Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 48, No 1 (2020)
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3-15 473

We describe the spatial context, technology, and possible function of serpentine-antigorite artifacts discovered at the Ust-Karakol Early Upper Paleolithic site in the Altai Mountains. The ornaments were made locally, with a single manufacturing process. They were fragmented either at the preform stage or at the stage of final trimming. There are no use-wear traces. The chaine operatoire included the preparation of blanks, biconical drilling, and polishing. Because the material is fragile, drilling ofpreforms preceded their polishing. This approach was also used with artifacts made of other fragile materials, such as ostrich eggshell, widely employed in the Paleolithic of North and Central Asia. Reconstructed techniques of manufacturing serpentine ornaments belong to the technological repertoire of the Early Upper Paleolithic Ust-Karakol tradition in the Altai. The petrographic analysis of magmatic rocks of the Bashchelak and Anuy mountain ranges suggests that serpentine could have been local. The potential sources include gabbroid deposits related to the Devonian and Permian magmatism of the region.

16-28 1262

This study describes a part of the Paleolithic bone industry of Denisova Cave—the site that is key for understanding a complex interaction between various groups of early humans and the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. The Initial Upper Paleolithic layers of the cave yielded fossil remains of Denisovans, and the earliest ornaments and bone tools in North and Central Asia. The principal objective of this study is to analyze unshaped bone tools from the Late Middle and Initial Upper Paleolithic from the East Chamber of the cave. Among more than I0 thousand bone fragments, subdivided into three groups in terms of taphonomic, technical, and utilization traces, 5I specimens were selected for study. On the basis of location of use-wear traces that varied according to function, unshaped bone tools such as retouchers, awls, intermediate tools, and knives were revealed for the first time in Denisova Cave. The results of the morphological and use-wear analysis suggest that those tools were used for processing organic materials such as leather, plantfibers, and wood. Unshaped tools indicate a developed industry that preceded, or was contemporaneous with, the formal types of tools—polished points and eyed needles.

29-40 186

This article highlights the results of comprehensive studies at Sartan cave and open-air sites (MIS 2) in the northwestern Altai. Their stratigraphic profiles include loam layers, often with geest. Absolute dates are discussed, as well as the relative stratigraphic position of lithological layers within profiles of stratified Pleistocene sites, using available paleoenvironmental data. The Sartan sites of the region are base-camps with a complete sequence of raw material reduction. Such a combination of base-camp and workshop features indicates the proximity of raw material sources. The main hunting targets were animals inhabiting mosaic landscapes. Sites correlated with various stages of the Sartan glaciation have yielded stone and bone assemblages of the final stage of the regional Upper Paleolithic. Petrographic characteristics of lithic assemblages and sources of raw material are evaluated. Typological and technological properties of industries are listed. The Late Upper Paleolithic of southern Siberia reveals a combination of Upper and Middle Paleolithic features, evidencing cultural conservatism. These industries are rather similar to those of central, southeastern, and northeastern Altai and to contemporaneous industries of southern Siberia.

41-51 321

This article outlines the findings from excavations at the Ushki sites (four multi-layered and one single-layered), near Lake Bolshoye Ushkovskoye, on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The sites were discovered and excavated by N.N. Dikov and M.A. Dikova in 1961-1990. Multidisciplinary studies conducted at Ushki V in 2004-2011 by Northeastern State University extended our knowledge of the Late Pleistocene and Holocene peopling of the peninsula. Information about the chronology of the site and the technological and typological characteristics of lithics are provided. The results suggest that the habitation history of the sites included at least eight stages. Each one is described, and their absolute dates are provided: early stage of the Paleolithic to Neolithic transition (~13,320-12,022 cal BP), late stage of the Paleolithic to Neolithic transition (12,225-10,131 cal BP), Initial Neolithic (~8608-8297 cal BP), Early Neolithic (~6679-4406 cal BP), Middle Neolithic (~2809-1516 cal BP), Late Neolithic (~1059-996 cal BP, or 960-1020 AD), First Old Itelmen Period (~806-597 cal BP, or 1200-1400 AD), and Second Old Itelmen Period (~564-55 cal BP, or 1650-1700 AD). Lithics from the first habitation stage are bifacial arrowheads and stemmed projectile points, those of the second stage are tools on microblades, made with the Yubetsu technique. In the Initial Neolithic, tools on blades appear, inserts become common, and, possibly, dogs begin to be bred as draft animals. The distinctive traits of the Early Neolithic are pottery, prismatic and conical cores, and projectile points and burins on blades. The Tarya culture of the Middle and Late Neolithic is marked by trihedral arrowheads and wooden vessels; crude unifacial adzes give way to polished ones, and labrets appear. The seventh and eighth stages represent the Old Itelmen culture. The findings suggest that the earliest inhabitants of Ushki played an important role in the migratory processes connecting Northeast and Southeast Asia with northwestern America. On the basis of more accurate dates, a new nomenclature for stages 1-4 of Ushki is proposed.

