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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 50, No 2 (2022)
View or download the full issue PDF

PALEOENVIRONMENT. THE STONE AGE 

3-12 83
Abstract

This study introduces a recently discovered Neolithic culture of insular Northeast Asia. The initial stage of the Kurile Neolithic is described using findings from the 2019–2020 excavations at Kitovyi-2 and -4 on Iturup Island, the Greater Kurile Chain, Sakhalin Region. Several types of Neolithic feature were first revealed on the Kuriles by excavating large areas. The site includes dwellings mostly of two types–terranean with wooden frames that are not dug into the ground, and semisubterranean. Artifacts include linear-relief pottery and retouched bifacial stone tools on flakes and entire singularities, processed by advanced polishing. For the first time on the Kuriles, long barrows encircled by basalt plates along the perimeter were detected. These structures with evidently non-utilitarian enclosures made of plates, tentatively identified as places for cremation burials and funerary rites, indicate symbolic behavior. On the basis of this key criterion, we propose to attribute Kitovyi-2 and -4 to the culture of long barrows. Stratigraphic evidence, supported by radiocarbon analysis, allows us to establish the initial stage of the Kurile Neolithic, dating to 13.0–8.5 cal ka BP.

13-27 78
Abstract

We describe the findings of excavations at an unusual sanctuary in the Baraba forest-steppe. It is a structure consisting of a ditch encircling the presumed sacral space, and a system of pits containing non-utilitarian artifacts. Pits in the bottom of the ditch indicate wooden structures, which are not preserved. Descriptions of the features are provided. Artifacts are related to household, manufacturing, and ritual. On the basis of stratigraphy and radiocarbon analysis, relative and absolute chronology is assessed. The site dates to the 7th–6th millennia BC and is associated with the Barabinskaya culture. Parallels with Mesolithic and Neolithic sanctuaries and ritual sites in the Eurasian taiga zone are listed.

28-40 68
Abstract

Over the recent decade, abstracts of many thousands of folktales recorded in Europe and Asia have been added to our Electronic Catalogue of World Mythology and Folklore. Their analysis reveals systematic parallels between the traditions of Western Eurasia and America, those of the Plains Indians in particular. Such motifs are especially apparent in Ancient Greek mythology (Phaethon’s fall, Pasiphae and the bull, cranes attacking dwarfs, etc.). Although they have been known since the 19th century, no explanation for them could be proposed for a long time. The situation changed thanks to recent advances in Siberian paleogenetics. Before the peak of the Last Glacial Maximum, Eastern Siberian populations (Yana RHS and Malta) exhibited European affinities. By the mid-Holocene, population replacement occurred. It was not abrupt, but eventually resulted in a breakup of the initial cultural continuum spanning the Eurasian boreal zone and later extending to the New World. Many of the Western Eurasian–American motifs are episodes from stories of adventures. On the other hand, parallels between traditions of the Indo-Pacific rim of Asia and America mostly relate to motifs that are mythological in the narrow sense (etiological and cosmological), including early ones, evidently stemming from Africa. From the Hunno-Sarmatian, if not Scythian age onward, Southern Siberian and Central Asian motifs had been transferred to Western Eurasia on a large scale. Classical sources mirror an earlier stage of European mythology, hence the difference between the Ancient Greek set of motifs and that peculiar to later European traditions.

THE METAL AGES AND MEDIEVAL PERIOD 

41-48 60
Abstract

This study introduces a crested shaft-hole axe found on the southern shore of Lake Maidan, Vengerovsky District, Novosibirsk Region. Such random finds are regarded as markers of Bronze Age landscape zones and transportation routes in southwestern Siberia. Shaft-hole axes with slight crests occurred on this territory from the mid to late 2nd millennium BC. In addition to such axes, several casting molds made of clay, stone or metal have been found, possibly suggesting that axes were not only imported but also manufactured locally. These random finds of shaft hole axes can be considered markers of the complex, mirroring not only Middle and Late Bronze Age distribution areas, but also a considerable northward shift of landscape borders during an episode of climatic change, as well as indicating key routes for the migration of people associated with various traditions and objects. The mapping of various subtypes of shaft-hole axes from the Baraba forest-steppe revealed one such route, leading northward from southwestern Siberia to the Vasyugan Swamp. Apart from the series of axes from Baraba, certain cemeteries, such as Stary Tartas-4, yielded miniature replicas used as personal adornments. This feature links the north of the western part of the axes’ distribution area (the forest-steppe zone of the Ob-Irtysh watershed) with its eastern part – the Minusinsk Basin.

