Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 49, No 3 (2021)
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3-12 374

The northeastern Iranian Plateau is considered a leading region in Paleolithic studies. The history of Paleolithic research in this region dates back to the mid-20th century. However, unlike the western and, to some extent, the central part of the Iranian Plateau, only a handful of sites have been identifi ed in the northeastern part. Field studies conducted on the Neyshabur plain have provided some of the only Paleolithic evidence at four locations in the foothills of the Binalud Mountains: Dar Behesht, Mushan Tappeh, Ali Abad, and Qezel Tappeh. Our research aims to assess this evidence, provide a revised typology of Pleistocene artifacts from the Neyshabur plain, and also study the role of these and other fi nds in the area and analyze their signifi cance in terms of the dispersal of Pleistocene hominin populations. We propose two main corridors on the northeastern Iranian Plateau assumed to have been infl uential in the dispersal of human ancestors.

13-23 50

This article presents the fi nal results of excavations at one of the largest Neolithic sites in northeastern Asia— a settlement on Suchu Island on the Amur. Most of the rich collection (3967 spec.), owned by IAET SB RAS (stone tools, ceramics, ornaments, and artistic and ritual artifacts), has not been described before. This publication focuses on the analysis of artifacts from dwelling 2 (excavation III, 1977). We describe the construction of this semi-underground dwelling, circular in plan view. The typological analysis of the lithics indicates a complex economy. Many of them (arrowheads, projectile points, inserts, knives, plummets) relate to hunting and fi shing, and to processing carcasses (end-scrapers, scrapers, burins, combination tools), others are chopping tools. The distinctive feature of the lithics is that some are bifacial. The analysis of the ceramics suggests that they belong to the Late Neolithic Voznesenovskoye culture. The use of binocular microscopy allowed us to assess the technological and constructive properties of the ceramics, as well as their morphological, decorative, and functional features. Non-ut ilitarian artifacts shed light on the worldview of the Suchu people. The collection dates to the mid-second millennium BC.

24-31 58

An especially noteworthy part of the Firsovo archaeological area is a group of early burials at the fl at-grave cemeteries Novoaltaisk-Razvilka, Firsovo XI, and Firsovo XIV. Nine radiocarbon dates have been generated for those cemeteries at various laboratories: two by the liquid-scintillation (LSC) method and seven using the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) method. The dates were calibrated using OxCal version 3.10 software. Dates for the Chalcolithic Bolshoy Mys culture burials at Novoaltaisk-Razvilka and Tuzovskiye Bugry-1 burial 7 match the previously suggested ones (around 3000 BC). Certain Neolithic burials in the Altai differ from others in the position of the bodies (fl exed on the side). They were dated to the late 5th to the early 4th millennia BC by the AMS method. Burials belonging to the “cultural core” of Firsovo XI, then, fall within the Early Neolithic (68 % interval, 5710–5460 BC; 95 % interval, 5740–5360 BC). The date 9106 ± 80 BP (GV-02889), obtained for Firsovo XI burial 18, may be somewhat accurate, pointing to the Final Mesolithic or Early Neolithic. Both the date and the cultural characteristics of this burial (sitting position, abundant ocher) are accompanied by the craniometric distinctness of the male cranium (huge total size).


32-40 43

This article presents a description of Khankarinsky Dol mound 34 on the left bank of the Inya River, 1–1.5 km southeast of Chineta, Krasnoshchekovsky District, Altai Territory. Excavations revealed a cist with a supine burial of a male, whose head was oriented to the east. Beyond the eastern wall of the cist, a horse cranium and three crania of sheep were placed. Features of the burial rite suggest that the burial belongs to the Korgantass type, which is distributed over the Altai-Sayan and Kazakhstan, with certain parallels in northern China. Principal categories of offerings are analyzed, including those associated with the horse. On their basis, the horse harness is reconstructed. On the basis of the typology of artifacts and radiocarbon analysis, the burial was dated to the 5th to 4th centuries BC (possibly late 5th to early 4th centuries BC). The Korgantass burials at Khankarinsky Dol and elsewhere in the Altai Mountains indicate a migration from the eastern part of the nomadic world, apparently from northern China or the Trans-Baikal region.

