Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 44, No 4 (2016)
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3-25 365
The study focuses on the origin and evolution of the Middle Paleolithic in the Arabian Peninsula, a major crossroads of human and animal migrations connecting Africa with Eurasia in the Late Middle and Early Upper Pleistocene. Middle Paleolithic human dispersal in Arabia was caused by intermittent environmental changes and related fl uctuations of the Bab-el-Mandeb level. A key role in the African Middle Paleolithic was played by Afro-Arabian Nubian lithic industries showing characteristically Levallois features and associated with anatomically modern humans who had migrated from Africa. Arabian fi nds are discussed with reference to the Out-of-Africa and Multiregional models of human evolution. Based on the totality of cranial, archaeological, and paleogenetic data, it is proposed that modern humankind emerged from the admixture of at least four related taxa that had evolved in Africa and Eurasia. A hypothesis about the migration of Homo sapiens from Africa across Arabia to Southeast Asia and Sahul 70–50 ka BP is discussed.
26-34 336
Multidisciplinary studies using geomorphological, geoarchaeological, and geochronological approaches indicate contrasting environmental changes in southeastern Altai beginning from the Late Pleistocene. Twenty-eight new radiocarbon dates from the subaerial complex overlying Late Neopleistocene sediments in the high-altitude Kurai and Chuya basins confi rm the degradation of a single ice-dammed reservoir in that area during the Early Holocene. In the fi rst half of the Holocene, those basins were fi lled with isolated lakes. At the Baratal River mouth in the western Kurai basin, a reservoir with a water level of at least 1480 m a.s.l. emerged ca 10–6.5 ka BP, whereas in the Chuya depression, numerous residual lakes had existed at least 8 ka BP. Landslide- and morainedammed lakes between the depressions in the Chuya valley had existed until 7–3 ka BP, when they drained away. The preservation state of in situ archaeological sites, their cultural affi liation, and their location within the depressions and along the main Chuya valley attest to spatial and temporal changes of the hydrological system. This evolution occurred in the second half of the Holocene and did not entail major consequences for humans.
35-45 557
The 2013 archaeological excavation campaign carried out at Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ Paleolithic site (Neamţ County, North-Eastern Romania) led to the discovery, in the Gravettian I layer, of the fi rst engraved stone pendant found in this settlement, in an area where such discoveries are very rare. The Gravettian I layer provided the largest number of art objects and tools made of hard animal materials from the Romanian Upper Paleolithic. Besides a technological analysis of the pendant, a stylistic analysis of the engravings has also been provided, in order to identify similarities to other stone pendants. It seems that for the Paleolithic contexts of Eurasia, the discovery of such stone pendants, engraved on both sides is very rare, especially for Gravettian. Therefore, the specimen found at Poiana Cireşului is even more interesting, since it shows several original peculiarities. The new personal ornaments discovered in the Gravettian sites of South-Eastern Europe can provide important information on the ethno-cultural features of the Paleolithic communities of this region.
46-59 215
The article outlines the results of the 1973 excavation season at a Neolithic habitation site on Suchu Island, the Lower Amur. New fi ndings mostly relate to the middle Neolithic Malyshevo culture – stratigraphy and planigraphy of dwellings, their chronological sequence, and construction features, specifi cally the considerable variation of pit depth. Artifacts, totaling 4407 specimens, include stone tools, ceramics, and objects of art and cult. Lithics, mostly made of gray siltstone, were analyzed with regard to typology and function. The tool kit indicates complex economy. It includes hunting, fi shing, and butchering tools, those for processing stone, wood, and bone, those for preparing vegetable food, and those for digging. The ceramics of Malyshevo and other Neolithic cultures from excavation I was subjected to petrographic and radiographic analysis. The results reveal cultural differences in clay and fabric type, modeling, surface treatment, fi ring modes, and forms of vessels. Decoration, too, is culturally specifi c. Apart from Malyshevo people, the excavated area on Suchu Island was often visited by those associated with other cultures of the Middle, Late, and Final Neolithic.
60-66 274
Portable sculpture provides important information on past worldviews, the ways various objects were perceived, and subsistence activities. This study addresses fi gurines from Neolithic and Bronze Age habitation sites on Lake Baikal relying on a summary of published specimens and those from recent excavations, totaling 32 intact and fragmentary fi gurines from twelve sites. Chronology, assessed on the basis of stratigraphic observations and radiocarbon analysis, suggests that fi gurines were manufactured on Lake Baikal since the Early Neolithic (over 7000 cal BP). Most of the early specimens represent fi sh, and some depicts Baikal seals. They conform to the Kitoy artistic tradition. Late Neolithic fi gurines (5590–4870 cal BP) evidence a different style, typical of the Serovo-Glazkovo tradition. Bronze Age depictions of fi sh are highly stylized. Overall, these differences make it possible to track chronological changes in the contents and styles of portable sculpture in the region. Most representations of fi sh have perforations for appending and were probably used as lures. Larger ones without holes might have been used in rituals.