49-59 48
Abstract

Archaeological and anthropological data concerning two children’s burials representing the early horizon at Boldyrevo-4 kurgan 1, Orenburg Region, excavated in 2019–2020, are presented. Early mounds were covered by a huge kurgan above another, later burial of adults. The entire complex was built by the Yamnaya people at the turn of the early and middle stages of this culture, about 3300–3100 cal BC. Remains of three children, aged about 6, from two graves, were examined. Severe pathological conditions were discovered. The child from burial 3 died of metastatic cancer. Child 1 from burial 4, represented only by a cranium, possibly suffered from scurvy. The oncological condition may have been triggered by a long stay at a smoky hearth or proximity to a metalworking site, since the Yamnaya population of the Southern Urals was engaged in an intense exploitation of copper deposits. In both children’s burials, common elements of the Yamnaya funerary rite were accompanied by certain unusual features. Vessels were similar in form and decoration, but different in manufacturing technique. The organic substances of which the mats under the skeletons were made display certain differences. These features suggest that children belonged to related but separate groups. Children buried under early mounds apparently had a special inherited social status that had an effect on the further construction of the kurgan for members of the elite.

60-70 47
Abstract

We present the results of a functional analysis of lithics of the Yankovsky culture (800 BC to the turn of the millennium) from two sites–Cherepakha-7 and Solontsovaya-2, excavated over large areas during salvage works in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Such tools are traditionally described as axes, adzes, chisels, knives, spearheads, and projectile points. Certain findings of the functional analysis disagree with this classification. The question arises of the correspondence between formal typological and traceological criteria. For functional analysis, the so-called Keeley method, or High Power Approach, was used, along with the classification of polishing types, elaborated at Tohoku University (Japan). Functions of 28 of the 62 tools selected for high-precision functional analysis were assessed. The existing nomenclature of woodworking tool types is clarified, information on the technique of harvesting herbaceous plants and on leatherworking tools is significantly specified. More details are provided on tools involved in bone carving, as well as those used to open shells of bivalve mollusks. The High Power Approach has enhanced our understanding of the functions of stone tools, which, despite the use of metals, were basic in Yankovsky technologies. Further directions of traceological studies are suggested.

71-80 44
Abstract

This article presents the results of an interdisciplinary study of kurgan 30 at Khankarinsky Dol, located on the left bank of the Inya River, 1–1.5 km southeast of Chineta, Krasnoshchekovsky District, Altai Territory (northwestern Altai). This is a Pazyryk kurgan, under which a looted double burial of a male and an adolescent was found. Their heads were apparently oriented toward the east. Along the northern wall of the grave, an accompanying burial of seven horses was found, placed in two rows, heads oriented to the east. The morphological analysis showed all of them to be stallions, resembling those from other mounds of this group. Morphological comparison with horses from other Pazyryk kurgans in the Altai revealed both similarities and differences. Analysis of the grave goods, including iron bits, a bone pipe-shaped bead, tiny bronze daggers in wooden scabbards, a pickaxe, numerous fragments of gold foil from the horse harness, and fragments of Chinese wooden lacquer ware, suggests that the burial was made no earlier than the 4th century BC – possibly in the late 4th to early 3rd century BC. Radiocarbon analysis was carried out at the Tomsk Institute for Monitoring Climatic and Ecological Systems of the SB RAS Center for Isotopic Studies. The funerary rite and the artifacts suggest that kurgan 30 was constructed for members of the nomadic elite of the northwestern Altai.

