Skochina S.N., Tkachev A.A.

Eneolithic bone tools from the Oskino Boloto settlement

The present article studies the Eneolithic complex of bone tools from the Oskino Boloto settlement. This settlement is located on the territory of the subtaiga Tobol area (Yalutorovsky District, Tyumen Region), on the left bank of the first floodplain terrace of the Iset River. The Eneolithic complex is dated to the time between the early (end of the 4th beginning of the 3rd millennia B.C.) and late (first third end of the 3rd millennium B.C.) stages in the development of the Bayryk-Lybayevo culture. Given the absence of tools made of bone and horn in many settlements, which could provide additional information on the production activities of the carriers of Eneolithic cultural traditions from the subtaiga Tobol area, this study is aimed at introducing a complex of bone tools from the above-mentioned settlement into scientific circulation. The planigraphic and stratigraphic analyses of the settlement’s occupation layer indicate that the distribution of bone tools is restricted to the structure 56 and two adjacent ditches containing ceramics of the Eneolithic Era. Using typological and trace analyses, the authors determined the methods used for the production of these tools, their assortment and functional purpose. The trace analysis of bone tools from the Oskino Boloto settlement revealed that the predominant use of tools for hunting and fishing, as well as the presence of tools for processing of hides and wood, pottery making and braiding. The typological forms of bone tools from the Oskino Boloto settlement reflect almost the entire range of economic and production activities. A dagger and heads of throwing weapons constitute the most significant items of this complex. Their forms are consistent and fit into the range of similar items, characteristic of both the preceding Neolithic Era and the Eneolithic Era.

Key words: forest-steppe Tobol basin, Eneolithic, Bayryk-Lybayevo culture, ceramics, bone tools, use-wear analysis.


Korochkova O.N., Fedorova N.V.

Ural and West Siberian hoards (Bronze Age Early Iron Age): composition, context and interpretation

The present article analyses the hoards of the Bronze Age – Early Iron Age discovered in the forest-steppe and mountain-forest of the Trans-Urals, as well as the Middle and Lower Ob areas. Only three hoards dating back to the Bronze Age have been discovered: Andreevo, Prygovsky and Gladunino. By the Ural-Siberian standards, these are considerable collections consisting of metal-intensive symbolic objects (celts, knives, sickles). The hoards are grouped in the forest-steppe area, where the population of the Petrovo and Alakul cultures of the Andronovo community lived at that time (first half of the 2nd millennium BC). Conversely, hoards dating back to the Early Iron Age are localised in the taiga zone. Being characterised by a distinctive composition and definite chronological contexts, these hoards reflect profound changes in the lifestyle of Siberian aborigines caused by the widespread introduction of metal, the development of reindeer herding, new communication corridors and fur trade. The first group is represented by hoards that comprise symbolic metal items dating back to the second half of the 1st millennium BC (Azov Mountain, Karaulnaya Mountain, Lozvinsky, etc.). Sometimes they are accompanied by arms (arrowheads and chopping weapons). This group of hoards is unanimously considered to be votive in character. The hoards of the second group (from the 1st century BC to the 2nd–3rd centuries AD) are confined to the lower reaches of the Ob and Irtysh, as well as the Surgut Ob area (Istyatsk, Kazym and Gornoknyazevsk). They are characterised by the presence of bronze cauldrons or other packaging, items of long-distance import (Parthian or Bactrian silver medallions; helmets made in Central Asia; a large number of Sarmatian and even Chinese bronze mirrors, often with engraved local images). Hoards of that period, aimed at hiding presti-gious and valuable things, are seen as retrievable. Hoards belonging to the third group (3rd–8th centuries AD) can be referred to as weapon hoards (Parabel, Kholmogory, Ishim, etc.). They are localised mainly in the lower tributaries of the Ob in its middle course. They predominantly consisted of various weapons: arrowheads, spears, axes, sabres, broadswords, combat knives. In addition, bronze mirrors and plates having concentric ornaments, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic images were found in all complexes. Weapon hoards, interpreted as sacred arsenals, reflect the dominant priorities of that time (formation of the military elite; a special status of military practices) and growing military tensions caused by the struggle for control over the foraging territories and trade routes.

Key words: Ural, Western Siberia, Bronze Age, Early Iron Age, votive hoards, armory hoards, trade hoards.


Ilyushina V.V., Zach V.A., Enshin D.N., Tigeeva E.V., Kisagulov A.V.

The complex of the Maray 4 fortified settlement in the forest-steppe of Ishim area (beginning of the Early Iron Age)

The article introduces new materials from the Maray 4 fortified settlement (beginning of the Early Iron Age) into scientific circulation. This settlement, located in the forest-steppe of the Ishim area (south-west of Western Siberia), had a ring defence system including a shallow ditch and a rampart. The planigraphic and stratigraphic analyses of a 327 m2 excavation area revealed the remnants of three structures: two above-ground structures and one structure slightly dug into in the mainland. The remnants of the burnt above-ground dwelling provided the basis for reconstructing its appearance, which is in good agreement with the ethnographic analogues of such structures. The collection includes approximately 172 vessels; clay, stone and bronze tools; as well as osteological material (208 specimens of animal bones). These materials were analysed using comparative-typological and statistical methods. Six radiocarbon dates of charcoal found in the occupation layer in residential and defensive structures helped establish the chronology of the complex — 7th–5th centuries BC. The reconstructed dwelling had a post-frame construction with vertically installed posts connected by beams at the top. The space between the beams was filled with half-logs, poles or planks. The roof and walls were additionally insulated with a layer of bark (including birch bark), grass and soil, which was obtained from pits surrounding the structure. The total area of the house was approximately 30 m2, which was enough to accommodate up to eight people (at a rate of 4 m2 per person). The study of the defensive works revealed a discontinuous shallow ditch from which the soil for the structure located on a small rampart must have been taken. In form and ornamentation, the ceramic collection comprising four main morphological groups of vessels bears resemblance to the Zhuravlevo traditions and ceramics similar to that of the Baitovo culture of the Early Iron Age. Judging by the age and species composition of the paleozoological materials, cattle breeding dominated the economic activity of the inhabitants, with hunting playing a minor role. In terms of household productions, the population engaged in spinning, processing of hides and wood, ware making, as well as bronze casting. The authors expressed two points of view on the cultural affiliation of the materials from the fortified settlement in question. According to one of them, the obtained material indicates the interaction of the local late-Zhuravlevo group and the newly-arrived groups of Baitovo culture from the Tobol area. According to the other, the complex of the Maray 4 settlement is considered to have carried on Zhuravlevo traditions, which resulted in the Early Iron Age complexes (different from the Baitovo complexes of the Tobol area) forming in the forest-steppe of the Ishim area.

Key words: forest steppe Ishim basin, the settlement Maray 4, the Early Iron Age, ceramics, production activity, economy, radiocarbon dating.


Kostomarova Yu.V.

Production activity of the Maray 4 fortified settlement of the Early Iron Age in the Lower Ishim area: use-wear analysis

The present paper is aimed at studying a tool collection from the Maray 4 fortified settlement dating back to the beginning of the Early Iron Age. The settlement is located in the Lower Ishim area (Kazansky District , Tyumen Region). Its materials, which culturally belong to Zhuravlevo antiquities, date back to the 7th–5th cen-turies BC. The relevance of this work is determined by the lack of data, as well as little knowledge of the production activities of different archaeological cultures having lived on the territory in question at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. In this study, the author employs use-wear analysis, which involves examining the surface of tools and identifying their functions. For their verification, the author employed the results of experimental works on the use of tools from ware fragments in the processing of hides and wood, abrasive treatment of bronze and making pottery vessels. When studying the stone items, their technological characteristics were considered. In order to identify production sites, a functional and planigraphic analysis was used. A traceological analysis and micrographs of use-wear traces were produced using a MS-2 ZOOM microscope with a magnification range
of 10–40× and a Canon EOS-1100 camera. The use-wear analysis of the tool collection from the Maray 4 settlement allowed the data on the integrated livestock paleo-economy of the Zhuravlevo population to be supplemented. Judging by the number of tools ceramic hide scrapers stands out. They could be applied in the processing of hides and skins or ceramic ware making. These tools are established to be related to the boundaries of structure 1, whereas stone items were concentrated near structure 2. Data on to which extent Zhuravlevo population from the ancient settlement of Maray 4 was engaged in bronze casting are scarce. The development of spinning and weaving is another significant feature of the economic and production activities of the population (final stage of the Bronze Age to Iron Age transition — beginning of the Early Iron Age), which is confirmed by the tool complex from the Maray 4 settlement. The rest of the industry is represented by occasional tools. The collection of tools from the Maray 4 settlement is more typical of the beginning of the Early Iron Age in the Tobol-Ishim and Ob-Irtysh areas, which is evidenced by the late Itkul, Baitovo and Bogochanovo materials, as well as the results of radiocarbon dating for the materials from the Maray 4 settlement. In addition, this collection of tools indicates that the population of the period under study, which occupied a vast territory, had a developed integrated economy.

Key words: Lower Ishim river areas, the beginning stage of the Iron Age, the Maray 4 site, instrument of labour, the use-wear analysis, functional-planigraphics analysis.


Berlina S.V.

