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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 47, No 2 (2019)
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PALEOENVIRONMENT. THE STONE AGE

3-12 108
Abstract
Eastern Adriatic Late Middle Paleolithic is relatively well known. On the other hand, Early Upper Paleolithic sites in the same region are scarce, and in particular the sites from Early Aurignacian, which are completely lacking. Sites with stratigraphy encompassing Late Middle Paleolithic and Early Upper Paleolithic that would signifi cantly contribute to better understanding of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition have not yet been found. In this paper, we give an overview of the archaeological record of the regional Late Middle and Early Upper Paleolithic from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania. The information on research of Late Middle Paleolithic sites conducted in different regions of the eastern Adriatic (e.g., Mujina pećina and Velika pećina in Kličevica in Dalmatia, open-air site Campanož and Romualdova pećina in Istria, Bioče and Crvena stijena in Montenegro) is given. AMS and ESR dates give good temporal frame for Late Middle Paleolithic. Contrary to this, radiocarbon dates for Early Upper Paleolithic are scarce, and were made long time ago, hence bringing into question their reliability as is supported by their very late age for Aurignacian. Only one recent AMS date from Šandalja II could represent real Aurignacian age. According to current data, there is a hiatus of several thousand years between Late Middle and Early Upper Paleolithic in the eastern Adriatic. Here we suggest several potential reasons for such fragmentary record of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in the eastern Adriatic.
13-23 64
Abstract
The Maikop culture of the 4th millennium BC has long been recognized as one of the most intriguing phenomena in the archaeology and history of Eurasia. A pottery assemblage of Ust-Dzheguta, located on the northern slope of the Greater Caucasus, should provide an insight into Maikop society and its technological and social choices. The article provides information on geographical location and geological settings of the Maikop site. Based on optical mineralogy analysis, potential raw materials and geological maps, fabrics and their possible geological sources were defi ned. The pottery assemblage exhibits technical and technological heterogeneity, including the use of a variety of raw materials and techniques. Correlation between types of vessels and fabrics is traced. Three Maikop pottery industries have been identifi ed. Most of massive and sophisticated basins and pithoi were produced by highly skilled and specialized potters. The majority of vessels were manufactured by part-time potters. Cooking vessels were made as part of household production. The conclusion is provided about the established specialization in the pottery manufacture and preservation of household production.

THE METAL AGES AND MEDIEVAL PERIOD

24-32 51
Abstract
This article presents a brief overview of Maikop-Novosvobodnaya assemblages with gold ornaments. Special attention is paid to symbolism. Gold ring pendants were found in four Middle Bronze Age burials near Meneralnye Vody, central north Caucasus. One of them (burial 4 under kurgan 3 at Lysogorsky-6) is very unusual. It was arranged under a seven-meter-high mound and contained a set of weapons and implements placed on wooden dishes. Among the stones heaped on the burial, an offering was found — two crania of bulls. Burials of warriors with bronze and stone axes, excavated in central Caucasus, are discussed. The Maikop-Novosvobodnaya people (4th millennium BC) and those of the North Caucasian culture (3rd millennium BC) differed with regard to social structure mirrored by the burials. While both those societies were on the early pre-state stage, the social models were different. The Chalcolithic society was marked by the military and production symbolism, specifi cally that related to carpentry, and the ranking was super-elitary, with abundant gold placed in burials. In the Middle Bronze Age society, symbols related to carpentry were still used, but along with bronze axes of the Transcaucasian (Nacherkezevi) type. Stone axes were associated with smithcraft. The higher degree of military elite stratifi cation at that stage is revealed by assemblages with impact weapons and golden pendants attached to the headgear.
