Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 45, No 4 (2017)
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3-12 691

Since its discovery in the early 1960s, the chronology of the Neolithic Gromatukha culture in the Western Amur Region has undergone  radical changes. After the appearance of a series of carbon dates  based on charcoal and organic remains in clay texture, its initial  attribution to the Early and Middle Neolithic (second half of the 5th  to 4th millennia BC) was replaced by a much earlier estimate (from  15–16 to 8 cal ka BP). As a result, Gromatukha became not only one of the most ancient Early Neolithic cultures in the Amur Region, but also one with the earliest pottery among forest and riverine hunter-gatherer cultures. To date, its absolute chronology is based on 34  dates including 9 derived from charcoal, 8 from organic remains in  clay texture, and 17 from charred remains on pottery samples. The  latter are analyzed in this article. The comparison of chronological  limits of Gromatukha culture demonstrates that the widest of them concern dates based on organic remains in clay texture (16,260–8010 cal BP), narrower limits relate to estimates based on charred  remains on pottery (15,010–9550 cal BP), and narrowest limits, to  those based on charcoal (14,820–11,200 cal BP). New series of  dates based on charred remains on pottery indicate a span of 5460  years, which is 2790 years less than that based on organic remains  in clay texture, and 1840 years more than what the charcoal-derived estimates suggest.

13-23 421

This article offers new data on ancient fi shing in the Big Sea region of Lake Baikal. Materials for this research were recovered during fieldwork conducted at multilayered habitation sites Sagan-Zaba II  and Buguldeika II by the joint Russian-Canadian expeditions (a project between Irkutsk State University (Russia) and University of Alberta (Canada)). The research presented here is based on the  analysis of ichthyofaunal remains and artefacts associated with fishing activities (hooks, harpoons, net sinkers, and fish imagery).  For the first time, we are able to reconstruct not only taxa and fishing techniques used but also to trace which species were  consumed during different chronological periods. Chronological  assessment of analyzed cultural layers at Sagan-Zaba II and  Buguldeika II was done through over 90 AMS radiocarbon dates  made on ungulate bones in Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. Archaeological periodization of analyzed sites spans from the Mesolithic to the ethnographically contemporary period. Fish species  composition at the two sites was compared with that from sites of the Little Sea area of Lake Baikal. These new data added a better  understanding of the relative importance and subsistence uses of fish on Lake Baikal during the Holocene period. It has been demonstrated that fishing traditions of Early and Middle Holocene  hunter-gatherers were continued by pastoralists, especially in regard  to the consumption of deep-water species. It is concluded that ancient populations living on the shores of Lake Baikal exploited a wide range of natural resources, and fishing played a very important part in this.

24-33 384

This article presents results of a comprehensive analysis of stone tools from six Neolithic sites in the Upper and Middle Kama basin,  three of which belong to the Kama culture and three to the Volga- Kama culture. Technological, typological, traceological, and spatial  analyses were used. Differences between both lithic industries are  minor in all parameters. Technologically, both are characterized by  regular knapping aimed at the production of blades and blade-like flakes. Tools on flakes are more numerous than those on blades.  Marginal retouch was widely used, and several tools are bifacial. The  most common types are scrapers, knives, points, blades, and  retouched flakes. In tools from the Kama sites, ventral retouch is  more frequent. The traceological analysis revealed that the principal  tools were end-scrapers for processing various materials, butchering  knives, planes, burins, and perforators.  In the Volga-Kama industry, bone-processing tools are more frequent. The spatial analysis demonstrated that zones of various subsistence activities often  overlap or are vaguely delimited. Apparently, adaptation to one and  the same environment leveled off cultural differences.


34-44 361

This study focuses on Verkhnegostagayevskoye—a fortress in the Krasnodar Territory, dating to the Late Classical and Early Byzantine  era. It has a multilevel fortifi cation system constructed with the use  of Classical Greek building materials according to the tradition of  adobe-and-stone architecture. The fortress, situated far away from  major seashores and inland transport arteries and studied by  nondestructive topographic methods such as magnetic prospection,  was a strategically important refuge. The scale of construction  activities indicates signifi cant administrative resources of the rulers.  The master-builders were qualifi ed specialists with a good  knowledge of local materials, relief, and geological structure of the  area. Construction materials differed with regard to position:  pumpkin shell was used for outside-facing walls, whereas peripheral  defensive structures were made of local sandstone and limestone. Judging by parts of columns including Doric capitals with very flat echini, dating to the Late Hellenistic or Roman period, dismantled  remains of public buildings were used for fortifi cation. The  production of building materials and the construction works may  have been a long-term job for the Bosporans. The fortress was  probably part of a political structure involved in the minting of the  famous replicas of Roman denarii. These replicas marked one of the  oldest routes connecting the Black Sea coast with Central Ciscaucasia via the Kuban drainage.

