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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 47, No 4 (2019)
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PALEOENVIRONMENT. THE STONE AGE

3-15 25
Abstract

On the basis of mineralogical analysis of the tephra layer in the Bioce rock shelter in Montenegro, we revise the cultural and population changes in the eastern Adriatic at the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. The disappearance of Neanderthals from that region was traditionally attributed to the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption ~40 ka BP. Comprehensive studies at Bioce by the Russian-Montenegrin expedition in 2010-2015 have resulted in a hypothesis that a Neanderthal refugium existed in the Balkans. We list the lithological and stratigraphic characteristics of the Pleistocene sequence of the site and describe four main strata. Petrographic and x-ray phase analyses and scanning electron microscopy suggest that minerals from samples of ground from horizon 1.3 are of volcanic origin. The comparison of tephra from that horizon with those from local sequences in terms of composition, shape, and size of particles reveals similarity with the Y-5 tephra from the main phase of the Campanian eruption, dating to 39.30-39.85 ka BP. In the habitation sequence of Bioce, the tephra layer is inside lithological stratum 1. Artifacts from that layer and from the overlying and underlying ones, judging by technological and typological criteria, belong to one and the same lithic industry—the micro-Mousterian facies of the local Middle Paleolithic. New findings imply that the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption did not cause the disappearance of the culture associated with Neanderthals in the eastern Adriatic.

16-29 36
Abstract

We present the findings of excavations at the stratified site of Ushbulak, discovered during a joint Russian-Kazakhstan research project in 20I6. The site is located in the Shilikty Valley, northeastern Kazakhstan, at the junction of routes connecting southwestern Central Asia, southern Siberia, and northern China. On the basis of stratigraphy, chronology, and technological evidence, we identify three technological complexes, relating to the Metal Ages (stratum I), Final Upper Paleolithic (strata 2-4), and Initial Upper Paleolithic (strata 5.2-7). Focusing on the principal markers of the Initial Upper Paleolithic in the region, we conclude that finds from strata 5.2-7 belong to the southern Siberian-Mongolian variant of the Initial Upper Paleolithic, as evidenced by the uni- and bidirectional parallel volumetric blade core reduction, tool types, and absolute chronology. The tool kit includes mostly endscrapers, heavily retouched blades, and truncated-facetted or notched implements. Particularly diagnostic types include waisted blade, blade with a ventrally retouched distal edge, beveled point, backed blade, stemmed implement with a sharp tip, stemmed endscraper, and burin-core. Two AMS-dates from stratum 6 date this layer to ca 36,I80 ± 730 and 4I,II0 ± 302 BP. The closest known parallels to the industry of the lower strata of Ushbulak are finds from horizon UP2 of Kara-Bom in the Russian Altai. Our results suggest that Ushbulak strata 5.2-7 correlate with the Initial Upper Paleolithic industries of the Altai (Denisova Cave), northern China (Luotoshi), and Mongolia (Tolbor-4 and -2I).

30-42 16
Abstract

This study describes the finds from dwelling B excavated in I975 on Suchu Island, near Mariinskoye, Khabarovsk Territory. Lithics, ceramics, portable objects of art, and ritual artifacts (the total of II,574 items) are housed at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography SB RAS. Excavations in area I have been carried out since I972 in an extension of dwelling B, which had been partially unearthed previously. In I975, 252 m2 were cleared, finishing the works in excavation area I. Stratigraphic and planigraphic methods were used to reconstruct the layout of the dwelling and the space outside it. A morphological classification of the lithics was undertaken, ceramics were studied with a binocular microscope, and the chronology of all finds was evaluated. Some of these date to the Middle Neolithic (Malyshevo and Kondon cultures, and the Belkachi complex), some to the Late Neolithic (Voznesenovskoye culture) and Final Neolithic, some to later periods, such as the Bronze Age, Early Iron Age, or the Middle Ages. Lithics include tools and debris. Ceramics, objects of art, and ritual items mostly represent the middle stage of the Malyshevo culture. Two burials, dating to the Neolithic and the Early Iron Age, were found inside dwelling B. They were arranged after the dwelling had been abandoned, and they are especially relevant to cultural and historical reconstructions, since ancient burials are very rare in the region, and not a single one dating to the Neolithic was known until the present time.