41-50 48

Here we report on the unprecedented discovery of the complete skeleton of a ritually interred adult stallion with a bronze ring in its mouth. The horse was buried in a unique 15-meters diameter monumental stone-built tomb excavated in the Aghavnatun necropolis located on the southern slopes of Mt. Aragats, in the northern fringes of the Ararat Depression, Republic of Armenia. The tumulus was roughly circular; the horse’s remains were found in situ, in an inner oval-shaped structure. Our methodological procedure included a detailed description of the burial, a taphonomic study of the bones, and meticulous morphometric observations and measurements, and thus we could provide a taxonomic defi nition and an age estimate. Direct radiometric dating of the horse’s skeleton provided a date of 2130±20 BP. The morphological characteristics of the horse, with its tall stature and slender feet, suggest that it was a large individual, similar to the extinct breed of Nisean horse previously known mainly from textual and iconographical sources. The metal ring found in the mouth of the horse suggests that it likely served as a breeding stallion. This discovery presents a unique combination of zooarchaeological evidence for the importance of the horse in the Parthian-Hellenistic worlds, and advances our understanding of the broad social signifi cance of the past breeding of equids in the Armenian Highlands.

51-59 40

We describe a group of Egyptian faience scarabs unearthed from the necropolis on the Iluraton Plateau, Eastern Crimea, by the expedition from the State Museum of the History of Religion (St. Petersburg) in 1987–1990. Artifacts made of so-called Egyptian faience were found in eight of the sixty-two burials—those of g irls aged below 1.5, dating to the 1st to early 2nd centuries AD. The most numerous among the faience items were beads in the form of scarabs. The analysis shows them to fall into three groups in terms of presence and nature of images on the reverse side: those without images (3 spec.), those with abstract images (3 spec.), and those with anthropo-zoomorphic images (2 spec.). In two cases, representations point to specifi c Egyptian workshops. Scarabs in girls’ burials of the Roman period elaborate on the thanatological imagery, which originated among the Scythian-Saka tribes of Eurasia in the mid-1st millennium BC.

60-74 45

This study examines the migrations of the Dahae and Sarmatians—the two related early nomadic peoples of Middle Asia and Eastern Europe—directed to the south and west of their homeland. Archaeological, written, and folkloric sources make it possible to trace the migrations of the Dahae and Sarmatians over several centuries preceding the spread of Islam in Central Asia and of Christianity in Old Rus. The study focuses on mortuary monuments, temples, and sanctuaries, cross-shaped in plan view, of migrants and their descendants. A detailed analysis of the major southward migration of Dahae from the Lower Syr-Darya in the late 3rd to early 2nd BC is presented. This migration had a considerable effect on ethnic and cultural processes in Middle Asia. The migration aimed at conquering the lands of Alexander the Great’s descendants, who were rapidly losing control over them. Features of Dahaean culture are noticed in town planning, architecture, mortuary rites, armor, etc. over the entire territory they had captured. Southward migration of the descendants of the Dahae—people of the Kaunchi and Otrar cultures—from the Syr-Darya, led by the Huns, was part of the Great Migration. The Kaunchi people headed toward the oases of Samarkand and Kesh, the Otrar people toward the oasis of Bukhara, and those associated with the Dzhetyasar culture toward the Qarshi oasis. It is demonstrated that while the cross-shaped plan view of religious structures turned into the eight-petaled rosette, the fu neral rite did not change, remains of burials and charcoal are observed everywhere. Relics of the ScythoSarmatian legacy are seen in the culture of Old Rus. For instance, remains of the sanctuaries of Perun are walls and ditches arranged in a cruciform or eight-petaled fashion, fi lled with charcoal and bones of sacrifi ced animals, with a statue of the supreme Slavic deity, in the center. Early sanctuaries of Perun in Kiev and Khodosovichi were cruciate in plan view, while later ones on the banks of the Zbruch and the Volkhov rivers had octopetalous plans. Apparently they were infl uenced by the architectural traditions of Dahae and Sarmatians, who took part in the ethnogenetic processes in both Old Rus and Turan.


75-82 37

The study describes types of the shovel—one of the most widely used and multifunctional tools in 17th–18th century Russian culture of Siberia. The principal collection includes more than twenty intact and fragmented specimens unearthed during 13 fi eld seasons of excavations at Tara, in the Omsk Region. Shovels found elsewhere in Western Siberia are also described, and the role of this tool in the households of Russian pioneers in Siberia is assessed. Judging by the drawings in Semen Remezov’s chronicle and excavation records from Tara, Mangazeya, and Nadym forts, we conclude that shovels were specialized for various kinds of work, and that they varied with the season. There were diverse types used for constructing fortifi cations, dwellings and utility structures, for digging graves, tillage, clearing snow, handling bulk materials, and baking bread; children’s toy shovels are also described. Information is provided on shapes of shovels and the types of wood Siberians used for making them.

