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).

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Current issue

Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access
Vol 49, No 4 (2021)
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3-14 80

The lithic industry of the stratified site Go Da in Central Vietnam is described, and its place among the contemporaneous Early Paleolithic sites of East and Southeast Asia is determined. Results of a morphological technotypological analysis of the Go Da assemblage are provided. Go Da is attributed to the An Khe-type sites situated in the eponymous area of Vietnam. Cores and tools were made from pebbles, less often from fl akes. Primary reduction focused on simple pebble cores with natural striking-platforms, whereas radial cores were less common. Predom inant among the tools are picks, scrapers of various modifi cations, choppers, and chopping tools, as well as denticulate and notched tools; also, bifaces occur. These tools belong to a single homogeneous industry, showing common features in primary reduction, preparation, and design of key artifacts. On the basis of analysis of the stratigraphic sequence of Go Da and the absolute date of 806 ± 22 ka BP, generated by the potassium-argon analysis of tektites, it is proposed that the site is older than other dated locations with the An Khe industry. Apparently, it resulted from a convergent evolution of the pebble-fl ake industry introduced by the fi rst wave of Homo erectus from Africa. Go Da and other An Khe sites likely belong to a vast habitation zone of Southeast Asian hominins with technologically and typologically similar industries dating to the boundary between the Lower and the Middle Pleistocene.

15-23 70

This article presents the results of a comparative study of personal ornaments from Xiaogushan Cave in the interregional and regional context of the formation of modern behavior. Xiaogushan is a Paleolithic and Neolithic site in Northeast China. In the Upper Paleolithic layers of the site, apart from tools, personal ornaments were found— pendants made from animal teeth, and a decorated bone disc. The date of the site is a matter of debate; ornaments from layers 2 and 3 date to ~30 ka BP. Like other bone artifacts (harpoon, needles, point), and together with types of stone tools and lithic technology, they mirror the local process of Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. We focus on similarities between the Xiaogushan ornaments and Upper Paleolithic pendants from northern China and Eurasia in general, attesting to modern behavior during the transitional period and being an important marker of the spread of Upper Paleolithic innovations from the centers to the periphery. Xiaogushan is the fi rst Upper Paleolithic industry in Northeast China known to date, and demonstrates skills and symbolic behavior typical of the initial Upper Paleolithic. The Xiaogushan pendants follow the general tendencies, while being specifi c markers of the evolution of symbolic behavior in Eastern Eurasia.

24-36 42

Burnt deposits are an important source of information on ancient lifestyles, providing the possibility of reconstructing the size, intensity of use, and functions of fi replaces at prehistoric settlements, and to assess fuel sources. We outline the results of a multidisciplinary study of fi replaces and their contexts at Surungur—a stratifi ed site in the Fergana Valley, in southern Kyrgyzstan. Sixteen samples from ash lenses and intermediate deposits were studied by rock-magnetism, gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and X-ray fl uorescence (XRF). The rock-magnetic analysis suggests that the origin of all samples from ash lenses was anthropogenic. Types of fuel were reconstructed. At the initial stage (Early Holocene), the encompassing deposits likely resulted from short-term occupation, and fuel consisted of wood and grass/ dung. In the Middle Holocene, occupation became more long-term, as evidenced by maximal heating temperatures and high concentration of fi replaces. During the Late Holocene, habitation intensity on the platform under the stone ledge remained the same, but heating was less intense. Wood and grass/dung were used as fuel at all stages, suggesting that wood was available in the region throughout the Holocene.


37-42 35

Handles of Early Iron Age bronze cauldrons from southwestern Siberia are described with reference to their ritual meaning. Typological features, such as knobs, arcuate, or square shape, are relevant for dating. Two chronological groups are established: the Tagar (second half of the 1st millennium BC) and Xiongnu-Xianbei (late 1st millennium BC to early 1st millennium AD). The interpretation of handles depends on the context. At settlements (Turunovka-4) and in certain hoards (First Dzhirim) of the Late Bronze Age, they can belong to foundry scrap. However, handles occur in long-term ritual sites such as Aidashenskaya Cave, suggesting a different interpretation. Indeed, at Eastern European forest-steppe sites of the Xiongnu era, handles of cauldrons had been intentionally buried, most often near water sources, where the summer camps of nomadic herders were situated. A similar situation is observed in southwestern Siberia, from the Baraba forest-steppe to the Middle Yenisei valley.

