Serikov Yu.., Balueva Y.V., Konovalenko M.V.


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.


Zakh V.A.


The problem of the origin of pottery to a large extent determines the choice of directions in the study of arly-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 arly-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 5001500 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 63616068 BC interval), as well as for the Boborykino Tashkovo 1 and Yurtobor 3 settlements (66606420 BC and 63906230 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.


Kostomarov V.M., Novikov I.K.


This paper is aimed at presenting the preliminary results of a study carried out in the Zolotoe 1 settlement in 2018. This territory was inhabited twice in the late Bronze Age, first by the representatives of the Alakul culture and then by those of the Alekseevka-Sargary culture. The focus of this research was on the topographic features of the site. An additional objective consisted in the description and interpretation of newly discovered archaeological materials and buildings. The Zolotoe 1 settlement is located on the shores of Lake Zolotinskoe near the Zolotoe village, the Polovinsky district of the Kurgan region. This place attracted our research interest because of its specific location. In contrast to the currently known sites featuring similar artefacts, which are located along the high banks of the Tobol and Ishim rivers and, less frequently, in the floodplain, this settlement is situated along the shores of the lake system in the Tobol-Ishim interfluve. A depressed land area in the north-eastern part of the settlement located at a distance from the village was selected for the study. Prior to excavation, an electromagnetic scanning of the site surface was performed with the purpose of refining the parameters of the search area. It is established that the remains found in the site are likely to be associated with the Alakul period. These include the remains of a building (ostensibly, a shed, judging by the absence of a pit and the presence of a series of pillar holes) and those of a fireplace, (supposedly) wells, fragments of ceramics and tools. The latter are shown to be located towards the western and eastern parts of the discovered shed. The artefacts are similar to those discovered in other sites of the Alakul culture. The Alekseevsk-Sargarinsky building horizon is also represented by the remains of a ground construction, fireplace lenses, bronze items and the fragments of vessels. The characteristic ornamentation on the latter has enabled the attribution of this complex. Therefore, our study of the Zolotoe 1 settlement has provided additional information about the specifics of the settlement of the Alakul and Alekseevka-Sargary groups. It is established that the area of their economic activity included not only river lines, as has been previously thought, but also remote lake systems. The features of the discovered buildings may indicate the seasonal nature of the settlements. This assumption can be confirmed or refuted by a more detailed study of the collected material and further research in other parts of the site. The continuation of exploratory studies along the coastline of numerous lakes in the Tobol-Ishim interfluve seems to be a promising research task.

Key words: settlement, adaptation, Tobol-Ishim interfluve, settlement Zolotoe 1, landscape, Alakul culture, Alekseevka-Sargary culture.


Ryabogina N.E., Ivanov S.N., Nasonova E.D.


This article addresses one of the most important issues in landscape archaeology, i.e. the landscape prefe-rences of ancient populations depending on the patterns of nature management that these peopled used. Since forest-steppe regions are characterized by a mosaic plant cover, the appearance of residential landscapes the natural environment around ancient settlements can be restored using paleo-economic population models. This work is aimed at analysing the characteristics of residential landscapes in the late Bronze Age on the example of three settlements in the Tobol region (south of Western Siberia), which were inhabited by the representatives of the Fedorov, Pakhomov and Cherkaskul cultures. To this end, the blocks of palynological data obtained from different archaeological contexts were compared with each other, well as with the background natural conditions reconstructed for the south of Western Siberia. The paper presents the detailed analysis of both pollen data and non-pollen palynomorphs collected from the soil sediments of the cultural layers, as well as the results of the natural environment reconstruction. The cultural layer of the Fedorov settlement (Bochantsevo 1, up to the 16th century BC) is shown to contain predominantly meadow pollen, typical weeds of human habitats and the spores of coprophilous fungi. The residential landscape of this village consisted in an open place with meadow grass vegetation, without signs of steppe, with small birch forests nearby. A similar situation was reconstructed for the settlement of Cherkaskul culture (Khripunovskoe 1, 1613th century BC); here, the household economy was based on the breeding of cattle, with people preferring to settle open forest-steppe areas. On the basis of pollen data analysis, a completely different residential landscape was reconstructed for the Pakhomov culture settlement (Zavodoukovsk 11, 1311th century BC). This settlement was founded and functioned in the birch forest. Its inhabitants practiced not only cattle breeding, but also hunting and fishing. Numerous studies conducted on mixed Cherkaskul-Pakhomovo settlements across the territory of the Tobol region have allowed archaeologists to suggest the co-existence of these population groups in the same territory. Our findings show that these populations might have used different land zones within the same territory, since they chose different types of residential landscape. Differences in the economic types of these groups are likely to have influenced their landscape preferences: the Pakhomov settlements were confined to the valley birch forests, while the Cherkaskul settlements were initially localized in open spaces surrounded by lands suitable for grazing.