THE METAL AGES AND MEDIEVAL PERIOD

43-52 12
Abstract

This article describes a high-ranking burial at the Tabyldy cemetery in the Shetsky District of the Karaganda Region, Kazakhstan. The mound was encircled with a stone enclosure and marked a double burial of horses with discoid cheek-pieces and metal staples, symbolizing a chariot. Funerary items include a bronze knife-dagger, a goad-head, a metal pendant from a plate twisted 1.5 times and overlaid with gold, paste beads, tubular beads, and potsherds. A detailed description of these items is provided. The cheek-pieces resemble those of the Staroyuryevo type. Their position on the skulls of the horses suggests a reconstruction of the harness. On the basis of new finds, the evolution of the cheek-pieces is proposed. The reconstructed severe bits were made by interweaving metal staples with leather strips. This innovation, securing better driving, was the reason why later cheek-pieces had no studs. A comparative analysis of the burial rite and funerary items suggests an Early Alakul attribution. The fact that the horses ’ heads were oriented to the northeast, like those of the buried humans (judging by the places where the bottoms of ceramic vessels were concentrated), evidences the influence of the Early Timber-Grave (Pokrovsk) culture. The AMS date and its 1 SD limits point to the late 18th to early 17th century BC, suggesting the Nurtai stage of the Alakul culture in Central Kazakhstan.

53-65 13
Abstract

This article introduces an unusual complex of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic artifacts from a Bronze Age cemetery at the Tourist-2 settlement, situated in the center of Novosibirsk. Given their context, motifs, and style, they were apparently ritual artifacts. Human-like, animal-like, and bird-like figures limn mythological ideas. They are so unusual that we may speak of a separate style. Despite being very different, all the figurines have common features, both artistic and iconographic. They are generally rather realistic, showing similar features such as tattoo. Yet they are stylized and share certain conventions attesting to an established canon. All these characteristics, as well as the context, suggest that the representations belong to a single style that we tentatively refer to as “Krokhalevka” style— a distinct variety of Siberian native ritual art. In our view, this style is autochthonous, originating from local Neolithic art under a marked influence of adjacent Early and Middle Bronze Age cultures, such as Okunev, Karakol, Samus, Krotovo, and Odinovo. Judging by the motifs and manner, the “Krokhalevka” tradition might have affectedKulai art, especially repousse.

66-76 19
Abstract

This article presents the results of study of an Early Bronze ivory figurine from Tourist-2, using 3D-scanning with various technical parameters. The aim of the study was to test the new non-invasive methods of structured light 3D-scanning, with an accurate assessment of morphometric characteristics. In addition, use-wear analysis was employed to evaluate the previously unknown features relating to function. As a result, the original appearance of the figurine, the manufacturing technique, and iconographic characteristics were reconstructed. A series of transverse sections and the evaluation of the center of mass, combined with previously known features, suggest that the figurine was a personal ornament sewn onto clothing. For comparison, two flat anthropomorphic sculptures (a buckle made of burl, and a shale figurine) from the same burial complex were analyzed. Longitudinal sections suggest that, despite morphological and technological differences and the fact that various raw materials had been used, the iconographic style of all items is one and the same.

77-84 8
Abstract

This study introduces ceramic protomes of horses from the southern taiga zone of Siberia: specifically, from the Middle Irtysh region (Novotroitskoye I) and the Angara region (Strelkovskoye-2). These artifacts are part of a crosscultural phenomenon. The analysis of their decorative elements suggests that they represent bridles. Close resemblance to Assyrian reliefs showing bridled horses makes it possible to identify the main details of Middle Eastern horse trappings, such as a bridle, a head-rope, and a breast-collar. Also, Siberian specimens display indirect parallels to the archaic classic tradition of using horse protomes in ritual ceremonies. The most important factor behind the appearance of ceramic horse protomes in the southern taiga zone of Siberia was the adoption of horse-breeding and eventually horse-riding, as evidenced by Late Bronze to Early Iron Age bits, cheek-pieces, and parts of harness from the same region. In the early first millennium BC, horse protomes become a common iconographic marker throughout Eurasia. They were a typical feature of Early Iron Age art, a prestigious symbol widely used in rituals, possibly associated with bronze casting.