43-56 46

This study demonstrates that certain similarities in the domestic artifacts, clothing, and weapons in the Pazyryk burials of the Altai, those in the oases of Xinjiang (Subashi, Yanghai, Jumbulak Kum, Wupu, Keriya, etc.), and those in the piedmont of the southern Altai Mountains, do not evidence a single culture. Such parallels in basic items are caused only by spatial proximity and contacts. Personal ornaments, decoration of utensils, weapons, and horse harness, and signs such as tattoos are more reliable cultural indicators. Every member of the Pazyryk society, regardless of age, was marked by a set of outward signs, distinguishing him or her from the neighbors. This set included tattoos, and also ornaments worn on the clothing, headgear and belt, and decorating the horse. The elaborate Pazyryk traditions of woodcarving enabled everyone to have equally meaningful ornaments, which, like the artistic tattoos, made him or her recognizable. The term “Pazyryk style” is proposed. Being the most exact cultural indicator, it extends to all elements of culture, uniting the Pazyryk people despite the fact that their lifestyle, subsistence, etc., were identical to those of their neighbors.

57-68 36

This study continues a series of publications describing the fi ndings of excavations at the Karakabak cemetery on the Mangyshlak Peninsula, dating to the Hunnic period. Burial 11 was that of a girl dressed in an outfi t imitating a royal vestment. The reconstructed headdress consisted of a cape decorated with round, gold plaques and a diadem-type headband of red cloth with mask-shaped plaques. The central forehead plaque is a replica of Hellenistic gorgoneia. Similar masks were found in the Volga basin and the Northern Black Sea region. Temporal mask-plaques, carved of wood and covered with gold foil, have no parallels but follow the archaic Scythian tradition. Belt and shoe buckles were not attached to belts and were not used in everyday life. In terms of style and technique, the gold casing with an embossed geometric design on a wooden base belongs to a series of artifacts of the so-called Shipovo horizon. The buckle frames are shaped as stylized birds of prey with spread wings. The forehead plaque and details of the shoe straps are paralleled by those from Altynkazgan. The Karakabak artifacts are unique for the Aral-Caspian region, providing yet another indication of close cultural ties with the Hunnic world. All details of the outfi t were likely manufactured at a nearby workshop (the Karakabak settlement) in the second half of the 5th or fi rst half of the 6th century for the burial of a nomadic noblewoman.

69-79 34

We outline the results of prospection studies at the Novaya Kurya-1 cemetery in the south of Western Siberia, using remote sensing methods such as aerial photography, ground-based magnetometry, high-precision aeromagnetic survey, electromagnetic profi ling, and electrotomography. Original techniques were used to construct relative relief maps, and an inversion of data from ground-based magnetic survey at various altitudes was carried out. The fi rst technique reduces the effect of natural relief, and highlights anthropogenic altitudinal anomalies, making the analysis of digital elevation models more effi cient. The second technique is helpful for assessing the thickness and depth of anomalous magnetic bodies or horizons, not only providing planigraphic information but enabling us to evaluate two- and threedimensional geometric properties of the detected objects. As a result of the analyses, at least 14 kurgans were identifi ed at the cemetery, six of which lack salient outward features. Structural details suggest that most of them date to the Early Scythian time (800–400 BC). On the basis of the interpretation of the results of highly effi cient prospection analyses using the UAV platform, offering the possibility of surveying a large area (about 25 ha), the boundaries of the site were determined. Several features were detected. To identify these, further studies are needed.