81-89 40
Abstract

This article describes the methods used in the multidisciplinary study, preservation, and museumization of a wooden structure from a grave under the Early Iron Age kurgan 5 at Pazyryk in the Altai. The structure consisted of two chambers with additional elements on top. Its technological analysis was carried out during the excavations, and the structure was subjected to special treatment after extraction. At the side the mound, the outer cribwork was reconstructed; its details and technologies were evaluated. The stages in the field conservation of all artifacts are described. The museumization of the outer cribwork at the Anokhin National Museum of the Republic of Altai is outlined.

90-100 43
Abstract

In 1989–1990, five decorative belts worn by the Xianbei Period nomads were excavated from the Karban I cemetery in the Chemalsky District, Altai Republic. Their details (33 plaques, five buckles, six “units”, and two “pendant tips”) were found in four undisturbed graves of males (mounds 11, 27, 33, and 39). They are described with regard to function, decoration, and chronology. Parallels from the Altai and adjacent territories, dating to the late 1st millennium BC–early 1st millennium AD, are listed. A more precise attribution is the Early Xianbei Period (100–300 AD), correlating with the Bulan-Koby culture of the Altai. Available facts suggest that the style of these artifacts was influenced by the Xiongnu and Xianbei traditions. On the basis of the finds in situ, several variants of belt sets, some of which are hitherto unknown, have been reconstructed. The composition of the belts is unrelated to the owners’ age and evidently mirrors their personal preferences. The results demonstrate the social relevance of the belts, since most were found in burials of top-ranking males.

101-110 46
Abstract

This study proposes a novel methodological approach to reconstructing the boundaries and structure of medieval settlements without relief features. In recent centuries, the areas of most sites were used for plowing, destroying their relief features. Erosion eventually redistributed the soil of the destroyed occupation layers. Therefore, not only the area of a site must be studied, but the adjoining areas as well. Tendencies in the distribution of the transported occupation layer mirror the thickness of the original culture-bearing deposits. Such estimates can be obtained by collating archaeological and science-based data. First, multispectral aerial photographs are subjected to statistical analysis. The results are then used to subdivide the settlement territory into smaller areas differing in vegetation density. Comparison with the results of geophysical, soil, and archaeological studies allows us to interpret those areas, to assess the state of preservation of the occupation layer (superficially disrupted, replaced, or transported). Previous multidisciplinary studies at the Kushman cluster of sites (9th–13th centuries AD) revealed substantial differences from the traditional classification (fortified settlement and group of unfortified rural settlements). Two sites can be defined as fortified settlements (Uchkakar and Kushmanskoye III), whereas Kushmanskoye II is an economic development area. The use of statistical analysis of multispectral imaging enabled us not only to confirm the previously proposed reconstruction, but also to substantiate the hypothesis about the initial boundaries and structure of the settlements.

111-118 39
Abstract

This article analyzes the work done by the Swedish prisoner of the Great Northern War Philip Johan Tabbert von Strahlenberg during his stay in Siberia and aimed at exploring ancient and traditional cultures of Western Siberia and the Minusinsk Basin. A brief overview of earlier studies is presented. The conditions of Strahlenberg’s work are outlined. His main interests, from his arrival in Siberia’s capital until his return to Sweden, concerned the cartography, ethnology, and archaeology of the environs of Tobolsk and of the entire Western Siberia, Minusinsk Basin, and Southern Siberian highlands in particular. Some episodes in Strahlenberg’s activities as a researcher and collector are described with a focus on the difficulties he experienced, specifically when collecting ancient artifacts and written documents. Certain results of his research are highlighted. From the modern standpoint, the article examines the significance of Strahlenberg’s work for Russian archaeology at the stage when its basis of sources was being formed. His place among the first experts in Western and Southern Siberian ancient and traditional cultures is assessed. The key role in the organization and consolidation of research in the remote fringes of the Russian State in the early 1700s belonged to the Russian Academy of Sciences.

