Origin of pottery in Western Siberia (to the discussion of the problem)

Zakh V.A. (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


             page 20–31

The problem of the origin of pottery to a large extent determines the choice of directions in the study of Åarly-Neolithic complexes, including the formation and development of Neolithic cultures, their periodization and chronology. We have repeatedly addressed these issues in our previous publications; however, newly-collected information on Åarly-Neolithic settlements in Baraba, along with the publication of radiocarbon dating results obtained during the study of ceramics from Volga-Ural Neolithic complexes, have prompted us to raise this topic anew. In this paper, we consider the following three aspects: the preservation of pottery traditions in various territories, the development of the West Siberian Neolithic and the chronological sequence of the Boborykino and Koshkino complexes (the last two aspects complement each other). In recent years, a large number of ages obtained by dating using organic remains in ceramic artefacts have been introduced; however, these are not always consistent with the values obtained using charcoal and bone dating, e.g. for the Yurtobor 3 complex in a Lower Tobol river settlement (coal: 7701 ± 120 BP (UPI 559); ceramics: 6064 ± 100 BP; carbon: 7110 ± 70 BP), for the Mergen 6 settlement (settl. 15, ceramics: 5870 ± 110 BP (Ki-17085)). The data differs by 500–1500 years on average, with the ages obtained using ceramic dating being younger. The abundance of data on ceramics seemed to confirm the standpoint about the two-linear development of the West Siberian Neolithic and a later chronological position of the Boborykino complexes with regard to the Koshkino and Kozlov complexes. However, a series of radiocarbon dating analyses using charcoal for the Boborykino-Koshkino materials from the Mergen 6 settlement (for which,
14 out of 17 artefacts fit in the 6361–6068 BC interval), as well as for the Boborykino Tashkovo 1 and Yurtobor 3 settlements (6660–6420 BC and 6390–6230 BC), allow the development of the Neolithic complexes to be treated as a gradual and consistent process, without a chronological gap between the Boborykino and Koshkino antiquities. Flat-bottomed and round-bottomed dishes found in the areas of the Ishim and Irtysh rivers and Baraba forest-steppe are similar in shape and ornamentation to those from the northern territories. These artefacts are likely to have been the products of the development of an already existing, introduced ceramic tradition. According to radiocarbon da-ting, this tradition seems to have appeared in the West Siberian territories around the 7th century BC.

Key words: Western Siberia, the Early Neolithic, pottery, autochthonous development, two lines of development, migration, ceramics, Boborykino, Koshkino complexes.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-43-4-020-031




V.A. Zakh

Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS

Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation