Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 43, No 3 (2015)
View or download the full issue PDF (Russian)


3-16 71

The assemblages of the Sibiryachikha facies of the Middle Paleolithic stand out in terms of their production technology and typology among the other contemporary lithic assemblages of Gorny Altai. In this study, the role of raw materials in the development of characteristic features of the Okladnikov and Chagyrskaya caves’ industries is determined. The proximity of sources of the raw material used has been established, and the main principles of its exploitation (quality and availability) have been confirmed. For the Sibiryachikha facies of the Middle Paleolithic of the Altai, these principles were implemented through selection of easily-accessible good-quality stones and less accessible high-quality materials—Cambrian-Ordovician Zasurye jasperoids. The latter were used selectively, and the quality of raw materials was important for secondary working of stone tools in the Sibiryachikha assemblages. Increase in the proportion of artifacts made of Zasurye jasperoids in the later assemblages of the Sibiryachikha facies is not associated with the introduction of new techniques, and may reflect the increased availability of this high-quality material and the development of adaptive skills of the ancient population.

17-41 135

Here, we present technological, typological and morphological analyses of the Pleistocene lithic assemblages excavated from Horizons 3–2.5 of the multicomponent Chikhen-2 site located on the southern piedmont of the Gobi Altai Range, southern Mongolia. Descriptions of geomorphology, stratigraphy, and archaeological finds are given, along with an analysis of reduction and secondary trimming techniques and retouch typology. Single-platform mono-frontal fiat cores, double-platform bi-longitudinal cores, orthogonal cores, and narrow-front cores dominate the reduction strategy. Microcores are also present. Levallois-like cores appear initially in Horizon 2.7. Within the tool assemblage, retouched blades, end-scrapers on blades, notched-denticulate tools and large side-scrapers (skreblos) were identified. There are also various micro-tools present, including bladelets with blunt edges, oblique points, and truncated tools. The lithic industries of Horizons 3–2.5 are classified as Early Upper Paleolithic; a conclusion supported by radiocarbon determinations (ca. 30,000 BP). The lithic complexes described here are broadly analogous with other known Early Upper Paleolithic sites both in Mongolia (e.g., Chikhen-Agui; Orkhon-1 and -7; Tolbor-4, -15, and -16), and within a larger territory including the Russian Trans-Baikal region, North China, and the Altai Mountains. Archaeological materials from the lowermost strata at Chikhen-2 are important because they illustrate the emergence of the Upper Paleolithic in southern Mongolia.

42-49 183

Paleoanthropological materials, along with the art and architectural evidence, are analyzed. Data on the general trend of ritual practices in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions of the Fertile Crescent area in the period of transition to the sedentary way of life, and the new subsistence strategies in the Early Holocene, are considered. Ethnographic data on the stadially related cultures are used as supplemental material.

50-63 76

The article presents unpublished findings on the 1972 systematic excavations at a radiocarbon-dated Neolithic site on Suchu Island, Khabarovsk Region. Stratigraphy, dwellings associated with the Malyshevo culture (4th–3rd millennia BC), typological and functional properties of stone tools, cultural and chronological attribution of ceramics and of clay artifacts relating to art and ritual are discussed, with reference to parallels from other Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of the region.

64-76 75

The article is devoted to the lithic industries of the most ancient cultures on the Pacific coast of Ecuador – pre-ceramic Las Vegas culture (10,840–6600 BP) and early pottery culture (5500–3500 BP). The original model of the “Tropical package” for the transitional period from hunter-gatherers to early agriculturalists is proposed on the basis of techno-typological and use-wear analysis.


77-90 131

The article analyzes fish-remains from Andronovo (Fedorovka) and Krotovo-Andronovo burials at Tartas-1, Baraba forest-steppe, Western Siberia. These remains were found in the surface structures above the graves, in the infill of graves, and at the bottom of graves near human remains. Species and age composition, fishing season, and number of individuals are estimated. Based on these findings, inferences are made regarding the transformation of burial rites of the Andronovo (Fedorovka) migrants from the south, mirroring a shift from the traditional meat diet to that based on fish. Ideological changes related to the adaptation to a new environment are discussed.

91-99 112

Excavations of Xiongnu elite burials, conducted in 2006–2012 by the Russian-Mongolian expedition in the Noyon Uul Mountains, Northern Mongolia, revealed numerous jade artifacts. Their classifi cation is provided and their possible cultural meaning is discussed. The Chanyu apparently received them from the Han imperial court by way of gift or tribute. Like Chinese, Xiongnu believed in magic and vital force of jade, and this may account for its abundance in burials. The amount and quality of jade indicated the owner’s high social status. Jade artifacts were parts of neck adornments worn by members of the Xiongnu elite, and they might have functioned as amulets. Finds from “Ballod’s mound” suggest that they may have been parts of jade garments, known as “armors”.

100-106 69

A comprehensive architectural, semiotic, and ethnographic analysis of 17th–18th-century Russian churches of Our Lady and Trinity in Siberia suggests that their architecture, specifically, the peculiar barrel-domes, symbolized Russian ethnic and religious dominance of the region.

107-115 184

According to Rashid ad-Din’s Compendium of Chronicles, the homeland of Mongols was Ergene-kun. The Turkic tradition, on the other hand, states that Ergenekon was the homeland of Turks, located in the Altai Mountains, and that the Ergenekon dastan of the Turkic folklore was erroneously attributed to Mongols owing to Rashid ad-Din’s work. The comparative analysis of various sources unambiguously indicates the Mongolian origin of the Ergune-kun legend. Field studies conducted by the present author in northeastern China uphold this view.

116-127 132

The article explores dental affinities of people associated with three Neolithic cultures of southwestern Siberia. At least three morphological components were revealed. The first, evidently derived from the Upper Paleolithic population of the Altai-Sayan Highland, is found in the Baraba forest-steppe. The second, related to Baikal Mongoloids, is present in people representing the Kuznetsk-Altai and Bolshoy Mys cultures. The third component, revealing affinities with the Mesolithic people of northeastern Europe, was detected in the Vengerovo-2a group.

128-141 131

The article outlines the results of a comprehensive study of human skeletal remains from the Barangol cemetery, Gorny Altai, representing the northern variant of the Pazyryk culture. Archaeological, demographic, craniometrical, osteometrical, and pathological findings are discussed. Results suggest that the Early Iron Age populations of the lower and middle Katun River and the southeastern Altai were related by origin but differed in economic specialization. Apart from pastoralism, the northern Pazyryk people widely practiced agriculture.

142-155 85

Results of a new multidisciplinary study of the descendents of Russian Old Settlers in Siberia are outlined. In summer 2013, 216 adults and schoolchildren, Russians and Siberian natives, were studied at Russkoye Ustye on the Indigirka River, Yakutia, with regard to origin, ethnic identity, surnames, and physical type. This is an admixed group revealing mostly Caucasoid and, to a lesser extent, Mongoloid ties, and trait combinations are occasionally mosaic. Based on the combination of diagnostic features, the closest groups are northern Komi and northern Russians as well as admixed populations of the contact zone between Europe and Asia.

ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)