Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 55, No 3 (2013)
View or download the full issue PDF (Russian)


2-13 102

The Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in the Middle Danube area is characterized by the presence of two transitional technocomplexes, the Bohunician and the Szeletian, together with the early appearance of the Aurignacian.  The Bohunician lacks a local predecessor and seems to be intrusive to the area.  Both the Bohunician typology and technology combine Middle and the Upper Paleolithic components.  Although the Bohunician sites are mostly concentrated within the Brno basin, collections with characteristic traces of Bohunician technology have been documented during the same interval in surrounding areas, as well as far to the south and east. A preliminary comparison of the sites indicates a high degree of similarity among assemblages and may represent the same expansion event hypothetically associated with anatomically modern humans.

14-21 80

This study presents analyses of a unique assemblage of lithic artifacts, 57 large flakes, discovered in the Ikh Tulberiin Gol River valley of Northern Mongolia. The assemblage represents the first Paleolithic cache ever discovered in Mongolia and is an isolated find, not directly associated with a habitation or logistic activity site. Results of use-wear analysis suggest most of the flakes were unused, with only a few minimally used for processing wood. GIS analyses of the local landscape indicate that the placement of the artifacts was likely symbolic, rather than utilitarian or for storage, lying in an east-west linear viewshed of the primary mountain pass to an adjacent river basin. Based on the context of the discovery as an isolated find and technical-typological features of the artifacts, the assemblage is interpreted as a cache of tool blanks that was purposefully and symbolically positioned on the landscape relative to the primary mountain pass by Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. 

22-32 118

Upper Paleolithic musical instruments and the criteria whereby they may be distinguished have not received enough attention in Russian archaeology. A considerable number of presumed musical instruments have been found in Eurasia. The examination of such artifacts from Mesin has revealed modifications by humans that clearly indicate musical function. In terms of modern classification, they might be untuned percussion instruments of both resonator and nonresonator types.

33-39 67

Principal stages in the manufacture of zoomorphic, polyiconic, and anthropomorphic Upper Paleolithic figurines are reconstructed. General factors determining their characteristics include universal conventions of representation and the limited set of technological operations available, whereas local factors include specific ways of processing materials and combining artistic techniques, the manner of individual masters, technological faults and accidents, as well as taphonomic processes.

40-47 140

Geoinformation technologies are applied to an analysis of the living environments of Paleolithic people, using a territory along the route of a future gas pipeline planned for construction in the Altai Mountains as an example. GIS modeling of a paleoenvironment is based on the notion of a paleolandscape’s geological and morphological framework. The SRTM digital model of terrain, and geological maps of scale 1: 200,000 were used. The main factors that control localization of sites have been selected: the presence of fiat, even grounds suitable for settlement; proximity to sources of raw materials; good conditions for sun exposure; and water availability across the territory. Verification of known Paleolithic sites showed the adequacy of GIS-modeling and its suitability in the optimal search for new sites.

48-58 108

Despite the fact that Europe and Eastern North America both have similar woodland environments, the emergence of agriculture in these areas proceeded very differently varying in timing, speed, and mechanism. To analyze the different subsistence paths the Global Land Use and Technological Evolution Simulator was used, a numerical model for simulating demography, innovation, domestication, migration and trade within the geoenvironmental context. I demonstrate how Europe receives a large package of foreign domesticates and converts rapidly. In contrast, trajectories relating to Eastern North America exhibit a gradual transition in which hunting and gathering and agropastoralism coexist for a long period of time, and agriculture is integrated slowly into the existing subsistence scheme. I deduce from this a qualitative economic difference in the two regional transitions: limited population size in Europe, limited resources in Eastern North America.


59-67 152

Intramural child burials are rare in Bronze Age settlements of the Southern Urals. The study addresses this type of burial at sites associated with the Sintashta and Petrovka traditions. Their analysis generates two interpretations: one related to fertility and ancestor worship, the other to family relationships and the mentality of the people living in the Bronze Age.

68-80 61

Clay plates with stylized representations of birds found at Section VI of the Gorbunovo Peat Bog (Trans-Urals) in 1926 and 2009 are described here with regard to technology, typology, function, and age. Similarities with Suzgun and Late Cherkaskul artifacts (13th – 12th centuries BC) point to the date of the plates. Suzgun sanctuaries and Andronovo burial sites suggest that the site with which the plates are associated might be either ritual or memorial. 

81-86 105

The article addresses the topic of composite bows from nomadic sites in Tien Shan and Zhetysu. Horn plates from bows discovered in 2008–2009 at Uch-Kurbu on the Tosor River, the Issyk-Kul Depression (Kyrgyzstan), are described and analyzed. The original design of the wooden core of the bow and the location of horn plates thereon are reconstructed. Based on our earlier classification of weapons, these are composite bows of the Xiongnu-Xianbei period. Two subtypes are identified, based on the design of plates at the ends of the bow. Evidently, composite bows with end, medio-lateral, and medio-frontal plates were the most efficient range weapon of the period.

