Stone inventory discovered at a Mesolithic site in the North of Western Siberia

Serikov Yu.. (Nizhnij Tagil, Russian Federation), Balueva Y.V., Konovalenko M.V. (Nefteyugansk, Russian Federation)


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In this article, we investigate a stone inventory from a newly-discovered Mesolithic site. This site is located by the Salym River on the territory of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. The collection of artefacts contains about 22 thousand findings, which characterize the entire cycle of stone processing from the splitting of cobbles to the production of flakes and implements. The splitting technology was aimed at making flakes from lithic cores, with 90 % of these cores being up to 3 cm in diameter. Secondary processing products (4.7 %) consist in scrapers, awls, chisels, cutters and reworked flakes. The flakes have a microlithic character, with 97.5 % of them being up to 1 cm in width. The analysis of different parts of the flakes shows that Mesolithic people preferred to use stone fragments (30.4 %) and flakes having a clipped dorsal surface (14.2 %). When creating tools, retouching was frequently used (in 72.6 % of cases). The ratio between the number of artefacts made from primary and secondary flakes equals 47.6 %. In terms of mineralogical composition, the site features over 40 types, with sandstone, shale, siliceous shale, chalcedony, flint and jasper most frequently used (in 87.4 % of cases). A distinctive feature of the site consists in its geometric microliths, archaic concave retouched burins, bifacial and pebbles depicting various zoomorphic shapes. In terms of technical and typological characteristics, the data obtained from the Bolshoi Salym 4 settlement is fully consistent with the excavation data from other Western Siberian sites. Since hundreds of Mesolithic sites, consisting of encampments, settlements, work sites, sanctuaries and graves, have been discovered in the Urals, it can be supposed that the inhabitation of the Western Siberia by Mesolithic population proceeded from the territory of the Urals towards Siberia. The inventory of stone artefacts at the Bolshoi Salym 4 Mesolithic site is the largest so far discovered in Western Siberia, thus having great importance for an understanding of how Mesolithic people came to settle the West Siberian Plain.

Key words: West Siberian plain, Mesolithic, raw materials crisis, mikrolitizatsiya, geometric microlite, curly pebble.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-43-4-005-019




Yu.. Serikov

Russian State professional-pedagogical university (Nizhniy Tagil branch)

Krasnogvardeyskaya st., 57, Nizhnij Tagil, 622031, Russian Federation


Y.V. Balueva

Research and Production Association źNorthern archaeology-1╗

Proezd 5P, 9, Nefteyugansk, 628305, Russian Federation


M.V. Konovalenko

**Research and Production Association źNorthern archaeology-1╗

Proezd 5P, 9, Nefteyugansk, 628305, Russian Federation