Gerasimova M.M., Frizen S.Yu., Vasiliev S.V.


In this paper, we present a study of craniological materials collected in the Psebeps 3, Kabardinka and Tserkovnaya shchel’ medieval grave fields (Krasnodar Krai, Russia). The Psebeps 3 grave field (10 male and
5 female skulls), belonging to the Adyghe people (Circassians), dates to the 14th–15th centuries. The Kabardinka grave field (11 male and 4 female skulls), also correlating with the Adyghes, dates to the 14th–15th centuries. The Tserkovnaya shchel’ grave field (3 male and 3 female skulls), dating to the 17th–18th centuries, was a burial site of the Adyghe tribes. All the skulls are characterized by the Caucasoid craniological complex and a significant typological diversity within this complex. On the basis of intragroup analysis, a graph was drawn that places the skulls from the Psebeps 3 and Kabardinka grave fields on its right and left sides, respectively. This discrepancy is likely to result from a difference in these series, although they both represent culturally related population groups. Following the results of the intergroup analysis of the male series, the graph depicts two clusters. The first cluster features the Pyatigorsk, Natukhai, Kazazovo 1, Moshchevaya Balka, Gamovskoe Ushchelie, Psebeps 3 and Tserkovnaya shchel’ groups. The second cluster includes the Black Sea, Shapsugs, Kazazovo 2 and Kabardinka groups. The Circassian group is located on the graph separately from the aforementioned groups. The graph representing the results of the intergroup analysis of the female series shows the Psebeps 3, Kazazovo 2, Tserkovnaya shchel’ and Natukhai groups to be located on the left, the Pyatigorsk, Shapsugs, Kabardian, Black Sea and Moshchevaya Balka groups to be in the centre, while the Circassian group is located separately. In the distribution of the series, the separate position of the Circassian group stands out; this is likely to be a result of Mongoloid admixture in the territory of the Adyghe settlements recorded in the territory of Circassia. The cluster bringing together the series from the Black Sea, Kazazovo 2, Kabardinka and Shapsug groups can also be quite logically explained by the fact that all these populations belong to the Adyghes. In the third cluster, the new materials are in good agreement with the facts demonstrating the transformation of the anthropological variation typical of the skulls from Moshchevaya Balka and Kazazovo 1 towards that typical of the skulls from the Pyatigorsk group. It is interesting that the Psebeps 3 series originating from the territory of traditional Natukhai settlements demonstrate a convergence with the third cluster containing the Natukhai series. 

Key words: craniology, burial ground, Middle Ages, Krasnodar Krai, Adyghe.


Solodovnikov K.N., Kravchenko G.G., Rykun M.P.


This paper is aimed at scrutinizing the dependence between the morphological features of the Eneolithic Early Bronze population and the geographical and bioclimatic conditions in the Altai valleys and intermountain basins. Across the territory of the Altai highlands, we have identified several local-territorial groups of archaeological sites dating to the period under study. Most of them belong to the Afanasyevî culture, with the rest being represented by the Kurota, Aragol and Ulita cultural types that have been recently designated from the Afanasyevî culture. For each group, in accordance with their geographical localization, we have calculated geographical and bioclimatic parameters. The comparison of these parameters with the characteristics of the corresponding craniological series has allowed us to reveal the main trends of intergroup variability within the Eneolithic Early Bronze Altai population. A considerable and statistically significant correlation is found between the morphological parameters, such as the height of the cranium, general sizes of a cranial cavity and the width of the face, and geographic and bioclimatic parameters characterizing the severity of the climate and the mountain height above sea level. In terms of other race-demarcating characteristics, no significant difference has been revealed between the territorial groups of the Altai Eneolithic Early Bronze population characterized by the proto-European type. The identified variations correspond to the previously established differences between the total series of skulls of the Afanasyevî culture from the Altai highlands and the Minusinsk Hollow, as well as to two craniological types defined as the main anthropological components of the Afanasyevî culture population in Southern Siberia. The first of these types, prevailing among the Altai Afanasyevo culture population, is markedly hypermorphic and characterized by a higher and, in general, a larger skull. The second type, determining the craniological specifics of the unicultural population in the Minusinsk Hollow, is moderately hypermorphic and characterized by a smaller and, importantly, less high skull. Our findings suggest that these differences are associated in many respects with a general increase in the body size in populations having lived in the most bioclimatically unfavourable areas of the Altai highlands. This is evidenced by an increase in the longitudinal and girth dimensions of the long skeletal bones of the Altai Eneolithic Early Bronze population having inhabited the mid-mountain and high-mountain Altai areas compared with the control samples from the low-mountain Altai regions and the Afanasyevo culture from the Minusinsk Hollow. Therefore, according to the calculated parameters, the population from the bioclimatically unfavourable Altai regions was characterized by a rather large weight and height among all the studied ancient Neolithic Bronze Eurasian groups. Thus, our study confirms that the main mechanism of biological adaptation to the severe mountain environment of the Altai highlands among the Eneolithic Early Bronze population was the enhancement of energy processes by means of increasing standard metabolism. As a result, the initially tall and large proto-European population was becoming even larger.

Key words: Afanasyevo culture, the Eneolithic and the Bronze Age, the Altai Mountains, paleoanthro-pology, craniometry, osteometry, bioclimate.


Syutkina T.À.


Artificial cranial deformation has been practiced by indigenous peoples at various times in different parts of the world. In pre-Columbian Cuba, it is believed to have been practiced by the pottery-making agricultural groups called Taino. These people, who spoke the Arawak language, started to inhabit the island around 800 AD. According to the dominant theory, the practice was imported to the region from the Orinoco river valley by the Saladoid pottery makers. However, some authors ascribe this role to the Huecoid groups. Since any written record of the practice is virtually absent, a study of known paleoanthropological materials can be of crucial importance. In this paper, we set out to compare two samples of pre-Columbian crania belonging to the pre-ceramic population, who did not apply the practice of deforming their newborns’ heads (Ciboney), with those belonging to the pottery making agriculturalists (Taino), who did use such a practice. The crania under study, originating from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, mainly feature the frontal occipital oblique type of deformation. The intra-group variation in the deformed group is found to be much higher. This suggests that, despite the presumably standard deforming procedure, individual variations were inevitable. Taking the variations into account, somewhat unusual shapes, which cannot be unequivocally labelled as frontal occipital oblique, should be treated as a result of this diversity. The specific features that differentiate the deformed samples from the non-deformed ones are found to be the length of the parietal bones, the curvature of the frontal bone and the width of the crania. However, we cannot conclude that the deformations are wholly responsible for these differences. Another result of the study consists in the differences found between the crania from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, which point to a possible variation in deformation techniques. However, this firm conclusion cannot be drawn until additional materials from other Antillean islands become available.

Key words: paleoanthropology, artificial cranial deformation, Antilles, Cuban anthropology, Taino,