45-55 453

The Jōmon monumental structures on the islands of Kyushu, Honshu, and Hokkaido represent the earliest of the three such traditions, two others being associated with the cultures of  Yayoi and Kofun. The beginnings of the tradition date back to the  Early Jōmon (ca 8000 BP), while its peak coincides with the Late  Jōmon (4000–3000 BP). Unlike people associated with two later  traditions (agriculturalists and animal breeders), the Jōmon people  were hunters, gatherers, and fishers. This is the first Russian study  to address various types of Jōmon monumental structures (stone alignments, stone circles, earthen mounds, and “geometric” shell mounds), their distribution and chronology. The most  interesting sites (Yubunezawa II, ōyu, Komakino, Sannai Maruyama,  Kasori, etc.) are documented with drawings and photos. It is  hypothesized that the tradition originated as early as the Final  Paleolithic and the transition to the Jōmon Mikoshiba culture. We  present parallels with sites in the adjacent territories of the Russian  Far East (Primorye) such as Ustinovka-4, Suvorovo-4, and Bogopol- 4. Given the complexity of monumental structures (elaborate layout, traces of wooden structures, burials, numerous works of art,  visual effects, astronomical marks, “sundials”), these sites can be  viewed as multifunctional ritual centers. In terms of amount of  material and labor required for construction, they are comparable  with the Neolithic funerary structures of Western Europe.

56-64 380

We analyze the forms of clay vessels from the Malyshevo Middle Neolithic sites on the Lower Amur, and compare them with those relating to the contemporaneous Late Kondon culture of the same  region and to the Boisman and Vetka cultures in Primorye, using V.F.  Genning’s methodology. Based on the results, a reconstruction of  cultural contacts in the Russian Far East during the Middle Neolithic is  attempted. On the other hand, H.A. Nordström’s approach helps to  reveal the “standard” forms of vessels. The closest parallels are those with the Boisman ceramics, whereas the Vetka vessels are the least similar.

65-73 671

This article deals with the absolute chronology of the Neolithic cultures of the eastern Ural, Middle Irtysh-Baraba, and the Upper Ob basin. Twenty-two new radiocarbon dates for the ceramic assemblages of Trans-Uralian Neolithic and thirteen for those of the  western Siberian forest-steppe suggest that Kozlov Mys, Poludenka,  and Boborykino sites in the forest-steppe coexisted with those of the Makhandzhar type in eastern Ural and Kazakhstan during the early Neolithic and in the beginning of the Late Neolithic. Late Neolithic  Artyn settlements on the Middle Irtysh and in Baraba are  contemporaneous with the Protoka and Vengerovo-2A burial grounds (middle and second half of the 5th millennium BC). Boborykino sites  in the eastern Ural are contemporaneous with Avtodrom-2/2  representing the same culture (fi rst half and mid-5th millennium  BC). The Izylino/Zavyalovo stage of the Middle Neolithic on the Upper Ob dates to late 6th to early 5th millennia BC. Late Neolithic Kiprino-Novokuskovo sites on the Upper Ob date to the mid-5th to early 4th millennia BC. The Bolshoy Mys sites date to the 4th millennium BC.

74-81 479

This paper addresses rare funerary artifacts— anthropomorphic bronze masks, unearthed in 1973 and 2014 from 5th–8th century AD mounds at Timiryazevo on the Lower Tom River,  southwestern Siberia, by an expedition from the Tomsk State  University. Their detailed description is provided and the  archaeological context is described. Stylistically and technically, the  masks represent a separate group, termed Timiryazevo and  distributed in the Tomsk-Narym area of the Ob basin. In broader  terms, they belong to medieval repoussé ritual masks from western  Siberia. As we demonstrate, the Timiryazevo specimens were details  of funerary dolls made of organic materials and resembling those manufactured by Siberian natives in the recent past. They were meant to provide a temporary abode for one of the deceased  person’s souls. The archaeological context suggests that at  Timiryazevo, dolls were buried separately, with their miniature  belongings. We also suggest that other types of dolls were buried  there, too. Those were made of purely organic materials that did not survive, as evidenced by numerous isolated clusters of miniature objects buried in shallow pits inside burial mounds or between them.

