Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 57, No 1 (2014)
View or download the full issue PDF (Russian)


2-17 298

Human occupation of northern Eurasia high latitudes entailed coping with severe bioclimatic circumstances and Ice Age cycle fl uctuations. Resolving this “adaptability paradox” required depending on cultural, rather than biological means. Paleolithic evidence indicates culture historical developments of considerable time depth, long-term adaptive stages and thresholds in the “peopling of the North”. It began with Lower Paleolithic populations expanding into temperate and continental Eurasia, becoming fully actualized during the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. The Middle Paleolithic Formative Stage constituted a human biogeographic realm overlapping signifi cantly with the Mammoth-Steppe-Biome faunal complex. Part I identifi es issues, “time perspectivism”, culture, foraging adaptation, and human biogeography concepts. Lower Paleolithic occurrences, initial occupation episodes are surveyed and discussed.

18-32 264

The research carried out in the Indian Subcontinent, Central Asia, Iran and the Arabian Peninsula has improved our knowledge of the Middle Paleolithic in the regions. However, the far southeastern distribution of the Levallois Mousterian is still poorly defi ned. Although typical Levallois industries are known from Iran, Afghanistan, and western Central Asia, they are almost unknown in the Indian Subcontinent, except for the Lower Sindh and Indus Valley. The evidence from Ongar and other sites in the Lower Sindh has shed some light on the possible far southeastern distribution routes of the Neanderthals that are considered the probable creators of the assemblages included in this study.

38-48 614

Until the early 2000s, the chronology of the Uralian Neolithic was based on isolated radiocarbon dates and on V.N. Chernetsov’s and O.N. Bader’s typological schemes. In 2007 we began directly dating ceramics tempered with organic substances. As a result, a long series of reliable dates was generated. A total of 212 estimates is analyzed, spanning various Neolithic cultures of the Urals. The entire period lasted from the late 7th to the late 5th millennia BC and can be tentatively subdivided into two stages, early (late 7th – late 6th millennia BC) and late (5th millennium BC). Cultural and territorial differences within these two stages are described.


49-54 287

The origins and evolution of the Late Krotovo (Cherno-ozerye) culture in the Irtysh area is described. Around 2000 BC, the autochthonous Krotovo culture proper was succeeded by the Late Krotovo stage, marked by the infl uence (initially indirect and then direct) of the Andronovo (Fedorovka) culture. The transition was mirrored by archaeological, skeletal, and paleogenetic evidence. A distinct variety of the Late Krotovo is seen in the Cherno-ozerye complex, represented by sites such as Cherno-ozerye-1 and Tartas-1.

55-65 242

The technological and use-wear analysis of petroglyphic art is based on experiments at various levels, from general to more specifi c. We formulate the objectives of future technological studies of petroglyphs in the Minusinsk Basin. We address the morphology and material of the tools, and the principal technological devices including direct and indirect piquettage. Based on experiments with local rocks and the results of use-wear analysis we establish the morphological features of traces left by metal tools and by those made on local pebbles. A new technological criterion is suggested regarding the robustness of tools with which the carvings were made. Basic technological stages in the creation of petroglyphs are reconstructed for Shalabolinskaya and Malaya Boyarskaya rock art sites.

66-80 349

The objective of this study is to correlate historical, ethnological, and archaeological sources regarding the symbolism of military power. For that purpose the status of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age burials with weapons in the Danube Basin, Caucasus, and southeastern Europe was analyzed in the context of ethnological theory. These data are discussed with reference to the typology of warfare in pre-state societies, contrasting primitive wars and later “true” wars (those involving fi ghting for spoils). Ethnological evidence demonstrates the dramatic rise of the status of military chiefs. Eventually, as fi ghting for spoils becomes more common, the chiefs rapidly rise to the height of power and acquire the right to distribute trophies. This tendency is documented by archaeological evidence, art, and mythology, indicating the developing symbolism of weaponry and military themes and testifying to the rise in the status of persons involved in warfare, specifi cally military leaders.

