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“CERAMICS” FROM THE ZARAYSK UPPER PALEOLITHIC SITE

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2017.45.2.003-015

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Abstract

Zaraysk is one of the best studied and known Russian Upper Paleolithic sites of the Kostenki-Willendorf type. One of the most intriguing findings of excavations at that site concerns an unusual group of artifacts, tentatively interpreted as ceramics. The article gives their detailed description and addresses their spatial distribution. The items have been subjected to firing, but the chemical and mineralogical analysis suggests that they were made of ocher or highly ferruginized clay unsuitable for manufacturing ordinary ceramics. Poor preservation caused by taphonomic processes precludes a reliable reconstruction of the original morphology and function of the items. Their shape, however, is rather standard and is paralleled by the “non-figurative ceramics” of Pavlov and Dolní Věstonice, whose function is not clear either. It appears that the Zaraysk people tried to reproduce the Central European prototypes in terms of form and function, but, intentionally or not, used a raw material suitable for making a red pigment rather than ceramics. Formally, the Zaraysk pieces can hardly be described as ceramics proper, possibly evidencing unsuccessful copying. The final answer, then, hinges on the true purposes  of the manufacturers.

About the Authors

O. V. Yanshina
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Senior Researcher.

Universitetskaya nab. 3, St. Petersburg, 199034



S. Y. Lev
Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Researcher.

Dm. Ulyanova 19, Moscow, 117036



P. E. Belousov
Institute of Geology of Ore Deposits, Petrography, Mineralogy and Geochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Junior Researcher.

Staromonetny per. 35, Moscow, 119017



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For citation:


Yanshina O.V., Lev S.Y., Belousov P.E. “CERAMICS” FROM THE ZARAYSK UPPER PALEOLITHIC SITE. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2017;45(2):3-15. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2017.45.2.003-015

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