82-92 526

This article presents the results of a multidisciplinary study of Beloye Ozero-3—an early nomadic cemetery in the Turan-Uyuk intermountain trough in Tuva, southern Siberia. The  radiocarbon analysis of wood from four of its mounds suggests that  they were constructed 2565–2390 (calibrated, 1σ), or 2465–2380  (uncalibrated) years ago. In four mounds with a complex  construction, burials in timber frames, spoil heap, and the peripheral ring were overlaid by stones. In the third mound, there were stone  slabs and the mound was encircled by a ditch. The construction of  the fourth mound proceeded in two stages. A total of 12,744 m2 of  space between the mounds was excavated, and 38 pavements for  funerary repasts were found. Fragments of gold figurines of various  animals, ceramics, and arrowheads can be attributed to the Uyuk culture. Results of the palynological analysis suggest that during the construction of the first two mounds, the climate was slightly wetter than the present one. When, 95 years later, the third mound was  constructed, the climate became more dry. Before the final stage in  the construction of the necropolis, humidization began.  Environmental changes are evidenced by fluctuations in the amount  and composition of pollen of plants adapted to various ecological  niches: xerophytes, mesophytes, hydrophytes, and ruderals. Dry- steppe communities prevailed over mesophytic ones. Hydrophytic  vegetation and larch grew near the water bodies. The anthropogenic pressure on landscape increased during the early and final stages of the necropolis, corresponding to the Uyuk culture. Background and  ancient soils are largely similar, indicating relative stability of climate during the construction of mounds and its proximity to the modern climate.

93-101 519

Ninety-fi ve arrowheads dating to AD 800–1300 and found in the cities of Kabala, Shamakhi, Baku, Shabran, Shamkir, Beylagan, and  Sharur, in the castles of Gulistan and Gasimkan-qala, and in the  villages of Shamdan, Burovdal, and Shakasheher are described. The  study is based on the classifi cation of Siberian, Far Eastern, eastern  and western Central Asian, and Eastern European arrowheads,  suggested by Y.S. Hudiakov and A.I. Soloviev. All specimens are  made of iron; some are stemmed and some socketed. Stemmed  ones fall into eight groups in terms of cross-section. Those with  sockets form a single group. In terms of function, three groups of  arrowheads are described: (1) used against light armor; (2) used  against chain mail; (3) used against plate armor. On the basis of casting molds, metal sheets with notches, and leather templates, manufacturing techniques are reconstructed. Arrowheads were  forged from irregular metal blanks or rods, and cut from metal  sheets using templates; additional forging was optional. The most representative group includes specimens with narrow faceted  blades and triangular tips ensuring deep penetration. Flat  arrowheads are the most common. A few specimens from Mongolian burials at Mingachevir, dating to late 13th century, are described.

102-112 488

This article describes fragments of lacquer from the early nomadic burials in mounds 21 and 31 at Chineta II, northwestern Altai. Their  location in the graves, material, and distribution pattern suggest that these fragments belonged to wooden cups. The analysis, which included methods of analytical chemistry, infrared and Fourier spectrometry, revealed that the remains of paint resembled that on  Chinese lacquerware coatings based on qi-lacquer 生漆. The analysis  of paint layers showed that lacquer coatings were manufactured  following the traditional technology used in ancient China. The red  upper layers, similar to those known as zhu-qi 朱漆, were applied  over the dark brown layers of qi-lacquer (漆). Parallels are found  among the Chinese lacquers from Pazyryk, Noin-Ula, Bugry II, etc.,  owned by the State Hermitage Museum. The comparison of samples  from Chineta II with those from highranking Scythian Age burials in the Altai suggests that lacquer items were imported by the nomads from a single manufacturing center in China during 600–400 BC.  Because imported lacquerware was quite expensive, persons buried  at Chilikta II mounds 21 and 31 must have belonged to the elite,  although these burials were inferior to “royal” mounds at Tuekta,  Pazyryk, Bashadar, Berel, Katanda, etc., in terms of status.

