Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 53, No 1 (2013)
View or download the full issue PDF (Russian)
2-27 409

This article presents the results of multidisciplinary studies conducted at Chagyrskaya – an Upper Pleistocene
karst cave in the northwestern Altai where Middle Paleolithic stone tools and fossil remains of Neanderthals were found. Taphonomic aspects of the site are addressed, and results of science-based analyses including radiocarbon and paleomagnetic dating are presented. The deposits are similar to loess-like Upper Pleistocene loams of Western Siberia. Among the Middle Paleolithic industries of the Altai, the Chagyrskaya industry is paralleled only by that of Okladnikov (formerly Sibiryachikha) Cave. Both represent a local Middle Paleolithic Mousteroid facies, named Sibiryachikha after the eponymous site.

28-44 201

The article focuses on the results of analysis of more than 100 thousand animal fossils recovered from Chagyrskaya
Cave in 2007–2011. Animal remains from strata 5 and 6a result mostly from the hunting activity of wolves and cave
hyenas, which used the cave as a shelter or den for breeding their offspring. In contrast, fauna remains from strata
6b and 6c at the cave’s entrance zone primarily accumulated due to the hunting activities of Paleolithic humans, who
mostly hunted bison (Bison priscus). To a lesser extent, they also hunted the Ovodov horse (Equus (Sussemionus)
ovodovi), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), Siberian mountain goat (Capra sibirica), and argali (Ovis ammon). Animal
bones representing common taxa point to the existence of steppe landscapes during the formation of stratum 6. The
sediment deposition of stratum 5 supposedly proceeded under arid climatic conditions. However, small forested areas
existed in river valleys and mountain gorges throughout the entire sedimentation period.

45-54 170

The article presents the results of a palynological study conducted at the Middle Paleolithic site of Chagyrskaya
Cave (Altai). Sediments containing the technocomplex of the Sibiryachikha facies of the Altai Middle Paleolithic accumulated at the end of MIS 4 which corresponds with the final stage of the Ermakovo glaciation. The results of the palynological analysis indicate that during the period in question, predominantly steppe landscapes existed in dry, cold climate conditions.

55-65 188

Two Middle Paleolithic cave sites in the Altai – Okladnikov and Chagyrskaya – have yielded dental remains (mostly isolated teeth) of individuals of various ages. A newly discovered mandibular fragment with teeth from Chagyrskaya Cave reveals a Neanderthal trait combination: anterior fossa and epicristid (midtrigonid crest) on molars, metaconid and crest on premolars. The totality of dental traits support the conclusion previously drawn on the basis of postcranial characters: Altai Neanderthals appear to be intermediate between other Eurasian Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans.

66-77 159

Excavations at the Chagyrskaya Cave site in Gorny Altai have revealed a Mousteroid industry along with fragmented human remains. This study focuses on a left ulna from stratum 6a. Its size, proportions, symptoms of disease, and indicators of muscular activity, point to Neanderthal affinities. The bone is large, linking the individual with certain Near Eastern Neanderthal males such as Shanidar. Symptoms of what might be diagnosed as Forestier disease suggest likewise.

78-88 405

The discovery of a Mousteroid industry in the northwestern Altai represents a major finding in Eurasian Paleolithic studies. Isotopic analyses of bone collagen of late Western European Neanderthals have repeatedly indicated that they were extremely carnivorous. However, no corresponding information was previously available for the Neanderthals of the Altai. With this in mind, an isotopic study was conducted to assess the diet of the Middle Paleolithic inhabitants of Okladnikov Cave. Collagen was extracted from seven well preserved bone samples of adults and children and 13С/12С and 15N/14N ratios were calculated. The δ13С content suggests that all individuals were members of a local trophic chain based on plants of the moderate climatic zone. However, the δ15N content demonstrates that their trophic level was high. These findings suggest that the lifestyle of Neanderthals in the northwestern Altai was similar to that of the late European Neanderthals. Both evidently subsisted by hunting large herbivores.

89-103 221

The Middle Paleolithic industry of the Sibiryachikha facies is described on the basis of two stratified sites in the Altai – Okladnikov Cave (formerly Sibiryachikha) and Chagyrskaya Cave. Stratigrtraphic, environmental, and chronological aspects are discussed. The structure of two cave sites is analyzed. Petrographic properties of raw material are described and the typology and technology of the lithic industry are compared with those of other local Middle Paleolithic traditions. The Sibiryachikha facies of the Altai Middle Paleolithic represented by two sites was clearly associated with a small group of Neanderthals who migrated from western Central Asia. Eventually the Middle Paleolithic industry evolved into a local variant of the Upper Paleolithic.


104-113 214

Excavations at the Bai-Dag I cemetery, the Eerbek River valley, Tuva, have revealed a burial rite typical of the Aldy-Bel culture, Early Scythian period. Above-ground and underground structures, principal features of the burial rite, and burial goods are described with regard to sex and age. Basic trends in the evolution of early nomadic funerary ritualism in Tuva are reconstructed.

114-120 206

The article describes an attempt to determine the localization of the Avestan river Vahvi Dāityā using archaeological materials from the Oxus Temple (southern Tajikistan). A comparative analysis of archaeological materials and written sources makes it possible to identify the Amu Darya River with the Avestan Vahvi Dāityā.

121-130 364

The article contributes to research into concepts of sacredness held by the Tungus-Manchu ethnic minority living on Sakhalin Island. The study focuses on the Rukutama staff found by a hunter in 1972 on the Angurovka River, an old arm of the Rukutama River. The staff displays the spatial features of Sakhalin Island in great detail, all of which were included into the life cycle of the island’s inhabitants. Sacred knowledge was transmitted over centuries via generations of shamans using the language of sacred compositions, “visual folklore.” Visual art is central to the study of the ethnic history and culture of the modern inhabitants of Sakhalin Island.

131-142 267

This study presents an overview of the ethnic and demographic characteristics of Turkic indigenous peoples living in the Sayan-Altai region, including dynamics in marital structure, ethnically assortative marriage, and level of admixture among the Kumandins in the Altai Territory; the Shor in the Kemerovo Province; the Altai-Kizhi, Kumandins, Telengits, Tubalars, and Chelkans in the Altai Republic; and the Khakas (Kachin, Koibal, Kyzyl, and Sagai) in the Republic of Khakassia. Temporal and territorial differences in levels of interethnic mixing within the selected communities are revealed. The study shows that during the period 1940–2009, the rate of monoethnic marriages decreased and the number of interethnic marriages in virtually all communities under investigation increased with the exception of the southern Altaians and the Khakas-Sagai. Specific features of interethnic mixing are identified. Marriage to representatives of the migrant (Russian-speaking) population prevails among the northern Altaians (Kumandins, Tubalars, and Chelkans), Khakas-Kyzyl, and Shor of the mountain taiga region, Kemerovo Province. Marriages to members of other indigenous peoples in southern Siberia are common among the Khakas-Koibal, Khakas-Kachin, and the Abakan Shor. These trends illustrate the nature of ethnic and demographic development in the Sayan-Altai region.


ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)