Economic activity of the early neolithic population having resided around lake Mergen as a strategy of adaptation to the environment (based on the materials of the Mergen 6 settlement)

Enshin D.N., Skochina S.N. (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


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This paper sets out to analyse the economic activity of the inhabitants of an Early Neolithic settlement on the north-eastern coast of Lake Mergen (Lower Ishim River, south of Western Siberia) with the purpose of determining specific strategies of their adaptation to natural conditions (based on the materials of the Mergen 6 settlement). The initial data for the analysis were taken from studies characterizing the climate at the beginning of the Holocene, the paleolandscape characteristics of the territory, the geomorphological position of the settlement, the composition and conditions for the formation of the archaeozoological collection and hunting/fishing gear sets. A comprehensive analysis of these sources made it possible to develop an economic model describing the functioning of the settlement. The main features of the settlement functioning model involve the location of the settlement at the intersection of the so-called feeding landscapes (forest/steppe at the macro-level, lake/river at the micro-level); a probable year-round, stationary character of the settlement; the equivalence between two main economic sectors (hunting and fishing); reliance in the economic activity on ungulate hunting and fishing; a supposedly seasonal character of hunting and fishing certain fauna species. In our opinion, this model suitably reflects adaptation strategies used by the ancient population, whose main goal was to ensure the sustainability and productivity of their economy. In addition, the conducted historiography analysis has shown that the aforementioned elements of the model were common for all ancient societies with the appropriating type of economy that resided in Eurasian forest and forest-steppe territories in the Mesolithic-Neolithic periods.


Key words: Early Neolithic, economic activity, adaptation strategy, hunting, fishing, settlement Mergen 6.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-42-3-005-018




D.N. Enshin

Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation



S.N. Skochina

Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation