pisany Kamen on the right bank of the Angara, near Klimino, Kezhemsky District, Krasnoyarsk Territory, fi rst described by D.G. Messerschmidt in 1725, have been examined by many specialists. Most previous studies, however, were superfi cial, and the information they provided was unreliable and contradictory. To specify the site’s location and to study the petroglyphs in more detail, using more advanced methods, the archaeological team from Krasnoyarsk Pedagogical University visited Pisany Kamen in 1999–2000. A topographic survey was carried out, and the petroglyphs were photographed and copied. Both previously known and new petroglyphs were recorded, showing animals, anthropomorphic fi gures in masks, and a separate mask. Results were compared with those recorded by Messerschmidt. The estimated dates of the site fall within a broad interval from the Early Bronze Age to the Late Iron Age (2nd millennium BC to 1st millennium AD). The pe troglyphs are relevant to various aspects of the ideology and material culture of the ancient popula tion of the region. Their further study will hopefully disclose the semantics of many images and assess their cultural and chronological attribution, relevant to the history of several modern groups of Siberia.

57-65 63

We describe an unusual burial at a stratifi ed Chalcolithic site Shaitanskoye 4-6 on the coast of the eponymous lake in the Sverdlovsk Region. An individual, aged 18–35 was buried in an oval fl at-grave pit, 1.6 × 0.56 × 0.2 m in size. We give a detailed description of sixty funerary items, made of stone: three unusually large knives manufactured on thin chert plates (the nearest outcrops are found in Northern Kazakhstan and Southern Urals); a projectile head, 19 arrowheads, 18 fl int bladelets from a side-bladed tool, a polished axe-adze, a composite tool on a blade, two plates with use-wear traces, and 15 beads. Notably, some of the artifacts are made of “southern” rocks. The results of the isotope analysis indicate considerable mobility and close ties between populations of the forest and steppe Trans- Urals in the 4th and 3d millennia BC. The Chalcolithic site, which, apart from the burial, includes habitation deposits with numerous artifacts such as ceramics of various types, lithics including a large series of arrowheads and several fl int fi gurines, can be viewed as a complex archaeological object where, among other activities, rites were performed securing group consolidation.

66-73 92

The article discusses the linguistic affi liation of the Okunev people. Arguments are cited favoring the idea that they spoke a Dene-Caucasian language belonging to the Yeniseian branch. This is indirectly evidenced by genetic and cultural ties between Okunev ancestors and Native Americans, by parallels to Okunev art in prehistoric China and on the northwestern coast of North America, and by Okunev type petroglyphs in northern Kashmir, where, in addition, a linguistic isolate is preserved—Burushaski, a language related to Yeniseian. Being a relict population, which remained in the place from where the Dene-Caucasian speaking tribes had migrated in various directions, Okunevans may have been ancestors of Yeniseians (another contender is the Karasuk population, whose ties with Okunevans remain to be established), as well as collateral relatives of Na-Dene, Sino-Tibetans, and other Dene- Caucasians. Alternative proposals, such as a Uralic, specifi cally Samoyed affi liation of the Okunev language, are less probable for several reasons. The idea that this language was Indo-Iranian, which almost necessarily follows from the hypothesis that the key role in Okunev origins was played by Yamnaya-Catacomb tribes, is quite unlikely. This idea is much more plausible with regard to Chaa-Khol people of Tuva, who display marked cranial affi nities with a number of Yamnaya and Catacomb groups and with Scythians of the Pontic steppes. Okunevans proper show no such affi nities.

74-84 65

In recent years, dendrochronological analysis in archaeology has undergone a substantial transformation, offering an opportunity to use samples of wood that were previously considered uninformative. One striking example is the analysis of charcoal excavated from archaeological sites. We have studied 448 samples of charcoal collected from metallurgical (iron smelting) furnaces in the Kurai and Chuya basins of the Russian Altai Mountains. Earlier methods of preparing such samples were slow and ineffi cient. Our approach guarantees fast, simple, and high-quality preparation of a large number of samples of virtually any size and shape. Its advantages include low cost of apparatus, high quality measurement of annual rings, the possibility of effi cient remote measurement, no need for verifi cation, and a wider range of measured parameters of the annual ring. Hopefully, the new approach will help to solve the critical problem relating to the construction of a tree-ring chronology in the arid zone of Southern Siberia. Such a c hronology will be highly prospective for assessing the age of wood from numerous mounds in the intermountain depressions of the Altai- Sayan region, and year-by-year reconstructions of the humidity regime; and for revealing extreme droughts and other climatic phenomena in this territory.

85-92 59

The article outlines the fi ndings of excavations of a ritual building discovered at the Southern Ussuri fortifi ed site (Primorye Territory), identifi ed as the capital of the Xupin county of the Jurchen Jin Dynasty. Previously it was thought that the Southern Ussuri town was founded by the Balhae people and that during its early period it was the center of the Balhae district of Shuaibin, while the Jurchens appeared there later. However, our fi ndings suggest that the town belonged to the Jurchens from the beginning. Despite the high density of modern buildings on the territory of the medieval town, our study of what was left of the habitation deposits has allowed us to determine the architectural horizons and to associate them with specifi c historical periods. Based on the analysis of materials excavated from a building located on the upper architectural horizon, architectural features of a medieval building representing the Buddhist tradition were described: the colonnade, roof style, and sculptural representations of dragons, phoenixes, and Buddhist immortals. New decorative motifs on the tiles of the front and eaves of the roof were discovered, and new standards of building materials were identifi ed. The fi ndings suggest that the ritual structure dates to the 13th century— the second period of the Jurchen Eastern Xia State (1234–1276), preceding the Yuan Dynasty. Special architectural features revealed during the excavations of the upper architectural horizon are reliable indicators for assessing the age of other sites in Primorye.

93-101 70

We present the fi ndings of studies concerning the irrigation systems of the Altai and outline the directions of their further exploration. Irrigation canals, widely distributed in alpine valleys and intermontane depressions, are streams of the drift type. Most are found in central Altai and in the Chulyshman River valley of eastern Altai. Complex irrigation systems were recorded in the Bilgebash and Sarduma river mouths in the Chuya valley, in the Chulcha River mouth in the Chulyshman valley, and in Tötö, the Kurai basin. Pilot excavations of the main canals showed that wooden troughs had been placed on their bottoms. Radiocarbon analysis of wood from those troughs (Cheba and Oroktoi) suggests that they date to the Late Middle Ages, and a soil sample from the bottom of the canal of the Tenga irrigation system indicates early medieval age. In the 1800s and early 1900s, canals were used by the natives mainly for watering small plots of barley, but also of wheat and rye. Agriculture has been practiced in the Altai at least since the Early Iron Age, having fl ourished, apparently, during the Early Middle Ages. The fi rst irrigation systems must have appeared together with the fi rst farmers; however, taking into account the prolonged use and modifi cations of the main canals, assessing the time of their initial construction is diffi cult.

102-109 47

This study focuses on an Old Believers’ skete near the village of Maltsevo, Fort Chaus, north of modern Novosibirsk, where, according to mid-18th century documents, community members committed self-immolation. Documents differ as to where the rite occurred, how many people died, and how the skete was built. As compared to other contemporaneous sketes in Russia, this one is described in more detail. To all appearances, its construction resembled that of other Siberian forts. Similarities include an outer palisade wall, up to 2.45 m high, and the use of the logwork of houses as towers. The reason behind those parallels may be that preachers and community members were familiar with the fortifi cations of Fort Chaus. Fortifi ed Old Believers’ sketes are known in the Upper Ob region. The estimated living space of the log cabins fully corresponds to written data about the number of persons who took refuge in the skete. The search for the actual remains of the skete is ongoing and should be continued because this architectural structure, which existed for no more than one and a half months before the fi re (May–June 1756), is a unique site of the late 18th century.