80-90 37

Settlement and economy patterns of the Iron Age and early medieval population of the Central North Caucasus evidence complex cultural processes in the region. The ecological approach including the evaluation of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the local biota opens up new prospects in the study of environments, climate, anthropogenic effect, land use, and nutrition. We analyze the isotopic composition of collagen in 19 human and 11 animal bone samples from Kichmalka II—a cemetery successively used by the Koban people, those of the Sarmatian stage, and Alans. The isotopic composition of the Alanian sample indicates a heavy predominance of plants with the C3-type photosynthesis in the diet of humans and animals. People who lived during the Koban and Sarmatian stages consumed also C4-plants, such as common millet (Panicum miliaceum), suggesting the rise of the trophic step for carbon (Δδ13Chuman-animal). Statistically signifi cant differences in the isotopic composition of carbon were found within the Koban population, apparently evidencing two dietary models. The Δδ15Nhuman-animal values fall within the trophic step, mirroring a focus on meat and dairy products in the diet of all groups. Comparison with respective data on the Klin-Yar III cemetery revealed differences in isotopic signatures in the diet of both humans and domestic animals during the Koban period. The possible reason is climatic change in the Iron Age and the variable share of millet in the diet of the Koban people. The low proportion of δ15N (below 4 ‰) in the bone collagen of goat, sheep, and horse of the Alanian period may attest to vertical transhumance.

91-99 53

We describe 15 burials at the Vodennikovo-1 group of mounds in the northern Kurgan Region, on the Middle Iset River, relevant to migration processes during the Early Middle Ages. On the basis of numerous parallels from contemporaneous sites in the Urals and Western Siberia, the cemetery is dated to the late 7th and 8th centuries. Most of single and collective burials are inhumations in rectangular pits with a northwestern orientation, with vessels, decorated by carved or pricked designs, placed near the heads. These features, typical of the Early Medieval Bakalskaya culture of the Tobol and Ishim basins, are also observed at the Pereyma and Ust-Suerskoye-1 cemeteries in the same area. However, there are innovations such as inlet burials, those in blocks of solid wood and plank coffi ns, western orientation of the deceased, and placing vessels next to the burial pits. These features attest to a different tradition, evidenced by cemeteries of the Potchevash culture in the Tobol and Ishim basins (Okunevo III, Likhacheva, and Vikulovskoye). Also, Potchevash and Bakalskaya vessels co-occur at Vodennikovo-1, and some of them (jugs with comb and grooved designs) are typologically syncretic. To date, this is the westernmost cemetery of the Potchevash culture, suggestive of a migration of part of the southern taiga population from the Ishim and Tobol area to the Urals.

100-108 37

We describe a silver coin found in one of the burials at Gorny-10 cemetery in northern Altai, excavated by expeditions from the Altai State University in 2000–2003. The coin was discovered in a destroyed burial of children (No. 46) along with other informative artifacts, which are rather uncommon in such burials. Judging by horse harness and ornaments, the assemblage falls in the interval from the late 6th to early 8th century AD. The coin is an imitation of the drachm of the Sasanian shah Pērōz I to classify as type or emission 287, according to R. Göbl, that is one of the most common types of Hephthalite coins. The elemental concentration of the specimen has a high content of silver and no gold. The specimen has no analogs in North or Central Asia. It could have been brought to the forest-steppe Altai by Türks, who conquered the Hephthalite Empire in the fi rst decades of the late 6th century AD.


109-119 33

This is the fi rst description of a key Kazakh recent permanent settlement at Donyztau, in the northern Ustyurt. Such sites, evidencing major historical processes during the transition of nomadic pastoralists to a semi-sedentary lifestyle (mid-19th to early 20th century), are known as “ritual and housing complexes” (RHC). Kainar, a highly representative site, is viewed as a socio-cultural phenomenon and an integral architectural and landscape ensemble. The excavation history of RHCs in the Donyztau area and their evolution are discussed, and the role of ascetics such as Doszhan-Ishan Kashakuly is described. We highlight separate parts of the complex (the settlement and cemetery) and their elements. The architecture of the RHC is reconstructed with regard to structure, function, and continuity with the landscape. The layout of the site as a whole and of the madrasah with its typical elements are compared with those of similar sites in Central Asia and Kazakhstan. A reconstruction of the complex is proposed and the function of public halls is interpreted. The role of the cemetery and of its parts in the structure of the RHC is evaluated; the evolution of its spatial organization is traced. Types of memorial complexes are listed in terms of harmony with the landscape, archaic beliefs, architecture, and style, specifi cally stone carving. The historical and cultural signifi cance of Kainar as a source of knowledge about the transition to a semi-sedentary way of life and the Islamization of the steppe is discussed.