33-39 82
Abstract
Konoplyanka is a fortifi ed settlement associated with the Sintashta culture and dating to 1920–1745 cal BC. The faunal sample was studied with regard to standard traits and markers of pathology, rather recently adopted in Russian archaeozoological studies. The results are relevant not only to herd composition and age at slaughter but also to the animals’ state of health. The analysis of pathologies provides information about the herders’ skills and the housing of domestic ungulates. Ethnographic data relating to the modern grazing management system in the same area and information received from herdsmen were widely used. This makes it possible to assess the carrying capacity of the land and to arrive at a more accurate reconstruction of the pastoral economy. Markers of osteophagy among the domestic ungulates are analyzed and the phenomenon is discussed in the context of settlement archaeology. The study showed that animal husbandry was the predominant subsistence strategy. Markers of animal pathology indicate a high level of herding skills. The cattle were used as draught animals. Osteophagy attests to places where animals were kept. The predominant system was homestead herding, all or most animals being likely kept within the settlement throughout the year.
40-47 57
Abstract
The fi rst joint study by Russian and Philippine archaeologists addresses an unusual variant of a burial tradition distributed in Island Southeast Asia – burials in anthropomorphic clay jars, found in Ayub Cave (southern Mindanao Island, Philippines), excavated by specialists from the National Museum of the Philippines in 1991–1992, and tentatively dated to 500 BC to 500 AD. Of special interest are lids of jars shaped as painted human heads with individualized facial features and expressions. The fi nds suggest that Ayub Cave was a necropolis of the tribe elite, and that vessels were produced by a special group of potters using elaborate “prestige technologies”. The Ayub ceramic collection has various parallels relating to clay fi gurines and decoration including painting, among Late Neolithic and Early Metal Age assemblages from the Philippines (Luzon, Palawan, and Negros Islands), Indonesia (Sumba, Flores, and Bali Islands), and other regions of the Pacifi c Basin from Japan (Jomon) and Korea (Early Iron Age burials) to Vanuatu Islands (Lapita culture). These parallels suggest that the source of the anthropomorphic symbolism was the Austronesian migration with one of its routes passing from southern China via Taiwan, the northern Philippines, Mariana Islands, and further south to Melanesia and Polynesia.
48-59 114
Abstract

This article presents a classifi cation of tamgas on petroglyphs and portable items. Tamgas are signs of group identity used by medieval Turkic nomads inhabiting Southern Siberia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. We describe eight groups of tamgas found in the Altai and in Semirechye, and compare them with similar signs from other parts of the region. The mapping of tamgas, including petroglyphic, sphragistic, and others allowed us to assess their date, ethno-political attribution, and migration routes of groups with which they were associated. The comparison of tamgas in the Altai and Semirechye evidences close links between those regions. Whereas certain groups of tamgas (combinations of many varieties) were emblems of major tribal unions, others were supratribal markers of social status, privileged clans, and alliances. Certain emblems were dynastic signs of the ruling elite. Dynastic tamgas of the Yaglakar clan are known from sites such as Syrnakh-Gozy and Kuray I in the Altai. Certain tamgas on coins and petroglyphs in Semirechye are emblems of the 8th and 9th century Karluk rulers of the Altai (Chagyn, Taldura, etc.) and central Mongolia (Shivet ulan). Two groups of tamgas (No. 1 and 3) have many derivatives, marking certain divisions of the Karluk federation. An example of a supratribal emblem is tamga No. 2, which shows little variation despite being found in various contexts across a vast territory. 

60-68 54
Abstract
This article describes the belt sets decorated by metal plaques with nodular rims, which we term Redikar sets after the place where they were fi rst found in a hoard. They are believed to mark the Magyar migration to Pannonia. We discuss the question of when and how such and similar belts got to the Volga Finns of the Lower Oka. The mapping of parallels suggests that their principal distribution area is the Kama basin and western Ural, i.e. places formerly inhabited by Ugrians. Stylistically, the decoration of such belts resembles that of Iranian toreutics and of the cast ritual items from the western Ural (Perm) and eastern Ural. Because trade and manufacture centers with jewelers’ workshops associated with silver mines existed in the Kama basin, this might have been the area from where silver belts of the Redikar type were brought to the Volga basin. The chronology of the fi nds is analyzed in detail, and the conclusion is made that they date to the fi rst half of the 10th century. On the Lower Oka, in the western Ural, and in the Kama basin, the Redikar belts are found in burials of the military elite members. Theу were supplied to the Mordvins along the Volga-Kama trade route, spanning territories from the Ural to Scandinavia. Their presence in cemeteries on the Tsna River suggests that Volga Finns were involved in the formation of early states at the turn of the fi rst and second millennia.