85-92 18
Abstract

We describe so-called portrait medallions and plaques with similar representations from a hoard found near Kyzym, the Beloyarsky District of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra in the summer of 20I4. We introduce I7 artifacts cast of bronze and differing in shape and technological level. These fall into two groups in terms of quality. The principal questions addressed in the article are where, by whom, and based on which prototypes the Kazym artifacts were made. To resolve them, we analyze similar artifacts, including silver medallions representing a Parthian king and found in northwestern Siberia, and a series of bronze items from various sites in the Surgut and the Lower Ob region. These parallels, like the presence of numerous “Sarmatian " bronze mirrors in the Kazym hoard, point to the period between the late 1st century BC and the 1st or 2nd centuries AD. The results suggest that the “portrait" medallions and other bronze plaques depicting anthropomorphic characters are local replicas of imported prototypes. This testifies, firstly, to stable trade links with ancient civilization centers in the beginning of the Christian era, and secondly, to the absorption of certain elements offoreign traditions by the local culture.

93-98 17
Abstract

This article introduces our reading and interpretation of a recently discovered runic inscription found at the petroglyphic site Sarykoby, in the northern spurs of the Saylyugem Range in the Chuya steppe, southeastern Altai. The inscription belongs to a large composition with unusual representations. It consists of two lines with 2I and 13 characters. After discussing several variants of translation, we have selected the most plausible ones. The translation of the inscription with two variants of the second line is as follows: “I have written on the rock, ah! Oh, please speak! Give me luck (or “Going to battle”) - oh - I have written (this)”. The word su/su in the inscription meaning ‘glory, imperial state, greatness, happiness’, is one of the few Mongolian loans in Old Uyghur and possibly in Old Turkic. The Sarykoby inscription is located in an inconspicuous place, the characters are small, and the carving is shallow. This confirms the common view that many runic inscriptions in the Altai are intimate and were not intended for the public eye. At the same time, the Sarykoby inscription invites the readers to a dialog, and possibly carries a call to prayer or blessing. Its content is religious and philosophic in a sense. Perhaps the author believed that the inscription could confer a blessing upon the readers. This makes it very meaningful and unusual in the corpus of runic inscriptions of the Altai.

99-104 11
Abstract

This article gives a detailed account of the scholarship focusing on the stone effigy of a tortoise found in 1864 near the Yuzhno-Ussuriyskoye fortified site in Primorye by the mining geologist I. Lopatin. The accompanying events are described. The main source is the unpublished diary of F.F. Busse, who unearthed the sculpture in 1885. He also excavated a kurgan on which it had been placed, and six other burial structures. His findings suggest that before the kurgans were built, the place had been occupied by a 13th-century Jurchen tribal cemetery. Stone tortoises with steles on their backs, called “steles on the spirit’s path”, had been placed at such cemeteries near the graves of top-ranking persons. There was no inscription on the stele nor on the top, and there was no stone vault under the adjacent kurgan. This is possibly due to the fact that the mausoleum was constructed for a person who had died far from that place. On the basis of Busse’s diaries and new archaeologicalfindings, I suggest that the cemetery with which the tortoise statue was associated might be connected with the key historical figure of the region—Puxian Wannu, who founded the Jurchen state Eastern Xia.

