Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia

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Vol 59, No 3 (2014)
View or download the full issue PDF (Russian)


2-13 169

We present a detailed zooarchaeological and taphonomic study of Bondi Cave, western Georgia, containing Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic levels. The faunal assemblages are dominated by Caucasian tur (Capra caucasica) and European bison (Bison cf. bonasus). High proportions of specimens bearing cut marks and percussion marks indicate that human activity was the main depositional agent. Carcass transport was selective according to the animal’s size. Assemblage characteristics suggest short occupations of the cave by mobile Upper Paleolithic foragers. The general composition of the fauna probably re ects a more open setting for the Upper Paleolithic human occupations in this region, compared to the Holocene.

14-20 239

The study addresses the implementation of the project “A Virtual Model of Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains” generating a 3D model of the cave and pinpointing certain key  nds. The project includes the elaboration of software for interactive visualization in the virtual space of the cave. Apart from information about this unique site, the model is aimed at solving certain research problems. This is the  rst Russian attempt to create a virtual 3D model of a cave site.

21-28 168

For over 9000 years, seals were a major food source for many groups of foragers living in the Lake Baikal region of Eastern Siberia, as evidenced by the frequency of seal bones in the Holocene sites of that area. This article introduces new representations of seals and summarizes previously known seal depictions. Seal images were rather common in rock art and portable sculpture. Also, Neolithic and Bronze Age foragers used seal bones in manufacturing implements and ornaments and placed parts of seal carcasses in burials. From the Iron Age on, seals featured in pastoralist sacri cial rites, along with other animals.


29-45 131


The study focuses on the burial rite of the eastern variant of the Pakhomovskaya culture, exemplifed by the Stary Sad burial ground in the Baraba forest-steppe. The eastern Pakhomovskaya people arranged their mortuary space in various ways including ditches, pits, bonfres, and other features, which differ in number and shape within mounds. The mound was the key element of the rite. Unlike Pakhomovskaya people living in the Tobol-Ishim interfluve, those of Baraba did not practice reburial. This might be due to the mixture of various traditions, with the eastern Pakhomovskaya groups borrowing several elements of the burial rite from the natives of Baraba while preserving the basic features of their own tradition.

46-54 156

The article presents a description and analysis of harness cheek-pieces, fragments of which were recovered from the Bronze Age layer at the Kamenny Ambar settlement. The stratigraphic position of the artifacts is discussed along with data regarding typological, use-wear, and function analyses. One cheek-piece is attributed to the Sintashta and the other to the Petrovka cultural tradition. The chronological position of these finds is established, and the process of their manufacture and use reconstructed.

55-65 246

A composite image of a “hoofed carnivore,” carved on a horn spoon from an early nomadic burial at Sara, Orenburg Province, is described. It combines the features of an ungulate and a carnivore – an open mouth with large canines and hoofed legs. Two interpretations, none of which is easy to substantiate, are discussed: either the carving represents a fantastic image or it is the artistic rendition of an actual animal – a musk deer. None of these versions is unambiguously supported by any animal images dating to the Scythian period. Nevertheless, there are reasons to believe that the image of a “hoofed carnivore” originated somewhere east of the Urals, possibly in the Altai or Tuva.

66-79 119

Results are presented of an analysis of animal bones from the late 16th–early 18th century Polui fortified settlement (excavations of 2004 and 2005). Twenty species of domestic and wild mammals, 22 species of birds, and 11 species of fish have been identified. The portion of various skeletal parts and fragmentation are assessed with regard to butchering techniques. Conclusions are drawn based on the bones of wild mammals and birds in connection with hunting practices and the functioning of the settlement as a seasonal hunting camp. Ritual practices relating to the use of animals are addressed.

80-86 132

In the absence of any scientific dates available for the chronology of the early sculptural art of the Kashmir valley, it is important to mention that this particular subject has long been a bone of contention among scholars. Many theories have been propounded regarding the dates of the early terracotta sculptures excavated over the past 100 years in the Kashmir valley. Due to the very nominal archaeological investigations that have been carried out in the Kashmir valley, these theories have never been questioned. Over the past few decades certain excavations and accidental discoveries have provided useful data on the sculptural art of the Kashmir valley. This new data has been utilized in order to present a clear picture of the chronology of the sculptural art. Moreover, literary data and previously established theories have been also taken into consideration to give a new more plausible interpretation in the light of archaeological investigations which are carried out from time to time. Hence, this paper seeks a close comparison with other excavated sites in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia revisiting, reinvestigating, and reinterpreting data in order to establish the chronology of the early sculptural art of the Kashmir valley.

