Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 56, No 4 (2013)
View or download the full issue PDF (Russian)


2-10 229

Acheulean assemblages with a preferential use of large flakes for biface blanks are common in Africa as well as in other areas such as the Levant and India. At Campo de Calatrava (central Spain), Middle Pleistocene sites from river terrace contexts also contain bifaces made on large flakes. To gain a detailed technological knowledge of these large tools, two open-air sites (Albalá and El Sotillo) are described and compared: Albalá represents an example of a cobble-based technology; at El Sotillo, the focus is on the production of large flakes, similar to those documented in Africa, the Levant, and India.

11-20 159

A short research history of the Middle/Upper Paleolithic interface at Vindija Cave is presented. Alternative interpretations of this evidence are discussed from various perspectives (archaeological, paleoanthropological, and genetic) in the context of other continental and Mediterranean (Adriatic) sites. There are notable differences between the Middle/Upper Paleolithic at Vindija and the sites from the eastern Adriatic region. The lack of data from this transitional period in the eastern Adriatic region is discussed. These alternative interpretations and new data from recent research are relevant for the debate on the patterns of Neandertal/early modern human interactions in Central Europe and the Adriatic.

21-37 146

Based on regularly retouched tools recovered from the Early Upper Paleolithic Tolbor-4 and Tolbor-15 sites in the Khangai Mountains of northern Mongolia, we reconstruct the development of cores from large bidirectional forms for the production of elongated blades to flat unidirectional and orthogonal nuclei. Blanks also became progressively smaller, while the toolkit remained virtually unchanged. Two detectable principal technological trends include the growing proportion of tools made on flakes and the decreasing size of tools. Our analysis of lithics from these two Mongolian sites suggests cultural continuity from the initial to the final stage of the Early Upper Paleolithic.

38-49 125

Based on the stratigraphy of Paleolithic sites on the northern Angara, the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene history of the region is reconstructed. Findings of recent salvage excavations in the Boguchany flooding zone as well as the evidence of Quaternary geology, geomorphology, neotectonics, and archaeology jointly disprove the “young Angara” model proposed by G.I. Medvedev and other “geoarchaeologists.” The principal event postulated by that model – the alleged disastrous outburst of the Angara along the Baikal channel 12–7 ka BP is supported neither by the relief nor by the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene sedimentation record nor by the stratigraphy of the Paleolithic sites on the northern Angara.

50-57 202

Two cultural traditions that coexisted in the Kama region during the Early Neolithic, one termed Kama, the other, Volga-Kama, differ mainly in terms of ceramics. The former tradition is marked by the comb decoration, the latter by pricked designs. Analyses of dwellings, pottery, lithics, and chronology suggest that the two traditions are unrelated in origin. Overlapping distribution areas, similar forms of dwellings and artifacts indicate contemporaneity and a common economic specialization.

58-64 240

Based on various criteria (association with landscape features and topography of the sites, raw materials, size, use-wear marks, context, etc.) stones with grooves of standard size made from fireproof materials are considered tools for straightening reed arrow and dart shafts under heating. The interpretation suggested by R.L. and R.S. Soleckis is thereby supported.

65-72 158

The Tytkesken VI settlement is one of the key sites of the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Bronze Age in Gorny Altai. In 2006, over 1500 sq. m of the site area were excavated and as a result, abundant ceramic and lithic artifacts of the Middle and Late Neolithic were found. The Middle Neolithic ceramics from Tytkesken VI parallel with synchronous and later vessels from Tytkesken II as well as those from the Afanasyevo burials at Kuyum and Ulagan, Gorny Altai. The Middle Neolithic ceramics from Tytkesken II and VI are dissimilar to those from synchronous sites in Western Siberia while paralleling the Neolithic Atbasar pottery from Kazakhstan and the Kelteminar pottery from Western Central Asia. The ceramics from Tytkesken VI horizon 3A suggests that the Middle Neolithic tradition of that area originated from the local Early Neolithic tradition with some influence from Western Central Asia or eastern Kazakhstan.