113-121 513

We describe a richly decorated iron helmet owned by the Moscow Kremlin Armoury. The specimen has never been analyzed in detail  before. As we found out, it was one of the gifts sent by the  Khotogoid Lama Erdene Dajan mergen Lanja to the Russian Tsar  Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov on 14 January, 1635. The helmet had  been handed over to the State Treasury no later than 29 November,  1636, and later transferred to the Armoury. Apart from the helmet  proper, the headgear in its initial condition includes a tripartite  aventail made of narrow iron plates and decorated with colored  velvet and silk, a cloth liner, and yellow satin ribbons, which were  tied under the warrior’s chin. All the organic parts have been missing since the early 1700s. The dome of the helmet has a patterned applied strip and a visor with the Simhamukha Mantra written in Sanskrit and meant to protect the warrior from adverse charms and weapons. The technological analysis suggests that letters on the band were gilt, and those on the visor, silvered. Initially, the  Armoury experts identifi ed the helmet as a “Manchu hat”. The  typological analysis suggests that the headgear was made by Central Asian (Mongolian or Oirat) artisans in the late 16th or early 17th  century. The specimen may be used as a standard for dating and  attributing randomly found and unattributed battle and ceremonial  headgears worn by late medieval and early modern Central Asian nomads.

122-131 391

This study focuses on the use dendrochronological methods in architectural and ethnographic surveys with special reference to early Russian towns in Siberia. The methods are used for the  tentative dating of eight architectural constructions in the town of  Tara. The standard dendrochronological technique includes the use of the calibrated tree-ring chronology relating to the study area, and the relative chronology modeled on the specific site. The  method has numerous advantages, but also certain limitations, such  as the difficulties with dating partially reconstructed buildings. These difficulties can be overcome by using a multidisciplinary approach. As a result, the time of construction and reconstruction of several buildings in Tara has been evaluated, and a 419-year-long treering chronological scale has been constructed, spanning the  period from 1596 to 2015. This will facilitate the dating of 17th– 18th century wooden architectural constructions in western Siberia.

132-142 574

We present the results of a paleogenetic analysis of nine individuals from two Early Iron Age mounds in the Baraba forest -teppe, associated with the Sargat culture (fi ve from Pogorelka-2  mound 8, and four from Vengerovo-6 mound 1). Four systems of  genetic markers were analyzed: mitochondrial DNA, the polymorphic part of the amelogenin gene, autosomal STR-loci, and those of the Y- chromosome. Complete or partial data, obtained for eight of the nine individuals, were subjected to kinship analysis. No direct relatives of  the “parent-child” type were detected. However, the data indicate  close paternal and maternal kinship among certain individuals. This  was evidently one of the reasons why certain individuals were buried under a single mound. Paternal kinship appears to have been of greater importance. The diversity of mtDNA and Y-chromosome lineages among individuals from one and the same mound suggests  that kinship was not the only motive behind burying the deceased  people jointly. The presence of very similar, though not identical,  variants of the Y chromosome in different burial grounds may  indicate the existence of groups such as clans, consisting of paternally related males. Our conclusions need further confirmation and detailed elaboration.

143-151 514

This article outlines a technique for comparing cranial samples by studying their individual variation patterns against the background of worldwide variation using the principal component analysis (PCA).  The training set consisted of 357 male crania  from 27 populations of Europe, Asia, and North America. Our measurement protocol  included 14 linear dimensions of the facial skeleton. As a test set, we used four recent rural Russian samples, while several series  representing Finno-Ugric and Baltic populations and those of central  and northern Europe were employed as reference data. The variation in the training set, assessed by PCA without any discriminant  statistical methods, shows a clear pattern of between-group  differences. The individual variation within the samples is very  informative, revealing marked differences between the four Russian  samples. While those from Nikolskoye and Staraya Ladoga are morphologically homogeneous, that from Kozino is extremely heterogeneous: its variation encompasses virtually the entire  Caucasoid range. Compared to European samples including Karelians and Finns, Russian samples excluding Kozino are more similar to the  Mordvinian series than are other European groups including the  western Finns. This, however, refers only to intragroup variation  because at the group level the Russian samples display no  Mordvinian tendency. On the other hand, we found no particular similarity between the Russians and the Sami. In general, Russians are no more “Mongoloid” than most other Europeans, but the  presence of several crania evidencing a Mongoloid trait combination  should be noted.

ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)