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A Zoomorphic Antler Staff from an Early Neolithic Burial at Pushkinsky, the Orenburg Region

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.014-021

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Abstract

I describe a rare artifact—a staff with a zoomorphic finial, carved from the curved part of an elk antler. It was found in 1982 on a bank of the Tok River, in the western Orenburg region. The artifact was in a seated burial, discovered by chance. The archaeological context is described, and a cultural and chronological attribution is proposed. It is concluded that the burial is associated with the Early Neolithic Elshanka culture. Similar staffs were found mostly in Mesolithic and Neolithic burials in the forest zone of Eastern Europe. Radiocarbon analyses suggest that seated burials with zoomorphic antler staffs date to the interval from the 6th to the early 3rd millennium BC. The peculiar feature of the Pushkinsky specimen is that it likely depicts a horse rather than an elk, probably because the economy in the steppe and forest-steppe focused on horse hunting. Such artifacts were apparently ritual, and the practice could have originated in the steppe and forest-steppe from whence it spread to the forest zone.

About the Author

N. L. Morgunova
Orenburg State Pedagogical University
Russian Federation
Sovetskaya 19, Orenburg, 460014


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For citation:


Morgunova N.L. A Zoomorphic Antler Staff from an Early Neolithic Burial at Pushkinsky, the Orenburg Region. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2020;48(2):14-21. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.014-021

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