73-83 131

A microscopic, traceological, and experimental analysis of 357 samples of ceramics from 27 Neolithic (5th–4th millennia BC uncalibrated) sites on the Upper, Middle, and Lower Kama was conducted using the methods proposed by A.A. Bobrinsky along with his physical modeling technique. The emergence of pottery production in the Volga–Kama region is discussed, and the specificity of the Kama tradition is described. Ceramic indicators of cultural admixture are introduced.

84-101 278

An Early and Middle Bronze Age multicomponent burial ground at Ordynskoye-1 is described and interpreted with special reference to the chronology and cultural affinities of the two principal components – Krotovo and Yelunino.


102-118 274

A Xiongnu elite burial mound 22 at Suzukteh, Mongolia, excavated in 2012, is described. Because the wood was exceptionally well preserved, the construction of the burial chamber and coffin can be assessed in detail and, because the mound was excavated by hand, the burial rite can be comprehensively reconstructed. In terms of funerary ritualism this burial does not differ from those previously excavated in Mongolia or Siberia east of Lake Baikal, and demonstrates that the nomadic elite adhered to Chinese traditions. By the beginning of the Common Era, the Xiongnu, apparently with the assistance of the Han people, built rather sophisticated funerary structures. A unique assemblage of artifacts made from organic materials includes Chinese and European silk and wool fabrics, lacquerware, wooden vessels, and highly artistic silver and gold objects.

119-122 180

Metal plates, which probably decorated wooden vessels from Afanasyevo burials, are described. The plates bear punched designs and were clearly related to female symbolism, implying that they were probably used for ritual purposes. Their expansive distribution area from the lower Katun in Gorny Altai to the middle Yenisei in Khakassia points to the similarity between the two local variants of the Afanasyevo culture across the Altai-Sayan region. These vessels might have marked the high social status of the women in whose graves they were placed.

123-128 151

This article provides a description and preliminary interpretation of a unique discovery from a previously unknown burial ground in the Konda River basin (Sovetsky Region of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District–Yugra); the discovery represents a silver plaque from the 9th–10th century. The plaque has a fragment missing that bears the representation of the head (and presumably the face) of a male figure. This suggests that the missing fragments’ exclusion from burial was intentional and that the missing fragment was subsequently used to produce a figure of the deceased as a receptacle for his soul. An appendix to this article contains the results of traceological analysis for the plaque’s fragmentation during burial ritual.

129-133 147

On the basis of its technological and stylistic features, a new find of oriental silverware from the Konda River is identified as a work of the Ural-Siberian circle and dated to the 9th–10th centuries. Its scene of gender violence is interpreted using the parallel text of the “Sabha Parva,” which describes the sufferings of Draupadi, Queen of Pandavas, and the actions of Duhshasana who won her in a game of dice. The urban culture of the pre-Arabian Sogd connects the Indian source with the Turkic environment of the Ural region. Here knowledge of the story from the “Sabha Parva” had not yet been recorded but nonetheless existed judging from scenes from the “Virata Parva” which appears among the monumental paintings of Penjikent. 

134-145 315

Human burials at Basandaika Kurgan 1, Western Siberia, accompanied by bones of dismembered horses, are revisited. A closer examination of the archeological assemblage and archival data has revealed new artifacts, contributing to a reconstruction of the burial rite which included placing parts of the body of a riding horse into the grave. Two versions are discussed, proceeding from the idea that the rite derives from the practice of burying an entire horse. Parallels in other regions are examined, and routes whereby the rite could have been introduced to the southern taiga zone of Western Siberia are traced. Future studies will include taphonomic field analysis along with zoological, pedological, and traceological evidence.


146-154 164

Age-related changes in hand bones were studied in adult urban dwellers of Eastern Europe (Lithuania, Komi, and Moscow), and in first- and second- generation migrants from European countries to Israel, compared with the indigenous population of the Middle East. The total sample size was 1828. Signs of aging in the shape and structure of hand bones were assessed with x-rays using the OSSEO method. The results indicate a moderate level of adaptation discomfort, which is more pronounced in oilfield workers in Ukhta and in Moscow females. The aging of skeletal bones was more rapid in the migrant Israeli population of Kfar Saba than in the indigenous population of the Middle East. The results of the osseographic analysis support the hypothesis of adaptive stress in modern urban and migrant populations.

ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)