83-92 34

This article describes Russian hunting tools unearthed from several sites near the town of Tara on the Irtysh: Ananyino I, Izyuk I, Tara, and Fort Bergamak. The functions of tools are assessed on the basis of archaeological parallels from the Baraba forest-steppe, ethnographic examples relating to the culture of the Irtysh natives, materials from Fort Albazin and Fort Sayansk, and much earlier burials dating to the Xianbei-Rouran time in the Altai Mountains. The variety of 17th–18th century hunting tools is best represented at Mangazeya, Fort Alazeya, and Fort Stadukhin. Apart from typological comparisons, technological analysis was carried out for several wooden and metal artifacts. Results are helpful for revealing continuities between the 17th–18th century Russian hunting tradition at Tara and that practiced in Old Rus and in the 15th–17th century Russian state, as well as for comparing it with the Siberian native traditions.


93-100 31

Тhis article discusses the location of Tatar settlements in the lower and middle reaches of the Tara on maps of the Tarsky Uyezd (1784 and 1798) and on topographic plan of the Kartashevskago and Bergamotskaya districts of the Tarsky Uyezd (1798). These maps had not been previously used for reconstructing the history of the region. To test their accuracy, other sources are used, including the Inventory Book of the Tarsky Uyezd, Gerhard Miller’s itineraries, etc., as well as the results of archaeological and ethnographic studies. Based on the analysis of maps, patterns in the locations of Tatar settlements are reconstructed. They were situated between the mouth of Tara and its confl uence with the Chertalinka River on the right bank, and between the Chertalinka and Kalinka rivers on the left bank. The reliability of the late 18th century maps as sources of information about the winter and summer settlements of the Tatars of the Middle and Lower Tara is assessed. These maps do not suggest that the settlements were still seasonal rather than permanent at that time. The winter camps were situated on the Tara high terrace, away from the valley, and summer camps were on the fl ood plain, close to the villages. The general pattern was that people settled along the river, often close to the places where the Tara tributaries fl owed into it. Place names are suggestive of seasonal settlements. Comparison with modern maps suggests that the current settlements pattern on the Lower and Middle Tara emerged in the late 18th century.

101-111 46

Serbian fi gured gingerbreads owned by the Russian Museum of Ethnography are described, the history of the collection is provided, and its cultural meaning is evaluated. Ethnographic parallels are analyzed, and archaic examples are cited. The custom of baking gingerbread results from the commercialization of the agricultural tradition of baking ritual bread. In terms of cultural anthropology, the question may be raised whether the replacement of destroyed originals by plaster replicas preserves the information potential and ethnographic value of the collection. Its interpretation is relevant to national identity in new Balkan nations such as Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia. Another problem is if and how a craft shared by several peoples can be an ethnic marker. In terms of ethnographic museology in the globalizing world, the prospects of acquiring recent collections are discussed. The role of such collections in constructing new national identities may be considerable.

112-118 40

This article explores the traditional beliefs of the Tungus-Manchu peoples and is based on the hermeneutic and comparative analysis of the fertility cult. Some of its aspects are related to images of divine ancestresses, the tree of life, the hearth cult, ancestral lineage, and animistic beliefs. For the fi rst time, cults of fertility, as well as those of divine ancestresses, are regarded as an integral whole. This analysis demonstrates that images of ancestresses are preserved in mythology, rituals (specifi cally domestic ones), tribal culture, and cultural features related to birth, shamanism, ludic culture, and applied art. Also, they relate to the hearth cult, fi re rites, the tree of souls or tree of life, creation, and shamanism as part of folk medicine and rites of passage. The conclusion is made that the Tungus-Manchu fertility cult is an inherent religious system, relevant to the mentality, archetypal cultural values, ethno-cultural specifi city, and contacts with other peoples.