ETHNOLOGY 

119-127 37
Abstract

This study, based on materials collected in the 18th–20th centuries, and on the author’s field findings over the last 40 years, shows the role of rocks in the Ob Ugrian worldview and ritual practices. Evidence is provided on the veneration of various natural stone objects. Reasons for the cult of worshipping such places are discussed. One reason was that the rock resembled a human or animal figure. In legends and myths, the stone houses of heroic ancestors were correlated with numerous caves in the Ural Mountains. The main part of the article introduces materials relating to the stone figures of deities and patron spirits, supported by mythical narratives explaining the ways that a mythological hero was changed into stone. Examples are given of the figures of deities with a stone base found among local groups of the Ob Ugrians, such as the Lyapin and Sosva Mansi, Synya and Polui Khanty. The role of rocks in childbirth and funerary rites is examined, as well as their role in economic practices such as fishing. In Khanty and Mansi mythological beliefs, the modifier «stony» was equivalent to «iron» or «strong».

128-139 48
Abstract

This study deals with the concept of «cultural heritage» in the Kyrgyz Republic, including both material culture and traditional ideology. We describe their codification, and strategies for their preservation and popularization. We draw on a large database, which includes findings of original fieldwork. We outline the elaboration of the concept of cultural heritage and its content, presenting a systematic description of institutional aspect and meaning, and we analyze the practices of its implementation. The historical and cultural heritage is viewed as a multifactorial space. The realities of modern Kyrgyzstan suggest that the nation implements integration strategies in foreign policy. While using the notions of cultural heritage and traditional values, the republic strengthens its ties with other members of the CIS, raising the level of its integration into the Central Asian community and maintaining its status as part of the world civilization. Cultural heritage is a key resource of social change and the economic stabilization of local communities. Its preservation at the level of everyday culture, academic, and educational practices, museums, festivals, etc. is a condition of national consolidation.

ANTHROPOLOGY AND PALEOGENETICS 

140-149 69
Abstract

Migration processes played a key role in shaping the cultural and genetic landscapes in Eurasia. Significant progress in the field of migration studies in recent years is associated with the development of methods for studying ancient DNA, making it possible to reach a new level of understanding the population-genetic aspects of ancient migrations and significantly supplementing the evidence of paleoanthropology and genetics of modern populations, but not replacing these areas. A key challenge is the correct comparison of processes accompanying migrations at the population genetic level and at the level of material culture. The article highlights current methods used in studying ancient DNA, from the traditional analysis of individual genetic markers to the genome-wide analysis by high-throughput sequencing. Approaches to the study of ancient migrations and to the objective reconstruction of the genetic profile of populations and its dynamics in time and space are assessed. Special attention is paid to the problem of representative sampling in the study of migration processes using paleogenetic methods, and possible strategies for selecting the materials most adequate to the tasks of the study. Ways of enhancing the efficiency of the diachronic approach in reconstructing the genetic history of populations are discussed. Possible prospects of paleogenetic studies are evaluated, including the transition to more detailed reconstructions of local migration processes.

150-156 155
Abstract

Porotic hyperostosis (PH) is the skeletal marker used in the estimation of physiological stress suffered in childhood. Despite a conventional hypothesis that mankind’s health conditions declined with the advent of agriculture, there are few reports comparing the PH seen on ancient crania of hunters-fishermen-gatherers and agrarian peoples. In this study, we examined the crania of 16th to 19th century Eurasian peoples: Siberian natives (hunters-fishermen-gatherers), Russian settlers, and Joseon Koreans (agriculturalists) to see whether PH could be observed to differ between populations with varying subsistence strategies. The prevalence of PH decreased in the order of Joseon people (18.9 %), Russian settlers (6.3 %), and Siberian natives (3.8 %). In brief, the hunters-fishermen-gatherers’ stress level was lower than agriculture-based Joseon people and Russian settlers. In addition, Joseon people might have been exposed to more serious stressful episodes than Russian settlers were. We assume that the former might have lived under much stressful conditions than the latter did, though both people depended on intense agriculture. As for sexual dimorphism of PH: in all groups, males were identified with more PH signs than females were. Our report successfully shows that the detailed pattern of stress markers might have been influenced by complex interactions between various factors that existed under different conditions in history.

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