52-60 285

Archaeological excavations in the flood zone of the Boguchany hydroelectric plant in 2007-20I2 have resulted in importantfindings relevant to the study ofprehistoric fishing in the northern Angara basin, and to the chronology of its initial stages. Evidence offishing was recorded at the Early Holocene layers of Ostrov Listvenichny (points I and 2), Ust-Yodarma II, Ust-Keul I, Ust-Igirma, Ust-Kova I, and Vorobyevo. Such evidence is scarce at the latter three sites, but is more abundant elsewhere, providing an opportunity to assess the role of fishing in the subsistence strategy of the northern Angara foragers. The sites on which this study focuses are located on the Bratsk-Ilim stretch of the Angara River, from the former mouth of the Ilim to the mouth of the Kata (two sites are in the lower stretches of the Angara tributaries, and two on an island). Composition analysis of the ichthyofauna has revealed two fishing strategies, apparently related to seasonality. The first consisted in harpooning sturgeon during the pre-winter time. The second strategy was to procure burbot and pike in spring and summer by hook-and-line fishing and by setting traps. We hypothesize that these strategies evidence seasonal changes in the composition of foraging groups.


61-71 199

We describe smelting furnaces found in southwestern Siberia, at the Tartas-1 ritual site, representing the eastern variant of the Pakhomovskaya culture. This is so far the only known site where the ritual complex, which includes post holes, and utility and ritual pits, adjoins a special manufacturing area with furnaces for smelting copper ore and processing bronze. The pits, differing in form, depth, and size, belonged to a structure. Furnaces are of two types: deep ones, dug into virgin soil, and shallow ones with domes. The former were destined for smelting ore, and the latter for processing metal. The construction of both types is described in detail. The smelting furnaces are peculiar and have no direct parallels in the Late Bronze Age settlements and sanctuaries of southwestern Siberia, while being somewhat similar to smelting furnaces of the Early Iron Age Itkul culture of the Trans-Urals. Furnaces of the second type resemble those of the local Late Irmen culture. Apparently, in the Baraba forest-steppe, where no copper ore outcrops are available, the ritual complexes included furnaces destined for both smelting ore and processing metal. The bronze metallurgy in the region may have been introduced by immigrants practicing both copper ore smelting and metal processing.

72-80 177

This study introduces a new southern Siberian rock art site, situated on the Unyuk Mountain, in the Minusinsk Basin, and studied in 20I6-20I7. Stylistically, the main petroglyphs date to the Late Bronze Age, i.e. late 2nd to early 1st millennia BC. Of special interest are images of oxen with ropesfixed in their noses. Such petroglyphs are rare in that region. In one case, the ox is tied to a pillar; in the other case, a man leads it. The composition consisting of a man and an ox walking in one direction is repeated thrice. All the known petroglyphic images of a man holding a rope attached to an ox’s nose were found on the right bank of the Yenisei. This may be due to the cultural and economic specificity of the southeastern, forest-steppe part of the Minusinsk Basin. At the same time, these images may be a local variant of the composition “man walking with an ox”, which occurs mainly in more southerly areas of the Altai-Sayan. Another rare petroglyph found on the Unyuk Mountain shows a pillar with a triple top. Its parallels, found at other petroglyphic sites in the Minusinsk Basin, are described. They may refer either to everyday practice or to beliefs about the dead person’s travel to the nether world.

81-90 138

This article introduces 16 bronze weapons and horse harness items representing the Tagar culture (a dagger, ten knives, bits, a cheekpiece, an axe, a celt, and a mirror) from the Minusinsk Region, collected by G.N. Prozritelev in the early 1900s. The objective of this study is to describe them and to assess their chronology. The dagger and the three knives exemplify the animal style of500-300 BC. The cross-guard of the dagger is shaped like two oppositely facing bird heads separated by a spiral scroll. The pommels of the knives are decorated with figurines of a standing ram, a standing donkey, a ring, a roll, a drop-shaped slit, etc. The handles of two knives are decorated with a band consisting of oblique hatches, two rows of triangles, and a hoof sign. Based on the data, certain artifacts (the dagger, the knives, the cheekpiece, and the mirror) date to 600-300 BC. The axe, the celt, the bits, and possibly a massive knife with a bird’s head at the junction of the handle and blade may date to 700-500 (possibly even 800-500) BC. A considerable scatter of dates suggests that the artifacts come from different sites. They may have been part of a single hoard whose separate items span a chronological range between 700 or even 800 to 400 BC.

91-100 150

This article introduces a Pazyryk kurgan, unearthed at Khankarinsky Dol, in the northwestern Altai. On the basis of the funerary rite, burial goods, and radiocarbon analysis, the kurgan dates to the late 6th or early 5 th centuries BC and is one of the earliest Pazyryk kurgans in this area known to date. A detailed description of artifacts is provided, including a bimetallic dagger, bronze hairpins, a quiver hook, a mirror, a belt buckle, a slotted clip, a knife, and a torc lined with foil. Special attention is paid to the details of a horse harness, which include bronze bits, two bone plaques, cheek-pieces, four strap distributors, a shackle, two clasps, and a bone girth buckle. The analysis of zoomorphic images on cheek-pieces suggests that the images of a wolf and a short-snouted feline carnivore are interchangeable in Scythian-Saka art. Evidently, the distinction between them mattered less for the nomads than did the fact that the animal was a carnivore. The reconstruction of the early Pazyryk horse harness is proposed. The burial rite and the burial goods indicate a high social status of those buried.

101-109 177

The triquetra sign is comparatively rare in early nomadic cultures. It occurs mostly in the steppe area east of the southern Urals, specifically on petroglyphs, metal details on horse harness, bronze mirrors, metal plaques, and felted items. This article describes a series of triquetra signs from kurgans 1 and 4 at Filippovka I, representing the culture of the early nomadic elite of the southern Urals. The burials in which they were found have a “royal” status. Finds include gold onlays of wooden vessels in triquetra shapes, 20 gold argali figurines, and a horse-shaped handle of a vessel. The thighs of animals are marked with triquetras. Of particular interest is an iron sword with a gold-inlaid blade, showing scenes with humans and animals. The triquetra ornament occurs thrice in these inlays. Analysis suggests that the scenes are from Iranian mythology, and that the triquetra marks the *Hvarnah (farn). Similar scenes are found on Sasanian silver dishes, featuring Iranian kings who receive *Hvarnah. The fact that triquetra signs in Filippovka I occur only in “royal” kurgans, and that all of them are made of gold or mark the items made of gold indicates their connection with the symbolism, the use of which was the prerogative of the topranking nomadic elite of the southern Urals.

110-119 195

This article deals with the functional attribution of Early Iron Age woodworking tools from the Altai and adjacent areas. Finds come from burials, settlements, and hoards; some are random. The attribution was based on the analysis of traces left by tools on the surfaces ofwooden items. The methods were both traditional and special (use-wear, typological, and experimental), enabling one to reconstruct the function of the tool, manufacturing technique, organization of the manufacturing process, technology, and, to some extent, skill. The totality of data suggests that tools were of several types: metal ones used for chopping (celts, axes, and adzes), wooden ones used for striking (hammers, mallets, and mauls), universal cutting and shaving tools (knives of various sizes and profiles), striking and cutting combined tools (chisels), cutting and boring tools (flat drills, reamers, and awls). Results of use-wear analysis in terms of operations (chopping, shaving, and cleavage) suggest that since the Early Bronze Age, three types of processing surfaces with chopping tools have been used: butting, cutting with the grain, and cutting across the grain. Factors affecting efficiency and accuracy of woodworking are discussed.