87-96 159

This study presents the results of geoarcheological research carried out at 19 copper ore sites belonging to the Mugodzhary mining and metallurgical center. Four types of copper ores differing in geological setting, body structure, reserve grade as well as mineral and chemical composition, were mined at the center. The geographic coordinates and the main parameters of mines (morphology, quarry size, and ore body) are specified along with the scope of their development. A detailed description is given of the eight most typical Bronze Age mines. The age of individual mines is also determined. The total quantity of ore mined from the ore fields included in the study is estimated at 55,000 tons, which may have produced as much as 1750 tons of copper.

97-106 76

The article focuses on foreign elements in the traditional cultures of northwestern Siberia. The sources of this study are silver and copper saucers mostly bearing representations of hunting scenes, which were manufactured by Russian craftsmen in the 18th–19th centuries for the needs of alien ethnic groups. Ways in which the saucers were used in Ob Ugrian rituals are described along with the specific features and attributions of these objects. The use of Russian metal dishware is viewed in the context of the long cultural tradition of using metal vessels, made in other ethnic environments (Iran, western Central Asia, Volga Bulgaria, Kama region, etc.) as well as in the religious and ritual practices of the Khanty and Mansi.

107-111 126

The article describes the traditional spring festival of Akaska celebrated by the Southern Udmurts. The content and form of the festival indicate that some elements were borrowed from the Turkic world. While some borrowed elements have their counterparts in the ritual practices of the Turkic-speaking peoples of the Middle Volga region and the Urals, the sources of other borrowed elements can be found in the Turko-Mongolian environment of southern Siberia and the Altai.

112-119 120

The influence of the Iranian culture on Eastern Europe is undisputable. Scholars write of the Southern-Iranian road which stretched from the south, from the Parthians, Persia, and the Transcaucasia, to the north Iranian way through Khwarezm and as far as the Volga. The extent of the Iranian influence on the tribes populating southern Siberia prior to the Common Era however, is much less clear. It is believed that the Savirs/Suvars were the ancestors of the Chuvash. Although this theory has not yet been proven fully, it has served as a theme for historical and philological research. Drawing on geographic, religious, and linguistic materials this study attempts to trace the relationship between Iranian tribes and the Savir ancestors of the Chuvash.


120-125 62

In 2010, the complete mitochondrial genome of a fossil hominin from Denisova Cave, Altai was sequenced on the basis of mtDNA extracted from the hand phalanx of a girl. Modern micro tomographic techniques mark a new stage in the morphological study of extant and fossil hominins, offering opportunities to work with fragmentary material. We have used the nondestructive method of micro computerized tomography for a comparative histological assessment of the Denisova girl’s biological age. The diaphyseal and metaphyseal parts of the phalanx, reflecting different ontogenetic stages, were undergoing rapid growth. The histological pattern of the walls of the diaphysis, specifically the lamellar structure with rare osteons, indicates a stage corresponding to 6–7 years in modern children. An altogether different pattern, resembling that of adults, was earlier observed in a Neanderthal child from Okladnikov Cave, Altai. The resemblance between the Denisova individual and extant humans in certain features of growth and skeletal maturation may point to the very early origin of the modern skeletal growth pattern. The Neanderthal pattern is quite distinct and may have originated after these hominins had branched off from the common stem.

126-131 72

The Mid Upper Paleolithic immature Sunghir 2 and 3 skeletal remains exhibit non-closure and doubling of several of their cervical vertebral foramina transversaria. Both exhibit non-closure of the atlas (C1) foramina. Sunghir 3 also exhibits foraminal non-closure in her C4 to C5. Sunghir 2 has doubling of the foramen on C4 and C6, whereas Sunghir 3 has it on C4 to C6. The anatomical distribution of these variants places Sunghir 2 and 3 at the limits of recent human cervical vertebral morphological variation. The correspondence between these variants and vascular pathways is unclear, and therefore their implications remain uncertain.

132-139 53

Dental features of the Late Bronze Age Irmen population of Western Siberia (14th–10th centuries BC) were studied on the basis of cranio-dental remains from 23 cemeteries in the Kuznetsk Basin, Baraba forest-steppe, the forest-steppe zone of the Altai, Tomsk and Novosibirsk areas of the Ob basin. The results suggest that the Irmen people originated in the Novosibirsk and Baraba areas from a mixture of Andronovo (Fedorovka) and autochthonous groups. Dental data are inconsistent with the idea that the Karasuk tribes might have taken part in this process. The Karasuk people clearly descended from the Okunevo people, as evidenced by the elevated frequencies of the Carabelli cusp and deflecting wrinkle. None of these traits is present in the Irmen people, who display dental gracility evidently introduced by Andronovo (Fedorovka) tribes.

140-150 137

Published data on the paleopathology of Siberian populations are scarce. However, two samples of adult and non-adult skeletons taken from excavations at the Pokrovskiy (17th–18th centuries) and Voskresensko-Preobrazhenskiy (17th–early 20th century) cemeteries in Krasnoyarsk (123 and 204; 101 and 81, respectively) revealed cases of rickets, tuberculosis, and congenital syphilis in children, and vertebral tuberculosis and tertiary syphilis in adults. Trauma areas included ribs, hands, forearms, and tibiae. These two samples provide evidence on which to base an assessment of the health of the Krasnoyarsk population from 1628 to the early 1900s.

ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)