69-76 55
Abstract
The article introduces an assemblage from a child burial discovered in the central Gydan Peninsula, Tazovsky District, YamalNenets Autonomous Okrug. Little is known about the archaeological past of Arctic Western Siberia, and these fi nds are relevant to the study of the medieval period of that area. Medieval burials were studied only in the adjacent peninsula of Yamal. The discovery of the burial is described in detail. It was exposed owing to soil eolation. Artifacts were redeposited, and virtually the entire skeleton was missing. In a lump of soil stuck to the metal bowl, a few bone fragments and hair was found. Their analysis suggests that the individual was an infant aged 1–3. The assemblage includes an imported bronze bowl, a bronze haft of a knife, a scabbard, and a silver earring. The bowl, made of tin bronze, was apparently manufactured in eastern Iran or Central Asia in the 10th or 11th century. The haft and the scabbard, judging by the type and technology, belonged to a category of artifacts that were common in the Lower Ob basin, the southern Yamal, and the Ural in the late fi rst and early second millennia. On the basis of the results of X-ray fl uorescence analysis, we assess the chemical composition of the metal of which all those artifacts are made. The decorated fragment of a clay vessel is attributed to the Tiutey-Sale variant (800–1300 AD) of the Lower Ob culture. The totality of indicators suggests a date between 900 and 1100 AD. We conclude that the tundra areas of the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas were colonized by migrants from the northern taiga zone of Western Siberia.
77-83 37
Abstract
This article focuses on the circulation of coins in an anonymous Golden Horde town, which preceded the modern Eski-Yurt in the outskirts of Bakhchysarai, Crimea. The coins found at the site are compared to others (those from hoards and isolated specimens). The results point to a date between the second half of the 13th century and the late 14th century. The highest economic activity occurred between 1340–1380. The distribution of coins with regard to mints is broadly the same as in other Crimean towns (most were minted in Qirim, Saray al-Jedid, and Azaq). The presence of rather numerous “al-Jedid” coins suggests that they, too, may have been minted in the Crimea, but the evidence is insuffi cient for a defi nite conclusion. Most coins from Eski-Yurt were minted under Khan Uzbek and Khan Janibek (1340–1350), and there are no coins minted after 1380.
84-92 62
Abstract
This article describes a collection of toys from a manor in the medieval town of Tara, the Omsk Region, in a broad historical context. We focus on the spatial arrangement of toys on the manor’s plan, evidencing the overlap of the adult’s world with that of children, which is relevant to the development of children’s self-awareness and socialization through play. Games are an active form whereby children organize their space within the adults’ world and after its pattern. Toys help them assert themselves and “inhabit” the domestic world of the manor. The children’s presence in the space of the house, that of the estate, and that of the town is marked by various toys, such as mock weapons, balls, whistles shaped like birds, tiny dishes, knucklebones, svaikas (sharpened iron rods, which, when thrown, were meant to stick in the ground inside iron rings), small knives, etc. The reconstruction of children’s games within the excavated manor can be projected onto the entire town, since homesteads were the main habitats. Children belonging to various social classes played inside houses, in backyards, pastures, and areas between the estates. Because the living zone was mastered through play, games played an important role in the organization of the town’s socio-cultural space. As the children grew, their space expanded beyond the family limits.