120-128 132

This article outlines the findings of interdisciplinary studies at the three largest medieval fortified settlements (9th-13th centuries AD) on the middle Cheptsa River, northern Udmurtia: Soldyr I Idnakar, Kushman Uchkakar, and Gordino I Guryakar To assess the general trends and characteristic features of their structure and planning, a geophysical survey was carried out, using electrical and magnetic prospecting methods. By correlating geophysical anomalies with excavation findings, two interrelated tasks were completed: reconstructing past events on the basis of archaeological evidence, and assessing the reliability of the geophysical findings. Previously unknown defense lines were revealed at all the sites. Inner layout was virtually linear. Settlement areas (residential, household, and production) were identified. Despite external similarity, the three sites show significant differences in structural and developmental trends. Specifically, at Idnakar and Guryakar, the “annexed” territory protected by a new line of fortifications was used as a household and production periphery. At Uchkakar, this territory was used mainly for residential and household activities, whereas the household and production zone was outside the enclosure. Another distinction of Uchkakar is that the promontory did not reveal the residential, household, or production development zone traditional for Cheptsa settlements. At Guryakar, in contrast to two other sites, an in-depth fortification system was revealed, but no annexed areas.

129-139 280

This study discusses the origin and dispersal of the Oriental agile horse, using a range of data—historical, faunal, genetic, and iconographic. It focuses on the Akhal-Teke horses as the model breed of the Oriental horse. Their unambiguous ancestors were horses ridden by the Pazyryk chieftains (400-200 BC). Findings about the Oriental horses, based on the analysis of the Akhal-Teke and Pazyryk breeds, are compared with osteological and iconographic data relating to horses from adjacent territories. This paper looks at horse breeding in Iran and at the Nisaean breed— the earliest one mentioned in written sources. Using the criteria outlined by the prominent Russian horse expert W.O. Witt, the exterior of the Oriental horse is described, and its homeland and dispersal across the neighboring areas are reconstructed. The likely homeland was Central Asia from the Caspian coast to Fergana, and the time of origin is between the beginning of horse riding and military campaigns. The Oriental horse was possibly an outcome of a cross between the domesticated horse from the Middle Volga and the tarpan of the Eurasian or Asian steppes.


140-148 140

This article highlights regional specifics in the traditional clothing of Ukrainian and Belarusian settlers in Primorye in the late 19th to early 20th century. It is based on ethnographic collections owned by the Arseniev State Museum of Primorye, on archives of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East, and on field data. Publications by Siberian researchers have made it possible to reveal parallels in the transformations of the traditional clothing in areas colonized by the Eastern Slavs. In this article, separate items are described and analyzed— male and female undergarments (shirts), female waist clothing (plakhta), skirts (spidnitsa), dresses with bodices (sayan), aprons, male trousers (porty), female sleeveless jackets (kirsetka), outer garments (svitka, yupka), belts, male and female headwear, and footwear (lapti, ichigi). In terms of cloth, design, decoration, manufacturing techniques, there are regional differences related to the settlers ’provenance (natives of the Chernigov, Poltava, Kiev, Mogilev, Grodno, and Minsk governorates). Adaptation to new environments is analyzed (for instance, woolen outer garments, such as svitki, were abandoned because of poor acclimatization of sheep). Socio-economic and ethno-cultural transformations caused complex changes in technology, design, and ways the outfits were worn. Eventually, traditional clothing was replaced by that of the urban type.


149-157 141

This study describes artifacts and human remains from the Pucara de Tilcara fortress, in the Province of Jujuy, Argentina, acquired by MAE RAN from the Ethnographic Museum in Buenos Aires in 1910 under the Russian-Argentinian exchange project. Unearthed in 1908-1910, many cultural and skeletal finds were shipped to American, European, and Asian museums. Later, scholars were unable to study the site in detail. The re-examination of those materials is all the more important because the habitation layers were destroyed in 1935 during the construction of the monument to the Pucara de Tilcara’s discoverers. The study of isolated parts of the collection and their typological analysis make it possible to narrow the date of the site and to assess certain aspects of technology. We examined archival sources owned by MAE RAN, SPbF ARAN, and the Juan B. Ambrosetti Ethnographic Museum. The comparative typological approach was used as well. In this article, we provide the first results of the attribution of artifacts, their typological classification, and a brief description of cranial finds. An important part of the study is the reconstruction of the occupations and knowledge system of those who lived at Pucara de Tilcara.

ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)