119-126 39

This article explores the specifi city of the urbanization process in the native population of the Altai Republic and assesses its principal trends over the course of the years 1926–2020. The focus is on quantitative aspects such as the growth of urban settlements and their population. I look at the ways the urban network has developed in the Altai Mountains. The only urban administrative center shows a potential for agglomerative growth and continues to accumulate the rural population. Townships that had emerged during the Soviet period were unattractive for natives. Three stages in the urbanization process are described: 1926–1950s, 1960–1980s, and 1990 to the present. Over the entire period in question, urbanization was extensive, i.e. caused by migration from rural areas. At the fi rst stage, the key factor was political (collectivization). In the second stage, the factors were socio-cultural (attractiveness of urban lifestyle), economic (higher income and greater availability of jobs), and political (the abolition of “futureless” villages). The main factor at the third stage was socio-economic crisis. A conclusion is made that the potential for extensive urbanization in the native population of the Altai Republic has not yet been exhausted. The most attractive places to migrate are still the region’s capital and its suburbs. However, migration to other cities of Russia is likely to rise. A prediction is made that the role of intensive factors of urbanization in the indigenous population of the Altai Republic will increase.



127-135 31

Measurements of ~730 male crania from cemeteries associated with Bronze Age cultures of the steppe and foreststeppe zone of Eastern Europe (Yamnaya, Catacomb, Poltavka, Babino, Lola, and Timber-Grave) were subjected to multivariate analyses. D2 distances between sample centroids were calculated, and non-metric multidimensional scaling was carried out. The results are used to evaluate the proportion of indigenous and immigrant groups during four successive periods—Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Middle to Late Bronze Age transition, and Late Bronze Age. The differences between Yamnaya populations are comparable to those between recent groups inhabiting vast territories of Eastern Europe, from Karelia to the Northern Caucasus. The ro le of the substrate component in the origin of Early and Middle Bronze Age groups was considerable. However, virtually no continuity was observed at the Middle to Late Bronze Age transition, when post-Catacomb cultures originated. Continuity with Middle Bronze Age groups is observed in Late Bronze Age samples representing the Timber-Grave people, who combined features of the Catacomb and post-Catacomb people. Factors accounting for such a process may include “pendulum migrations” and temporary reversal of funerary tradition from kurgans to “invisible” fl at burials.

136-146 35

We present the results of a comparative analysis of skeletal and dental pathologies in Middle Bronze Age individuals buried at Late Krotovo and Andronovo (Fedorovka) cemeteries in southwestern Siberia. This was the period when the Andronovo steppe tradition in Northern and Central Asia expanded in various directions, including the foreststeppe. Growth arrest lines on tibiae (Harris lines) and dental pathologies (enamel hypoplasia and caries) were recorded. To evaluate developmental anomalies in the bone tissue, digital X-ray analysis was used. The principal sample includes representatives of various sex and age groups buried at the largest cemetery in the region, Tartas-1 (Baraba forest-steppe). Harris lines and enamel hypoplasia result from a broad range of factors such as infections, occasional malnutrition, traumas, vitamin defi ciencies, etc. Caries is caused by a high amount of carbohydrates in the diet, accompanied by low standards of oral hygiene. These pathologies occur at different ages: Harris lines and enamel hypoplasia evidence adverse factors during infancy and adolescence, whereas caries is typical of adulthood. Late Krotovo and Andronovo groups differ in terms of occurrence and combination of pathologies. Enamel hypoplasia is less frequent in the Andronovo sample, indicating a lesser stress level in children. Harris lines are less frequent in the Late Krotovo group, suggestive of lower stress level during adolescence. These differences may be tentatively attributed to various models of subsistence and cultural adaptation.

147-156 27

We analyze injuries in the cranial sample from the Pucará de Tilcara fortress, dating to the time of the Inca conquest. Analysis of violence markers, carried out by visual examination and computed tomography, and the comparison of results with those relating to samples from the Regional Development Period of the Quebrada de Humahuaca valley, suggest that although the violence level remained high, its nature could have changed after the arrival of the Inca. The female sample reveals just two perimortal injuries, no trophy skulls were found, and the frequency of nasal bone fractures is higher than in earlier samples. This may indicate lower level of between-group fi ghting for control over resources, and higher risk of interpersonal violence. The observed pattern suggests that having arrived in the Quebrada de Humahuaca region, the Inca eased political tension by establishing control over trade routes and the distribution of arable land areas, which had previously been the main cause of local armed clashes. The infl uence of artifi cial cranial modifi cations on the pathological and traumatic status of individuals was also analyzed. Two types of modifi cation were recorded in the sample—fronto-occipital tabular oblique and fronto-occipital tabular straight. None of them caused pathological changes or a decrease in the thickness of cranial bones.


ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)