Dwellings of the Gorokhovo culture in the Trans-Urals

This article generalizes data on the previously studied dwellings of the Gorokhovo culture of the Early Iron Age 7th and 2th centuries BC (Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, Tyumen regions), as well as gives their description and characteristics. Following the analysis of the remnants and the features of wall construction, the author distinguishes three types of buildings: walls erected using a post-frame, «zaplot» (blind pole-and-board construction) and log stacking techniques. A number of buildings from fortified and unfortified settlements were graphically reconstructed. Post-frame dwellings constituted buildings of a rectangular shape with walls made of vertical poles connected by beams at the top. The space between the frame elements was insulated with vertical poles, half-logs, grass and soil. Dwellings with walls erected using a «zaplot» technique repeated the construction of post-frame houses; however, the space between the frame elements was insulated with horizontal logs fixed between the frame posts. The log houses had a rectangular shape; the walls and roof could have been supported by vertical posts. The roof of the houses did not depend on the wall construction and was represented by gables and hipped roofs. Three groups of buildings were identified: large elite buildings of a rectangular shape with their walls frequently being made using a «zaplot» technique; medium-sized buildings of a rectangular shape having extensions and utility rooms; as well as light-frame houses with uneven outlines. The presence of elite and ordinary buildings, stationary dwellings and temporary ones, which were probably used during cattle grazing, suggests a social stratification of the society. Due to the absence of radiocarbon dates for the majority of settlement complexes, a question was raised about the degree to which the Gorokhovo tradition of house-building affected the Sargat architecture. A hypothesis has been put forward that the influence of the Sargat population on the Gorokhovo traditions consisted in the appearance of «zaplot» dwellings with long corridors. Such structures were common for the Sargat population in both fortified and unfortified settlements during the existence of this cultural formation. Further study and age determination of the Gorokhovo complexes will allow this issue to be resolved.

Key words: Trans-Urals, Early Iron Age, Gorokhovo culture, dwellings.


Rassadnikov A.Yu.

19th-century archaeozoological materials from the excavations of Ekaterinburg

The present article analyses the bones of slaughtered animals obtained from a 19th-century residential area of Ekaterinburg in order to reconstruct the meat diet, livestock housing conditions, as well as a number of aspects associated with the daily life of citizens at that time. Most of the archaeozoological complex dates back to different periods of the 19th century. Part of the material characterises the diet of city residents at the end of the 18th century. The excavations conducted at peripheral estates and their farm buildings uncovered approximately 1.5 thousand bones of cattle and caprids, which constituted the kitchen waste generated by the citizens. When processing the osteological material, the author employed both standard archaeological methods, as well as a relatively new method for Russian archaeology the analysis of livestock bone pathologies. The bones of cattle and caprids were measured using standard methods as well. Special attention was paid to the analysis of draught-related pathologies and the bone modification changes. The article contains links to additional materials including all the obtained data: primary data; bone measurements of cattle and caprids; images of pathologies and phenotypic plasticity of bones. The study ascertained the dominant role of beef in the meat diet of Ekaterinburg residents in the 19th century. The analysis of pathologies did not reveal unsatisfactory housing conditions and hard treatment of animals. According to the analysis, osteochondrotic bone changes predominate in the domestic ungulates. Age-related deformations of leg joints in cattle constitute another large group of recorded changes. Articular surface deformities and exostoses detected in the cattle bones provides no basis for the unambiguous reconstruction of animals being used for work. The biometric analysis of cattle bones suggests the presence of oxen among livestock slaughtered for meat.

Key words: Ekaterinburg, 19th century, archaeozoology, paleopathology, articular depressions, lipping, Laesio circumscripta tali.


Spiridonov I.A.

Metal in the Eneolithic complexes of the Trans-Urals

In this study, we analysed the first metal items and metalworking evidence found on the vast territory of the mountain-forest Trans-Urals and the forest-steppe of the Tobol area. The analysis included about 50 metal artefacts from 35 archaeological sites of Ayat, Lipchinsky, Surtandy, Sosnovy Ostrov, Shapkul, Andreevo, and Kysykul cultures (4th–3rd millennia BC). Spectral and typological analyses, along with the context of the obtained material, provided the basis for reconstructing how the first metal could appear among local hunters and fishermen. The chemical composition of raw material, which is characterised by an increased content of arsenic and lead, and the typology of products, including leaf-shaped knives, for the most part, correlate with the metal of the pit culture. Attempts to reproduce the melting procedure, reconstructed from the shards having copper drops stuck to them, were noted only for the carriers of the Lipchinsky and Surtandy cultures (Shuvakish 1, Argazi 7, Malyi Lipovy 10, Surtandy 6 and 8, etc.). In this case, closer ties of the Lipchinsky and Surtandy populations with the carriers of pit traditions might have played a certain role. The absence of casting moulds and metalworking waste suggests that Ural hunters and fishermen obtained finished items from the manufacturing centres of the steppe zone. Rare ancient experiments in melting metal can be considered as attempts to copy an unfamiliar technology. First copper products could not replace stone tools. In addition, metalworking technologies did not become widespread there and were not further developed. Fundamental changes would occur only at the turn of the 3rd–2nd millennia BC, when the population of the taiga zone was drawn into the network of the West Asian (Eurasian) metallurgical province.

Key words: Mountain-forest and forest-steppe Trans-Ural, eneolith, copper, metalworking.