105-111 16
Abstract

This study introduces two Turkic inscriptions written in Cyrillic on lithic artifacts—one on a mid-14th century casting mold recently found in Bolgar, southwestern Tatarstan, the other on a tablet with uncertain date found in Polotsk, in the Vitebsk Region of Belarus, more than half a century ago. Both are similar in that Turkic speech is rendered in Cyrillic script. We discuss the paleographic aspects, interpret the historical context, and suggest a translation of certain words and expressions. Some of them indicate tribal structure and remnants of pagan (totemic) beliefs. The inscriptions testify to the adoption of Russian culture, especially literacy and religion, not only by immigrants from the steppes to the forest zone (the Lithuanian-Russian State), but also by the steppe and forest steppe Islamized population of the Volga basin living within the boundaries of the Golden Horde. Apart from documenting the knowledge of Russian, the inscriptions testify to the assimilation of Christianity, with which the Russian language was inherently linked.

ETHNOLOGY

112-119 12
Abstract

This is the first case study of important places ofpublic worship in three villages of the Tobolsk Governorate in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with reference to architectural planning, hagiography, and religious attitudes. The churches in Obdorskoye and Romanovskoye are located either on an elevated, unoccupied territory in a natural environment or in the center of residential quarters, according to the Russian architectural traditions. The choice of saints was motivated by the ethnic, religious, and cultural situation. Dedications of altars to Archangel Michael, Sts. Peter and Paul, St. Basil the Great, and St. Nicholas were meant to protect while affirming religious values, canons, and dogmas of Russian Orthodoxy. At the Kobyatskieyurts, a mosque was built. Its architecture stood out from the residential quarters, following the Islamic tradition. Its construction, evidencing the religious identity of the residents of the yurts, testified to the recognition of their rights. The topography of religious buildings in villages differing in the ethnicity and religious beliefs of residents evidenced the strategy of ecclesiastical guidance, religious symbolism, and the villagers’ attitudes.

ANTHROPOLOGY AND PALEOGENETICS

120-127 19
Abstract

We describe the morphology of deciduous and permanent human teeth from Zamostye-2—a Mesolithic site in the Moscow Region, Russia. Pathological changes indicate a variable diet, including both animal and vegetable food. Non-metric analysis reveals several Upper Paleolithic retentions, but the overall combination is insufficient for tracing population affinities. Metrically, permanent teeth from Zamostye are similar to those from the Mesolithic burial ground on Yuzhny Oleny (Southern Reindeer) Island, Karelia, while differing from the teeth of Mesolithic Western and Southern Europeans. Our findings agree with those of recent genetic studies that revealed close affinities between the Mesolithic populations of European Russia, contrasting them with the Mesolithic groups of Western and Northern Europe.

128-139 14
Abstract

The physical features of individuals buried at Odino cemeteries Tartas-1 and Preobrazhenka-6 are compared to those of people belonging to other Neolithic and Early Bronze Age cultures of the Barabinskaya forest-steppe. This study tests the hypothesis about the morphological diversity of the autochthonous substrate, which correlates with various chronological stages and cultures of the region. Measurements of the Odino group were supplemented by published data on the Sopka-2/4A population. We examine individual measurements and average characteristics, processed by principal component analysis. Local populations belonging to the Odino culture were craniometrically diverse. The hypothesis about the ties between Odino and the contemporaneous population of Central Asia is not supported. The analysis of individual data revealed several crania sharply differing from others, and similar to those of the Botai sample of the late fourth and third millennia BC.

140-153 6
Abstract

This article discusses bones of two males from a medieval or recent double burial at Ust-Voikar, on the Yamal Peninsula. The camp was constructed by northwestern Siberian natives. Both individuals had been buried in a hearth inside a dwelling, which was still used after that. The results of tree-ring analysis suggest that the burial dates to the last third of the I7th century, or the first decade of the I8th century. Both males were adult (adultus-maturus). Their physical features point to the northern East European Plain. The unusual nature of the burial, then, evidently stems from the fact that they were intruders. No lethal injuries suggestive of violence were found on the bones. Both individuals show signs of malnutrition during childhood (deficiency of vitamin C and phosphorus). Their diet consisted mostly of carbohydrates (apparently coarse cereals). The entheses and articular surfaces likely indicate physical activity, such as sailing and fishing with nets.



ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)