Key words: Bronze Age, Western Siberia, pollen analysis, NPP, living landscape, reconstruction.


Kostomarova Yu.V.


This article presents the results of a study carried out to investigate the tools of the Zhuravlev culture discovered in the Borki 1 settlement in 201214. This site is located on the territory of the Lower Ishim river. The economic activity of the Zhuravlevo population has not been studied enough, which determines the relevance of the work. The economic activity of the Zhuravlev population was investigated exclusively on the example of the Bogochanov culture of the Early Iron Age. On the basis of stratigraphic and planigraphic observations, artefacts reliably correlated with the Zhuravlevo building horizon of the site were selected for analysis. The primary classification of the artefacts was conducted using the typological method. Subsequently, in order to determine the functional area of the artefacts, we applied use-wear analysis. Stone and bone tools were investigated by the technological method. The tool wear was determined using an MS-2 ZOOM microscope with a ×1040 magnification. The functional classification of the tools made of various materials has provided additional information on the economic activity of the Zhuravlevo culture groups, confirming its diversified nature and determining the inventory of specific industries. The importance of bronze casting has been established, with almost complete absence of tools for refining castings. These findings, along with the results of the metallographic analysis of metals in the transitional period, indicate the predominant use of casting technologies without further refining operations. A significant amount of spinning tools, such as spindles and their typological analogues, has been indicated. This supports the idea, frequently advanced by researchers, that weaving is likely to have developed at the beginning of the Early Iron Age. In addition, it is by the Zhuravlev materials that the replacement of bone tools with ceramic ones during the processing of hides is recorded. According to indirect data, the technology of processing stone and bone can be reconstructed. The number of stone tools, which were manufactured by lithic reduction or abrasive techniques, is insignificant. For bone carving, cutting and chopping metal tools were used, as well as various tools made of bone. Various treatment technologies, such as cutting, drilling, abrasive machining, are recorded. These techniques are traditional and characteristic of Bronze Age cultures (Transitional Period); however, the range of bone tools is limited and associated exclusively with the hunting industry. Therefore, the Zhuravlevo culture inventory features, on the one hand, the continuity of a number of Bronze Age technologies, and, on the other, the appearance of Early Iron Age features. In addition, it is obvious that the Ishim river lands were part of the nomadic traditions of the Early Iron Age, which is confirmed by a number of items that can be dated to 7th6th centuries BC.

Key words: Lower Ishim river areas, ancient settlement Borki 1, Zhuravlevo antiquities, tools, typo-logy, technology, traceological analysis.


Ilyushina V.V., Rafikova T.N.


In this article, we present the results of a study carried out at the Early Iron Age site in the multi-layered settlement Lastochkino Gnezdo 1 in the Lower Ishim river basin. Following a series of fieldwork studies, it is revealed that this Early Iron Age settlement featured defence constructions in the form of a ditch and a rampart. The discovered hearth and the remains of vessels around it allowed us to suggest the presence of a ground structure built without a pit. The ceramic collection of the settlement is not numerous, comprising about 150 vessels. Four main morphological groups of artefacts have been distinguished. 44 vessels were subjected to technical and technological analysis. The study was carried out applying the historical and cultural methodological approach developed by A.A. Bobrinsky. The study of the technological features of the vessels has confirmed the homogeneity of pottery traditions among the population of the settlement. Potters mainly used silt clay as the initial plastic raw material. Moulding masses were prepared using fireclay and organic additives. When designing vessels, potters used flaps as building elements. Surface treatment methods included smoothing, most frequently with wooden scrapers, knives or spatulas. Only a quarter of the vessels have traces of compaction. The ceramics was fired in hearths or fireplaces. Ornamentation is scarce: the main decorative technique used was imprinting with inclined lines. In some cases, impressed holes were the only decoration. Our findings show that the vessels, despite differences in morphology, were made by potters belonging to a single cultural group and were in use approximately at the same time. The comparison of the data on the specifics of the vessels from the Lastochkino Gnezdo 1 site with those from the Zhuravlev complex found in the ancient settlement Borki 1, and with the collections from the Bogochanov culture sites in the Irtysh river area has shown only a certain degree of their similarity. At the current level of research, it is possible to determine the cultural and chronological position of the materials under study as belonging to the Late Zhuravlev culture.

Key words: Low Ishim river basin, settlement Lastochkino Gnezdo 1, the early phase of the Iron Age, pottery, technical and technological analysis, ornamentation.


Kazakov A..


The Maym archaeological culture was designated more than 25 years ago; however, no attempts have been undertaken since then to scrutinize this important cultural and chronological entity. Despite the accumulation of a large amount of ceramic complex material, which is known to be the most representative source, the vast majority of this material is yet to be analysed. In this work, the author investigates published data on ceramic complexes found at the Maym archaeological culture site using standard qualitative and quantitative analytical methods. The conclusions obtained by qualitative analysis according to 5 parameters (shape of vessel, shape of bottom, shape of neck, any ornamental element, ornamental composition) were additionally tested by cluster analysis. Three groups of complexes, corresponding to the 3 developmental stages of the Maym archaeological culture, were identified as Sailap, Gornoelban and Novozykov on the basis of a correlation of the qualitative and quantitative data. Available dating information allowed the author to develop a relative chronology of the stages. It is shown that the earliest was Sailap, then Gornoelban, and finally Novozykov. Absolute dating for the 3 stages is proposed as follows: Sailap 1st century B.C. 4th century A.D.; Gornoelban 4th6th centuries A.D.; Novozykov 6th8th centuries A.D. A comparison of the characteristics of the ceramic complexes at the diffe-rent stages revealed several distinct evolutionary patterns. A comparison of the ceramic complex from the prece-ding period found in this region (Bystryank archaeological culture) with the Maym culture revealed no common features. This allowed a conclusion to be drawn that the population migrated to the territory of the middle section of the Biya river (where the complexes of the earliest Sailap stage are located) and subsequently spread over the entire region of the Maym archaeological culture. A hypothesis is advanced concerning the later transformation of the Maym archaeological culture as a result of its merger with the Odintsovo culture as evidenced in the artifacts of the Basandaik archaeological culture.

Key words: ceramics, morphology, ornament, archaeological culture, stage, evolution, analysis.


Tigeeva E.V., Belonogova L.N.