93-102 55
Abstract
This paper addresses the main problems in assessing the stratigraphy of superimpositions in rock art. When a petroglyph is overlain by one or several others, this may provide important information not only about single images but also about entire stylistic traditions. Existing methods used for evaluating the relative chronology of the parts of petroglyphic palimpsests are discussed, and a new approach is proposed, combining high-resolution three-dimensional visualization at the macro-level with traceological analysis. We focus on the characteristics of the pecked surface in the area outside the palimpsest and that in the overlap zone. The comparison of these parts makes it possible to reveal the traceologically informative features in the palimpsest areas, indicating the sequence of superimposed petroglyphs. This approach is instantiated by the analysis of one of the palimpsests in the Shalabolino rock gallery, the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Images representing various stylistic traditions are found in complicated stratigraphic relations. The sequence of three main fi gures (bear, bull, and elk) in this multilayered composition has been reconstructed. The results of the analysis cannot be used as an argument for attributing these petroglyphs to vastly different chronological periods. Rather, they provide new information relevant to the debate around the age of the Angara and Minusinsk petroglyphic styles in the Minusinsk Basin.
103-111 67
Abstract
This study is based on an interdisciplinary approach to the prospection of archaeological sites impacted by modern agricultural plowing activity. We applied remote sensing, combined with geophysical, geochemical, and archaeological methods at Kushmanskoye III — a medieval Finno-Ugric site in the Cheptsa River basin, northern Udmurtia (9th–13th centuries AD). As a result of many years of plowing, the site cannot be visually demarcated, and visual traces of its extent have been obliterated. Scientifi c methods included aerial photography from unmanned vehicles (visual range, thermal, and multispectral imaging), geophysical techniques (resistivity and magnetometry surveys, ground penetrating radar, and electrical resistivity tomography), and soil studies (grain size composition, micromorphology, and chemical and biological analyses of soil cores). As a result, we effectively traced the boundaries of the site and of its “household periphery”, delineating areas with various degrees of disruption. Our research identifi ed two lines of defensive constructions, previously invisible on the surface. Our fi ndings have enabled us to initiate revision of the site’s status in the register of state-protected archaeological resources. The location of geophysical anomalies, caused by buried features, reveals a regularized row layout to the site. The results are supported by those of archaeological surveys.
112-121 52
Abstract
This article provides an overview of recent scholarship dedicated to the legacy of the Russian scientist and traveler Nicolai Miklouho-Maclay. The fi rst part deals with the so-called “classic” approach of the second half of the 20th century, which tended towards a mythologized and idealized portrait of Miklouho-Maclay, as evidenced by the publications of D. Tumarkin and by the second edition of the Complete Works of N.N. Miklouho-Maclay, published in the 1990s. The second part addresses articles published during the 1990s and 2000s that have sought to “demythologize” and reevaluate standard perspectives on Miklouho-Maclay. Some authors, rather than overestimating his achievements, tend to understate the impact of his work. The third part deals with Englishlanguage articles about Miklouho-Maclay’s legacy. These are mostly translations of Miklouho-Maclay’s archival texts from Russian, with scholarly commentary. However, an ongoing Australian research project conducted by Chris Ballard and Elena Govor has begun a sustained program of fi eldwork with descendants of the Melanesian source communities with which Miklouho-Maclay worked, seeking new insights into his texts and especially his drawings as a form of dialogic approach to culture. We propose to study Miklouho-Maclay’s legacy using modern approaches to anthropological theory. This will hopefully result in a unifi ed image rather than separate images of an anthropologist, an artist, a humanist, etc. Also, the use of Miklouho-Maclay’s drawings in addition to his texts will be an important step toward a dialogic study of Oceanic cultures.
122-130 46
Abstract
On the basis of folklore and ethnographic data, some of which are introduced in this article, the Khakass mytho-ritual complex relating to the snake is reconstructed. It is demonstrated that these beliefs were central to the traditional Khakass worldview, and the snake was endowed with elaborate symbolic meanings. It was a sacred animal, associated with ideas of life and death. It played a key role in mystical initiation practices, including those related to shamanism, and it was perceived as a patron spirit. Among the Khakass traditional beliefs was the idea that the elect could marry snakes, which turned into beautiful girls. Such a union, short-lived as it was, brought wealth and luck. Also, the snake was associated with elements and landscape features, such as water and mountains, linked to the ideas of sacred center, fertility, and the ancestor cult, which were central in the Khakass worldview. This reptile was often believed to be a mountain spirit, a mystical patron, and donator of magical capacities. Thereby beliefs about snakes were part of Khakass folk medicine and domestic magic.