67-75 469
Morphological characteristics of Siberian Bronze and Early Iron Age celts are described with special regard to typology. The fi rst steps in this direction were taken by V.A. Gorodtsov (1916), S.A. Teploukhov (1929), M.P. Gryaznov (1941), V.N. Chernetsov (1947), etc. On the basis of these and later studies, it has become possible to visualize and classify all major morphological features of celts with a view of arriving at their typology. The method is illustrated by the analysis of a Seima-Turbino celt. The trait battery includes over seventy traits of the socket, body, blade, lugs, socket-body interface, casting technique, decoration, and dimensions. Formalized trait codes will enable us to proceed to a statistical analysis of celts based on a maximal number of characters.
76-82 389
The article describes two pieces of decorated woolen tapestry discovered by the Russian-Mongolian expedition in a Xiongnu (early 1st century AD) burial at Noin-Ula mound 22, northeastern Mongolia, in 2012. One fragment shows a composition consisting of a line of fl owers surrounded by a “rolling wave” woven along the left edge, and bands of similar waves skirting the opposite side. The design on the other fragment mostly consists of fi ve bands with fl oral patterns separated by plain tawny stripes. Technologically, the fragments are close to woolen fabrics unearthed at Eastern Mediterranean cities such as Palmyra, Dura-Europos, and Masada. The designs resemble those on fabrics from early 1st millennium sites in Xinjiang–Shampula, Niya, and Loulan, as well as those on Syrian fabrics, especially those from Palmyra. However, the Noin-Ula fragments differ from their Palmyran and Xinjiang counterparts by a more expressive manner of rendering fl oral motifs. Based on the analysis of dyes, the original palette is reconstructed. Our analysis suggests that the cloth could have been manufactured at an Eastern Mediterranean tapestry workshop—one of those with a long-standing fame. The cloth was probably imported to Mongolian steppes together with other items along the southern branch of the Great Silk Road.
83-91 361
In 2013, the South Siberian Archaeological Expedition headed by K.V. Chugunov excavated tomb 3 of mound 1 at the Bugry burial ground in the Altai. On the fl oor of the burial chamber, numerous fragments of a Chinese lacquer cup of the er bei type were found. Exact parallels to its decoration are known among the artifacts from tombs in the central Hubei Province, dating to the Qin–early Western Han Dynasty based on epigraphic data and suggesting that tomb 3 dates to the late 3rd century BC. Similarly decorated artifacts were found in other tombs in the Altai. The physicochemical analysis of the lacquer layers makes it possible to identify their compounds and to reconstruct the technique of the manufacture of er bei cups.
92-101 388
The article introduces and interprets a new runic inscription found at the Kalbak-Tash II petroglyphic site in Central Altai. Whereas the adjacent petroglyphic site, Kalbak-Tash I, is the largest collection of Old Turkic runic texts in the Altai Republic and in Russia at large, Kalbak-Tash II has so far yielded only one such inscription, consisting of seven characters. Professor Marcel Erdal has suggested its transliteration, translation, and commentary. The proposed translation reads, “The Horse tribe. Hunters of the Az (tribe), open (the way)!” The inscription, evidently dating to the 8th century, marks boundaries of tribal grazing areas or those of small social units, in this case, the Az tribe, mentioned in runic texts from Mongolia and Tuva. Various viewpoints regarding their location, affi nities with neighboring tribes, origin, and later history are discussed. This new inscription confi rms the common idea that the so-called mountain or mountain-taiga Az people lived not only in western Tuva, but also in eastern and southern Altai, whereas the steppe Az lived alongside the Kyrgyz in the Khakass-Minusinsk Basin. The culture possibly associated with the Az is the Kudyrge culture in Altai. The Kalbak-Tash II inscription, short as it is, is a signifi cant addition to the well-known Orkhon runic texts addressing the history of the Turkic Kaganates.
102-113 573
The article introduces a peculiar Old Turkic statue from Borili, discovered in the hills of Ulytau, Central Kazakhstan. It differs from other Old Turkic statues in that both arms are down and the hands are on the weapons––a sword and a battle pickaxe, the latter replacing the traditional vessel. No exact matches to this sculpture are known. Only isolated traits such as clothing style, weapons, and belt mountings are paralleled by other Old Turkic specimens. Items shown on the Borili statue are similar to those relating to the Sogdian and Turkic traditions, as well as those depicted in works of East Asian art from the time of the earliest states. Compositional features of the Borili statue could be due to the sculptor’s acquaintance with the art of the neighboring regions, primarily that of Sogdiana and China, which is spatially closest. The distinctive features of the Borili statue prompt us to examine its semantics in several ways relating to the visual and emotional aspects of the funerary rite. Based on the artistic and material parallels, the statue dates to the 7th or early 8th centuries.