87-94 212

A precious belt of the “Byzantine circle,” belonging to a representative of the local social elite was discovered in a burial of the 10th century at the Bayanovsky burial ground (Perm Territory). The belt is dated to the mid-8th century. Individual elements of similar belts have been found relatively often over large areas, including the Perm Territory, however, complete belt sets are rare. The belt shows extensive parallels with Avar and Khazar antiquities, but is distinguished by its unique decor, including the themes of the “royal” feast and lovemaking. The length of time between the production of the belt and its placement in the burial poses some questions.

95-99 120

A series of silver artifacts (ornaments, belt sets, horse equipment, and utensils) belonging to the most dynamically developing categories of the material culture of the Old Turkic period were examined using X-ray spectral analysis. The study of silver alloy compositions of various prestigious objects from representative archaeological complexes of southern Siberia (Kudyrge, Tuekta, Katanda, Bertek-34, Yustyd, and Ur-Bedary) made it possible to single out their main territorial groups: Altai, Kuznetsk, and Middle Yenisei. Four main kinds of silver alloys were identified: Ag-Cu, Ag-Cu-Su, Ag-Cu-Pb-Su, Ag-Cu-Zn. The highest silver content was found in the Old Turkic vessels of the first group. The belt decoration items and horse equipment parts demonstrate a variable alloy composition, mirroring cultural contacts between southwestern Siberian groups and those living in the adjacent regions in the second half of the 1st millennium AD.

100-105 215

This article overviews the contribution of a well known Russian archaeologist, A.D. Pryakhin, to research on the history of Russian archaeology of various periods, and shows the relationship between the topics studied by Pryakhin and his teaching activities. It is emphasized that Pryakhin both focused on the works of individual archaeologists and small-scale problems, and attempted to understand the trends in the development of the entire history of Russian archaeology. The article shows a distinctive aspect of Pryakhin’s studies – their close link with the development of specific areas of archaeological research, most clearly manifested in his books and articles on the Bronze Age of the Eurasian steppes and forest-steppes, the emergence of archaeology in the region, and the study of southeastern frontiers of the Slavic world and Old Rus.

106-116 624

The article describes the wood shaving stick cult (inau), practiced by the peoples of the continental and insular parts of the southern Far East. This cult is syncretic and variable, resulting from ethnic and cultural contacts between ethnic groups of the Pacific area. The study of inau, both archaeological and ethnographic, is relevant to an understanding of ethnic interaction in the region. 

117-127 214

This article examines the notion of sacred space among the Khakas, in particular, the sacred mountain of Yzykh Tagh. Reverence of mountains is one of the striking phenomena associated with many aspects of the spiritual life of the Khakas people. The cultural heritage of the landscape is an integral part of the entire ethnic heritage. Sacred places are important in preserving traditions and ethnic identity. The study is based on the literature, archival sources, and field materials of the authors. 

128-140 187

The article presents the results of a study into the pool of surnames used among the Chelkans, Kumandins, and Tubalars living in the northern Altai from the late 19th century until the early 21st century. The study used an isonymic approach to assess the dynamics of the genetic and demographic structure of the indigenous peoples of the region. According to the factor of isonymy, the results show a low level of relationship between the generations of various northern Altai populations. Being an indicator of complex ethnicity, the composition of modern surnames re ects the impact of various social, economic, and demographic factors and processes (primarily, migration and assimilation), which have occurred previously and which are occurring currently across the territories of the northern Altai native populations.


141-156 138

The aim of the study is to explore patterns of directional asymmetry (DA) of long bones among the ancient pastoralists of the Russian Altai. Long bones of the upper and lower limbs and clavicles were measured bilaterally in two temporally diverse skeletal samples dating to the Middle Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. Statistically significant sex and chronological differences were found in DA of the upper limb diaphyseal breadths, which are strongly influenced by mechanical factors during life. These results suggest that manual loadings were bilaterally symmetric in males, but not in females. Sexual dimorphism in the upper-limb-use asymmetry was greater in the later group than in the earlier group. Besides, the female subgroups exhibited strong DA in features evidencing biomechanical stress on the femur. Temporal differences in DA of the upper limb length are possibly due to changes in the level of environmental and/or genetic stress.

ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)