110-119 44

This article introduces four silver dishes and a copper plaque from Ob Ugrian sanctuaries in the Yamal-Nenets and Khanty-Mansi (Yugra) Autonomous Okrugs. A dish representing a bird snatching a fi sh; a dish and a plaque representing deer; a medallion of a dish showing a griffi n and two fl ying birds; and a dish (sliced into pieces) with a scene of a wedding feast were apparently manufactured at the Ural-Hungarian center in the 9th or 10th century. Parallels from medieval workshops of Iran and Central Asia are listed. In terms of technology and ornamentation, seven artifacts from the Ural-Hungarian center can be regarded as a separate subgroup. Each is made from three superimposed silver sheets without gilding and has a thin punched ornamentation on the face (its negative image is clearly visible on the reverse side). The ornamentation includes a border consisting of two parallel arches and a vertical dash with three round imprints of a punch, arranged in a pyramid, and a punch imprint on the animal’s paw. Both humans and animals have large almond-shaped eyes with iris but no pupil. A dish with a scratched drawing superimposed on the principal composition is the fi rst known example of such an item among the Ural-Hungarian artifacts. An explanation is provided as to why those artifacts survived in the ritual practice of Ob Ugrians, and ways they could be used in the ritual are suggested. 

120-128 44

This article describes an unusual source—the “Draft of the Land of Fort Narym” from the “Sketchbook of Siberia” by Semen Remezov. This is a spatial-graphic model, rendering late 17th-century realities in a conventional schematic manner. It covers the Narymsky and Ketsky uyezds (currently, northern Tomsk Region, known as Narym Territory). The encoded information relates to the history, geography, ethnography, settlement, and infrastructure at this territory in the late 17th century. One of the features represents elevations. We discuss its accuracy and relevance to the history and culture of the Narym Territory, and outline the ways of solving related problems. To render elevations, the cartographer used two types of conventional signs: those actually representing mountains and ranges, and thick lines. We conclude that “mountains” on the draft refer to real geographic features of the Narym Territory, described by 17th–19th century travelers and scholars and by the local oral tradition, and supported by modern geographical records. S.U. Remezov represented elevated areas with reference to their practical meaning for Russian reclamation.

129-141 45

This article describes the works of Theodor (Fedor) Fjelstrup (1889–1933)—a Russian ethnographer, one of those who laid the groundwork for the systematic studies of the Turkic world of Central Asia. We used materials from the archives of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS (F.A. Fjelstrups’ holding): the diary of the Minusinsk- Abakan 1920 Expedition and the notebook. We discuss the hitherto unknown episodes in the ethnographic studies of the Yenisei region, the foundation of the Institute for the Study of Siberia, the organization and work of the Minusinsk-Abakan 1920 Expedition, whose records we introduce, and its route. Data on settlements, utensils, clan structures, systems of kinship, family rites, folklore, and shamanic beliefs are analyzed. Using the historical approach, Fjelstrup traced the dynamism of the Khakas culture, being one of the fi rst to discuss the syncretism of their beliefs. Using materials of the Minusinsk-Abakan Expedition, we demonstrate that he implemented a comprehensive approach combining linguistic, ethnographic, and anthropological evidence. This scholarly tradition, which was widely practiced in the 20th century, maintains its importance in future studies of the Turkic groups of Central Asia.


142-152 88

We present the results of a metric study of a male Early Holocene cranium found in a cave near the Khatystyr village, Yakutia, in 1962. Eight measurements taken on the specimen were subjected to canonical discriminant analysis, using individual data on 14 ancient samples from Siberia and the Far East. Euclidean distances between these samples were calculated, and k-means clustering was performed. Results revealed similarity of the Khatystyr individual with Serovo crania from Cis-Baikal and with the Neolithic series from the Baraba forest-steppe. This suggests that the Khatystyr male is closely related to the earliest Upper Paleolithic populations of North Asia. A related component, assimilated by members of later migration waves, was also detected in other Northeast Asia territories, including Sakhalin, but is absent in the Neolithic samples from Primorye, in the Old Koryak and Old Bering Sea samples. Comparison with the Late Neolithic Ymyyakhtakh sample from Diring-Yuryakh, Yakutia, reveals no continuity between Early and Middle Holocene groups of that region. The Diring-Yuryakh sample shares no similarity with any other group, and likely represents an isolate.