114-121 314
Locating graves at a Bohai (698–926 AD) cemetery near the fortified site at Kraskinskoye in southern Primorye is difficult because their outward signs were destroyed by large-scale fl ooding and meandering of the Tsukanovka River during the medieval warming phase. Therefore, several prospection methods were employed. While drilling proved useful for locating stone structures in the alluvium, we tried to achieve similar results by nondestructive techniques. Micromagnetic modeling and electrical profiling techniques were employed on a large area to reveal anomalies suggestive of underground stone structures in friable soil. Kappametry of ground surface was applied layer by layer within excavated areas to document magnetic susceptibility of deposits. Comparative analysis of data obtained by prospection techniques (micromagnetic sensing, georadar, magnetic susceptibility measurement) and by archaeological methods was helpful for detecting medieval burials without visible features. We revealed the orientation, arrangement, and general features of Bohai burials, located probable stone mines, and unearthed ceramics suitable for dating. Bohai burials at Kraskinskoye are paralleled by contemporaneous ones in China. Paleogeographic and petrological analyses provide clues to the reasons behind the destruction of Bohai burials. A reconstruction of the environment around the habitation site and cemetery is suggested.
122-130 470
Traditional and novel features of 4th–5th century AD burials in the northern forest-steppe and sub-taiga areas of the Tobol valley (Kozlov Mys-2, Revda-5, Ustyug-1, and Ipkul) are described. The burial rite reveals cultural heterogeneity. The kurgans, the northerly orientation of bodies, the use of horsemeat in funeral feast, and the addition of sand and grog to ceramic paste are elements inherited from the earlier Sargatka culture. Features such as secondary cremation, inhumation with horse placed onto the roof of the grave perpendicular to the human body, wrapping the bodies in carpets, skins, and felt mats, and secondary inhumation have no roots in local Early Iron Age traditions. The addition of burnt bones to ceramic paste, new types of vessels such as jugs and mugs, and heavy circular deformation of the head – all these elements were introduced by migrants from Southwestern Central Asia, as evidenced by parallels with the Aral Sea area, the steppe part of the Irtysh Basin, the southern Ural, the Tien-Shan piedmont, apparently indicating immigration of isolated groups of nomads of proto-Bulgarian and Xiongnu origin. The emergence of fl at cemeteries with rows of graves arranged perpendicular to their long axes, the use of boats as coffi ns, the stamp decoration of pottery, and bowls are features introduced by immigrants associated with the Karym culture of the forest parts of the Tobol and Irtysh drainages.
131-140 355
The research focuses on Chukotka, Yamal and Kola peninsulas––the three source areas of Arctic reindeer breeding nomadism. The method of movement recording, termed TMA (tracking–mapping–acting), reveals a multidimensional pattern of nomadic movement with peaks and pauses, personal and social trajectories. The comparison of tracks shows that in contrast to ordinary reindeer herders, the leaders perform more complex and extended maneuvers for surveying vicinities, evaluating the situation, and specifying next steps. Three “close-ups” demonstrate their dense activity patterns covering natural and social environment and ensuring control over territory, reindeer, the nomadic community, external contacts, and threat prevention. In terms of spatial control and movement, herders practice different styles such as “circular” (Chukotka), “migratory” (Yamal), and “fenced” (Kola). In all three tundras, key roles belong to infl uential leaders whose experience and energy, by local people’s belief, are the backbone of reindeer herding. In turn, the leaders argue that husbandry is ineffi cient without authoritarian control, although they widely use social (including kin) ties in their strategies. Nomads and their leaders rely upon traditions but are open to innovations. Reindeer symbolize the identity of Arctic nomadic cultures since herding provides autonomy in subsistence, movement, and communication. However, traditional technologies of life-in-motion can be seen as valuable resource for present-day Arctic strategies.
141-149 438
Bone samples from two individuals (an adult and a child) buried at a Middle Bronze Age cemetery Bertek-56 on the Ukok Plateau, Altai, were subjected to a genetic analysis. The results are interpreted with reference to archaeological and craniometric data. Four systems of genetic markers were analyzed: mitochondrial DNA, the polymorphic part of amelogenin gene, autosomal STR-loci, and STR-loci of Y-chromosome. Complete information on these genetic markers was obtained for the adult individual. For the child, data on mitochondrial DNA, amelogenin gene, and partial profi les of autosomal and Y-chromosomal STR-loci are available. Both individuals were shown to be male and unrelated. The boy’s mitochondrial DNA belongs to the Western Eurasian haplogroup K (subgroup K1a24a), and that of the adult male, to the Eastern Eurasian haplogroup C. Using the predictor program, the Y-chromosomal haplotype of the adult individual (17 Y-chromosomal STR-loci) was identifi ed as Eastern Eurasian haplogroup Q. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic analysis of the results suggests that the Bertek population originated from an admixture of two genetically contrasting groups, one with Eastern Eurasian, the other with Western Eurasian features. These results are consistent with those of the archaeological and craniometric analysis indicating the admixture of autochthonous groups with immigrants from western Eurasia.

ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)