120-126 28

This article describes the zoomorphic complex of Tungus-Manchu beliefs refl ected in mythology, ritual practices, shamanism, and decorative and applied arts. Those beliefs are regarded as a coherent whole within the cultural system. The typology of the zoomorphic complex shows that the key fi gures were the serpent-dragon, the deer, the bear, and the tiger. In traditional worldviews and rituals, they were related to cosmogony, ancestor cult, hunting and fi shing rituals, healing, and initiation shamanic complexes. The semantics of animal images depended on their place in the cultural system, religious ritual, and artistic communication. Comparative analysis demonstrates both ethno-cultural specifi city and universal archetypal characteristics, as well as connection with ancient regional beliefs. The Tungus- Manchu zoomorphic complex originated within the East Asian traditions, having been infl uenced by cultures such as the Old Chinese, Korean, and Jurchen.

127-139 41

This article integrates studies relating to the history of urban communities of Siberian and Far Eastern indigenous peoples. A multidisciplinary approach to urbanization processes is used; their stages, rates, causes, and principal characteristics are analyzed. The database consists of our own fi eld fi ndings, published results of sociological studies, and those of All-Union and All-Russian population censuses. Three stages of urbanization affecting indigenous Siberians are described, and their factors and mechanisms are evaluated. The process is characterized by intense migration of indigenous peoples to the towns and cities during the recent period, accompanied by large-scale industrial development, and the transition of aboriginal societies from the traditional to the modern lifestyle. The urbanization, however, has not been completed, because of the underdeveloped urban infrastructure and the fact that many indigenous peoples to the cities had retained their rural traditions. The sa lient characteristic of the urbanization of indigenous peoples in the macroregion is that it was asynchronous, and that its sh ort intense phase, whereby the indigenous peoples mostly moved to nearby towns and urbanized villages in the 1960s–1970s, did not extend to all indigenous communities. Urbanization was incomplete in terms of both quality and quantity, and the integration of indigenous peoples into the urban space has engendered serious problems. According to the All-Russian population census of 2010, only fi ve indigenous peoples of Siberia and the Far East had completed the urbanization process: Kereks, Mansi, Nivkhs, Uilta and Shors. Currently, most indigenous peoples are medium-urbanized. The lowest level of urbanization is among the Soyots, Siberian Tatars, Telengits, Tofalars, Tubalars, Chelkans, Chulyms, and Tozhu Tuvans. We conclude that urbanization among the indigenous peoples is a long, diffi cult, and contradictory process, which, in modern Siberia, triggers many ethnocultural and ethno-social transformations of regional multiethnic communities.


140-151 190

This study examines the craniometric differentiation of Northern Eurasian groups with reference to genetic and partly linguistic facts. Measurements of 66 series of male crania from that territory, dating to various periods from the Mesolithic to the Early Bronze Age, were subjected to statistical methods especially destined for detecting spatial patterns, specifi cally gradients. Using the nonmetric multidimensional scaling of the matrix of D2 distances corrected for sample size, a two-dimensional projection of group constellation was generated, and a minimum spanning tree, showing the shortest path between group centroids in the multivariate space, was constructed. East-west clines in Northern Eurasia, detected by both genetic and craniometric traits, likely indicate not so much gene fl ow as isolation by distance, resulting from an incomplete evolutionary divergence of various fi lial groups constituting the Boreal meta-population. The western fi lial component, which, in Siberia and Eastern Central Asia, is mostly represented by Afanasyevans, has evidently made little contribution to the genetic makeup of later populations. The eastern fi lial component, which had appeared in the Cis-Baikal region from across Lake Baikal no later than the Neolithic, admixed with the autochthonous Paleosiberian component. The latter’s principal marker—the ANE autosomal component—had been present in Siberia since the Upper Paleolithic. Likewise autochthonous were both Eurasian formations—Northern and Southern; statis tical analysis has made it possible to make these more inclusive, whereby the former has been expanded in the eastern direction to include the Kuznetsk Basin, and the latter westwards, to the Middle Irtysh. Nothing suggests that Eastern European groups had taken part in the origin of either the Northern Eurasian formation or the proto-Uralic groups.