Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 43, No 4 (2015)
View or download the full issue PDF (Russian)


3-18 215

The Middle Paleolithic record for the peopling of the North is presented with tables, a distribution map, chronology, bioclimatic circumstances, and toolmaking repertoires. Salient aspects identify time-series, patterns of adaptive strategies, dispersal “frontlines”, and strategies for procurement of food-animals. They support empirically a model of the human biogeographic “cold space” realm; its bearing on the adaptive horizons of the historical zonation of the Paleolithic culture; debates about the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Eurasia; and antecedents for trends in intensifi cation of Holocene culture in circumpolar habitats, with reference to the Canadian Arctic.

19-32 51

The stratigraphy of Rubas-1 Paleolithic site in coastal Dagestan is described, and results of a detailed technical and typological analysis of lithics from the upper horizon, excavated from fi ve trenches in 2006–2007, are outlined. The resource base is assessed. Results suggest that the assemblage dates to the period transitional between the Middle and the Upper Paleolithic. Industries of the Dagestan coast are compared with those of the Caucasus and the Russian Plain.

33-45 54

Truncated-faceted pieceshave been reported from many Paleolithic industries of Eurasia and Africa. In the latest decade, this category of artifacts was identifi ed in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transitional and Early Upper Paleolithic industries of Northern Asia as well. The largest collection of truncated-faceted piecesin this region is associated with the Obi-Rakhmatian tradition, primarily with the Paleolithic industry of the Obi-Rakhmat Grotto, Uzbekistan. A detailed analysis of Obi-Rakhmatian truncated-faceted piecesshows that despite unifi ed morphometric characteristics, they could differ in function. A comparison of Obi-Rakhmatian truncated-faceted pieceswith similar artifacts from nearby areas revealed their importance as a cultural and chronological marker of terminal Middle Paleolithic and early Upper Paleolithic industries in Northern Asia.

46-53 118

The Angara River separates major historical and geographic regions of Siberia – the Cis-Baikal area and the Yenisei drainage. Its banks were subjected to detailed archaeological surveys whose fi ndings were integrated into cultural and chronological models. Because most of the Angara has become part of a system of artifi cial reservoirs, we are unable to test these models using new planigraphic and stratigraphic information concerning all the riverside archaeological sites. In 2014 we carried out an in-depth archaeological survey of a 115-kilometer stretch of the northern Angara bank between the Boguchany dam and the village of Boguchany. Survey results were supplemented by archival data. The ancient habitation layer was found to extend over large area of the Angara terrace. Artifacts tend to accumulate in weakly stratifi ed parts of the subaerial complex. Known archaeological sites span the period from the Neolithic to the Late Iron Age.


54-62 115

The article describes an unusual high-quality tripartite bronze sword found on the eastern coast of Lake Baikal and apparently dating to the Scythian Age. Because the blade and the hilt are nonfunctional, the sword was not used as an actual weapon. The guard is peculiarly shaped and decorated with stylized masks. While no exact parallels are known to us, certain features link the specimen to Scythian counterparts and to a sword from Khotu-Talaakh, Yakutia. Special attention is paid to the semantics of the fi nd, possibly evidencing contact with ritual practices of the Scytho-Siberian world and those of Siberian taiga.

63-71 78

A stone abrasive tile excavated by A.V. Machinsky in 1940 at an Early Medieval site at Cheremkhova, Amur Region, is described. Judging by results of the experimental use-wear and technological analyses, the abraive tile was used to polish round stone beads. In East Asia, such specialized tools fi rst appeared in the early Neolithic (Novopetrovka culture) and were still employed in the Early Iron Age and during the Middle Ages.

72-84 153

An unusual saddle found in a stone enclosure at Altynkazgan on the Mangyshlak Peninsula, Kazakhstan, is described. Its parts include silver plaques with fi gures of animals and birds, and small details of garniture. The fi gures were punched from inside, apparently on a template made from wooden planks, and their details were modeled with a special tool. Based on parallels from the Volga drainage, Ural, and Northern Caucasus, a Xiongnu-type saddle manufactured no later than the 5th century AD is reconstructed. A semantic and cultural interpretation of zoomorphic images is suggested. Though they have no exact parallels, their style is typical of golden ornaments of the Xiongnu Age. The Altynkazgan fi nd demonstrates that high-quality saddles were manufactured already during the Xiongnu epoch, being prototypical to those made by Old Turks.