131-139 36
Abstract
This study explores the socio-tribal organization of the Nanai living near Lake Bolon, with reference to environment and migration, using published and unpublished sources, S.K. Patkanov’s statistical materials, and our field data. We employ D.N. Anuchin’s spatial distribution and variation method for reconstructing the settlement pattern and assessing the socio-tribal structure with regard to the contacts between sedentary and nomadic populations. The Lake Bolon area is a transit territory traversed by reindeer herders and hunters on their way to the Pacifi c coast, and the place from whence the Amur natives migrated in various directions. This is where the herding, hunting, and fi shing traditions merged. The Nanai settlers selected places that matched their economic specialization, and these places eventually acquired symbolic functions. Small populations merged, adapted, and borrowed the names of large territorial groups. Marital contacts and kinship ties are analyzed in detail. Social relationships were regulated by the Dokha institute: clans concluded alliances based on mutual aid. Intermarriage was allowed only after several generations. The analysis of exogamous clans such as Hodzher, Odzyal, Kileh, and Beldy, which had settled near the lake, and the interviewing of the natives suggest that along with the Tungus patrilineal kinship, the matrilineal system predating the Tungus expansion was still practiced.
140-147 44
Abstract
The author summarizes the results of his search for parallels between the Armenian epic “Sasna cṙer” (“Daredevils of Sassoun”) and the Mahābhārata. The comparative study has revealed considerable similarity in the “ethnographic substratum” of both epics, particularly that relating to the archaic social organization mirrored by the epic. The earliest layer of both the Armenian and the Indian epics retains the memory of a rural, largely pastoral society, in which an important role was played by the fraternities of young warriors. In the Armenian epic, this is indicated by recurrent motifs such as the young heroes’ rampage followed by exile, the foundation of their own outpost in the backwoods, young male warriors’ fraternities, their defense of herds, warding off enemy attacks, battle frenzy (a common characteristic of all the Sasun heroes), their immutable tutor and leader (“uncle”) Keri Toros, allusions to orgiastic feasts, premarital freedom enjoyed by boys and girls, etc. In Armenians, these motifs were supported by the existence until the recent times of age sets, described by ethnographers. The comparative study of the Armenian epic reveals its hitherto unnoticed socio-historical aspects. Its wider use for studying other epic traditions (not only Indo-European but also those of other peoples inhabiting the Caucasus and the Eurasian steppes) will contribute to the comparative epic studies.
148-157 71
Abstract
This article describes healed cranial injuries in the Altai Mountains pastoralists of the Early Iron Age, the increased prevalence of which may testify to interpersonal violence aimed rather at injuring than killing the opponent. Skulls of more than 500 adults from burials of the Pazyryk (5th to 3rd century BC) and Bulan-Koba (2nd century BC to 5th century AD) cultures have been analyzed. On the world scale, the level of nonlethal violence among the Altai Mountains pastoralists was moderate (25.5 % in males and 9.1 % in females). The frequencies, however, differ between the southern and northern Pazyryk populations (males, 35.7 % vs. 15.3 %, respectively; females, 16.7 % vs. 5.6 %) and between the early and late periods of Bulan-Koba (males, 32.7 % vs. 22.1 %; females, 10.0 % vs. 6.3 %, respectively). The high prevalence of injuries among the Pazyryk people from the high-altitude valleys of the Southeastern and Southern Altai might indicate scramble for limited resources under a harsh climate, whereas the high frequency among the early Bulan-Koba pastoralists could have resulted from an infl ow of migrants. In the Xiongnu-Sarmatian period, as compared to the Scythian period, repeated injuries became more frequent among males. Interpersonal violence among the Altai Mountains pastoralists involved mainly blows to the face, but in the Bulan-Koba males blows on the head were more random. Healed face injuries in women were likely associated with domestic violence.


ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)