81-89 316

Wooden anthropomorphic sculptures found in pit-bogs east of the Ural Mountains are described. Their archaeological context, chronology, and stylistics are analyzed. The Uralian specimens are compared with those from Western and Eastern Europe. The possible meaning of these representations is reconstructed on the basis of Ob Ugrian rituals and mythology.

90-99 228

Engravings on Early Iron Age and medieval metal plaques, mirrors, and imported ceramics from the northern Urals are described in the context of local art of the period. The distribution area of such drawings is determined, and new interpretations suggested. The specimens are analyzed in terms of images, iconography, scenes, and composition. Engravings on early 2nd millennium AD silver plaques are discussed in particular. All such representations display numerous iconographic and compositional similarities and the characters depicted are the same. Parallels with ancient and medieval art of northwestern Siberia and the northern Urals are revealed, especially those with bronze sculpture.

100-106 242

Based on the comparison of large collections of 15th–18th century Russian decorative tiles from Moscow and other Russian manufacturing centers, their typology is proposed, and the technology of their manufacture is reconstructed. The production of decorative tiles began in the late 15th century, and reached its peak in the second half of the 17th century, when it spread to other towns throughout all provinces of Russia. Tiles were distributed in various ways being imported to other cities and their technologies being transferred. Carved templates used for printing were exported from Moscow, skills of fi ring, preparing glaze, etc. were taught, and artisans themselves traveled from Moscow to various other provinces.

107-114 210

Head and neck ornaments from mid-1st millennium AD nomadic (Airydash type) female burials at Ulug-Choltukh on the Edigan River (right tributary of the Katun) in Gorny Altai are described. Some women were buried with a rich set of head ornaments, which included bronze and iron plates, pendants, beads, and variously sized plaques. Based on the analysis of these artifacts the decoration of shawls, braids, earrings, and necklaces is reconstructed. Various ornament sets could have been worn by women of various ages.

115-122 151

Late 17th century observers mentioned having seen people sailing in kayaks past the Orkney Islands. Local people called them Finns. The question as to who those people actually were and how they could possibly have reached northern Scotland has been raised more than once. The kayakers were believed to be either Sami, Eskimos or Sikhirtya – the legendary predecessors of the Nenets on the northern coast of Russia. The objective of this article is to analyze the sources available and describe possible approaches to elucidating the issue.

123-129 217

Based on archival and fi eld data, the early history of the largest eastern Siberian village, Bichura, is reconstructed. Initial colonization, the life of the pioneers, and their relations with the natives are described. The growth of the village population is traced over nearly two and a half centuries.


130-141 191

Three trepanned crania from 4th–3rd century BC low-ranking burials in Gorny Altai are described. The probable motives behind such operations are discussed, their effi ciency is assessed, and their techniques are reconstructed using optical macroscopic examination, computerized multi-layered tomography, X-ray fl uorescence, and mass spectrometry of bone tissue. Trepanations were apparently medical rather than ritual. Our data support the idea that the 4th–3rd century BC inhabitants of the Altai-Sayan highland had enough knowledge and skills to perform complex cranial surgery. Because the instruments used were made of tin bronze, and the Minusinsk Basin was the only place in southern Siberia where such bronze was smelted (by the Saragash people), at least two successful trepanations were probably performed by immigrants from that region.

142-150 470

The cranial series from the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) burials of the northwestern Caspian is very different from other series associated with this culture. Based on the multivariate analysis of Mesolithic, Chalcolithic, and Bronze Age groups, the population history of Eastern Europe in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age is reconstructed. Most local Pit-Grave populations and those of the Khvalynsk and Sredni Stog cultures are shown to have descended from the Mesolithic groups of Eastern Europe. The Pit-Grave people of the northwestern Caspian clearly descended from a different population that appeared in Eastern Europe in the Neolithic.

ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)