85-93 135

Principles underlying an automated system of archaeological information processing (ASIP) “Terek” are described. It is part of a nation-wide geoinformation system “Archaeological sites of Russia”, designed at the Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, and based on the information from archaeological reports that were submitted to the archives of the IA RAS. Currently, under Russian Science Foundation Project No. 14-1803755, fi eld data covered by the 2009–2012 reports are being fed into “Terek”, which at the present time contains a brief description of approximately 20,000 sites and places where no archaeological remains were revealed by surveys. Open access cartographic systems enable automated mapping of sites based on Internet geoservers such as Google.Maps, Yandex.Maps, and SAS.Planeta. Examples of such a mapping are provided.

94-105 98

Sikachi-Alyan and Sheremetievo rock art sites are part of the Lower Amur and Ussuri rock art province. A history of their discovery is outlined, and their preservation state is described. In 2013, many of them were damaged by a major fl ooding. Effects of water level and temperature fl uctuations and of wind erosion are assessed. In Sikachi-Alyan, the main impact factors were silting of boulders with petroglyphs and their displacement caused by seasonal rise of water level and ice drift. In Sheremetievo, destruction resulted mainly from biofouling. The removal of lichen revealed new petroglyphs, and details of known ones were specifi ed. Boulders with rare zoomorphic and anthropomorphic petroglyphs were discovered in the riverside bush and on the fl oodplain terrace.

106-113 134

Kazakh narrow-bladed battle axes – shakan – in private and museum collections of Russia and Kazakhstan are described in terms of construction and decoration. Our results show that this type of shock-and-slash weapon originated from the battle axes early and high medieval Turkic and Mongolian nomads had used against armored enemies. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, the shakan axes largely fell into disuse because of the disappearance of metal armor.

114-126 90

The article addresses traditional domestic clothing of southwestern Siberian Old Believers. Professing the same Priestless Old Belief, they came from different parts of European Russia (“Poles”, Belarusian “Muscovites”, “Kerzhaks”, etc.). The basic type of clothing is sarafan, whose types reveal the sources of migration. Their geographic distribution indicates northeastern and northwestern Russian traditions. Ethno-cultural diversity was maintained owing to the stability of marriage circles until the 1920s.

127-134 128

The article discusses the impact of urbanization on the transmission of Sakha people identity, culture, and language in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). Based on the results of a sociological survey, ethno-cultural identity of villagers and fi rst and second generation urban dwellers is assessed. People living in towns, especially the descendants of townsfolk, show signifi cant differences from the villagers in several respects: they plan to have fewer children, are less related to tribal clans, their ethnic identity is transformed, they are adopting Russian as an everyday language and are less involved in folk culture. It is predicted that the impact of urbanization will fully manifest itself 20–25 years later following a rise in the share of second generation urban dwellers in the Sakha population .

135-143 127

Metric and nonmetric traits of fi ve lower teeth from Afontova Gora II, dated to 16–12 thousand years BP, were examined. The trait combination includes large crowns with short roots, complex and somewhat archaic odontoglyphic pattern, and absence of key eastern or western markers. The closest parallel is provided by teeth of the Listvenka child. This dental complex, termed Southern Siberian, is neutral with regard to the east to west differentiation and had apparently originated in the Altai and Sayan foothills.

144-150 150

The study outlines the results of a molecular-genetic analysis of two males from a Pazyryk burial at Ak-Alakha-1, Ukok Plateau, the Altai Mountains, relating to mitochondrial DNA, the polymorphic part of amelogenin gene, autosomal STR-loci and STR-loci of Y-chromosome. Major lineages of both mtDNA and Y-chromosome are identical, indicating kinship. However, more detailed results exclude fi rst degree (father–son) kinship in favor of a more distant relationship. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic implications of the fi ndings are discussed. The study demonstrates the capacities of modern paleogenetic techniques and the urgent necessity to include them in archaeological reconstructions.

ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)