In this article, we provide a morphological and typological description of mirrors of the Sargatka culture discovered in the area of the Tobol-Ishim interfluve. Similar artefacts were found in places across a significant part of Eurasia, with quantitative investigations demonstrating their preponderance in the Lower Volga basin and the Aral Sea area. 12 mirrors were analysed using the atomic emission spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence and spectral analysis methods. Data on metal processing techniques for 11 items were obtained by visual inspection and me-tallographic analysis. The results of atomic emission spectrometry, X-ray fluorescence and metallography showed that both local, traditional and unique, rare technologies had been used in their production. Most mirrors are made of high-tin bronze alloys containing 2030 % of tin, which imparts a golden colour and lustre to the artefacts. Working with high-tin alloys is known to require special skills, since their forging can be performed only within a narrow temperature range. Reheating and water quenching are the final operations, aimed at strengthening the product during its operation. Stable uniform techniques and temperature regimes seem to have been applied when producing the Sargatka mirrors. The use of water quenching is considered to be an innovation in this locality, which distinguishes the metalworking of the Early Iron Age from the preceding Bronze Age. This allowed us to propose that the processing techniques and the finished products could have been imported from two mirror production centres located in the areas of the Volga river basin and the Aral Sea. The similarity of the artefacts under study indicates that they could have been manufactured at a single production centre. The destination of this centre is hard to determine due to the identity of the artefacts both in terms of their composition and common production pattern, which implies the quenching of hot-forged mirrors in cold water. Taking into account the traditional contacts of the Sargatka tribes, who settled the Tobol-Ishim basin, with the population of the Volga region, as well as the geographical proximity of these territories, we tend to suppose that this centre was located on the territory of the Volga river basin. Thus, a Chinese mirror from the Chepkul 9 burial ground is likely to have been professionally manufactured using a blank wax model for casting. Han mirrors were one of the most important and popular Chinese articles exported to other cultures, including the Sargatka culture. The area of the Sargatka culture embraced the northern branch of the Great Silk Road.

Key words: Early Iron Age, Tobol-Ishim basin, metallography, ancient metal production, mirrors, Sargatka culture.


Goldina R.D.


Starting from the 1950s, researchers have been collecting original artefacts discs made of obviously non-local shells in the Middle Kama region. In the 1990s, the source region for such molluscs was determined to be the coastline of India. Since then, over 170 such artefacts have been found in burial grounds. These objects were used in the 3rd4th centuries mostly as cover plates attached to leather belts produced by local masters. Their use as globular pommels attached to imported swords was less common. The discs were made in India, which is well known for having had several shell-processing centres, from the shells of the Turbinella pyrum molluscs. Goods made of these shells had been imported from India throughout Eurasia since the 4th3rd mill. BC (Mesopotamia). They were found in the 1st mill. BC mounds in the Himalayas and East Pamir foothills, near the northern foothills of the Kyrgyz mountain range and in the steppe archaeological sites dated the 1st half of the 1st mill. AD. The densest distribution of such artefacts has been recorded across 20 sites in the Middle Kama region, with the most significant cluster being the Tarasovo burial ground located in Udmurtia (71 pieces). This site, known to be the largest Finno-Ugric site in Eurasia (1880 graves), is related to the Tarasovo (Cheganda) culture of the Pyanoborye historical community and covers the interesting period of the end of the Early Iron Age and the Great Migration Period. In the Tarasovo burial ground, the discs were found in 47 graves of 50 people (42 female and 8 male). In 43 and 7 cases, the artefacts consisted of belt cover plates and part of gift sets, respectively. 30 belts had one cover plate only; 5 belts had 2 cover plates; 8 belts had 3 cover plates. Two cover plates were decorated with round imprints making rosettes. A similar ornament was recorded on artefacts found in India and in the Krasny Yar burial ground (Orenburg region). Along with cover plates, the Middle Kama region features pendants and beads made of shells. The beads were most probably imported during the 2nd century AD, while the pendants, whose datings coincide, are likely to have been produced by local craftsmen from imported discs. Discs were imported mainly in the 3rd4th centuries (except for the last quarter), with the import ostensibly ending during the Huns invasion. In different periods, discs were spreading from India to Eurasia through the Silk Road. Thus, they came to the Middle Kama region from Central Asia and from the Aral Sea region by means of the Ural river, the Belaya river and its tributaries. There, local craftsmen applied them according to their aesthetic sense. Pommel discs for swords arrived to all regions together with blades. The period of their distribution covers the 1st3rd centuries AD.

Key words: Eurasia, India, the Middle Kama region, shells of mollusks Turbinella pyrum, the Great Silk Road, production centers.