Zakh V.A.


In this study, the author set out to determine the chemical composition and possible use of a substance, which remnants were found on a tile fragment made of soft brown shist. This item was discovered in the occupation layer of a Neolithic settlement belonging to the Boborykino culture (Mergen 3), located on the terrace of Lake Mergen in the forest-steppe of the Ishim area (south of Western Siberia). By analogy with the complexes of the Boborykino culture in the Tobol area Yurtobor 3 (7701 ± 120 BP (UPI 559)) and Tashkovo 1 (7440 ± 60 BP (LE 1534)) which age was determined using carbon-14 dating, the Mergen 3 settlement can be attributed to the second half of the 7th millennium Cal. BC. The fragment measuring 3.0 × 2.1 × 0.55 cm has a spherical indentation in the centre measuring 2.0×2.0×0.2 cm with a volume of 0.118 cm3 (0.118 ml). The whole item probably had a square shape with rounded and slightly raised edges. A visual analysis of the spot was carried out using an MBS-10 binocular microscope at a magnification of 16×. The analysis revealed a brown substance on the edges of the indentation, which looked like a dark porous carbon-like spot in the centre. These remnants were studied using a Bruker ALPHA FT-IR spectrometer with an Eco-ATR module a single reflection ATR sampling module equipped with a zinc selenide crystal (ZnSe) that allows you to analyse liquid, solid and powder samples without preliminary sample preparation. The measurements were performed in the wavenumber range of 300–4000 cm-1 at a resolution of 4 cm-1. Some of the most significant absorption bands (709; 975; 1,024; 1,027 cm-1) were observed, which characterise vibrations bending and stretching the bonds in the skeleton of an organic molecule containing single Ñ–Ñ and Ñ–Î bonds. The obtained spectra are most consistent with the IR absorption spectra of resin acids, in particular, dehydroabietic acid that is present in resin obtained from coniferous trees. Considering the small volume of the above-mentioned substance and the limited of its burning, the author excludes the use of this tile as a lamp, the use of the substance for the preparation of glue that held together the parts of complex tools, as well as the use of the substance for healing wounds and for cosmetic purposes, which involved additional ingredients. Signs of burning indicate the use of the artefact for rituals, in particular for obtaining finely dispersed soot employed when applying tattoos. The conducted experiment showed that the soot from a burnt drop of fresh resin covered 4 cm2 of the wrist area. Soot formed at the very beginning of the combustion process (probably combustion of volatile components), then the substance was oxidised without noticeable emissions. The remnants of the porous substance on the tile confirm the importance of the moment of resin burning with the abundant production of soot. However, the possibility that there were other unknown areas of application of galipot obtained from coniferous trees is not excluded. In any case, it is safe to say that the early Neolithic population living in the Ishim area purposefully used natural resins in their activities.

Key words: Ishim river region, Neolithic, Mergen 3, slate tile, resin, IR spectrometry, dehydroabietic acid, healing and cosmetic properties, ritual practice.


Nasonova E.D., Ryabogina N.E., Afonin A.S., Ivanov S.N., Tkachev A.A.


The article analyses new data, which provides the opportunity to reconstruct the natural environment of people in the Tobol area (forest-steppe zone of Western Siberia) in the 3rd–1st millennia BC. The authors consider the issue associated with the consistency between off-site pollen data and on-site palynological data, as well as how correctly they reflect natural conditions defining the living environment of the ancient population. Materials for the study were obtained from the Oskino-09 swamp-lake located near the confluence of the Iset and Tobol Rivers in the immediate vicinity of a multilayer settlement (Oskino Boloto). The age of swamp-lake sediments was determined using an age-depth model developed on the basis of AMS dates. In this study, the authors analysed pollen and plant macro-remains, as well as the indicators of economic activity (non-pollen palynomorphs, weed pollen). The analysis of stratigraphy, the composition of plant macro-remains and local pollen revealed that up to 1.2 cal ka BC the water body in question was developing as a fresh lake, which allowed the inhabitants of the Oskino Boloto settlement to use it for fishing and as a source of water in the Eneolithic and in the Bronze Age. Its transformation into a swamp occurred in 1.1–0.8 cal ka BC, which coincided with the transition period from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. During the study period, the swamp-lake and the settlement were surrounded by forests confined to the terraces of the Iset River; starting from the middle of the Eneolithic, birch-pine forests appeared in the vicinity. However, pine forests were actively replaced with birch forests at the beginning of the Bronze Age; evidently, warmer temperatures and higher humidity resulted in the appearance of deciduous trees. Most of the Bronze Age is associated with a gradual decrease in humidity, with the signs of an increase in the water table level and the active expansion of birch forests being observed only at the turn of the Bronze and Iron Ages. A new stage of coniferous forest expansion in the Early Iron Age (ca 0.8 cal ka BÑ) is probably associated with a low level of the water table, as well as with a general fall in the temperature. The natural environment at the beginning of the Early Iron Age is very similar to that at the end of the Eneolithic. New data indicate that there were no completely treeless areas in the studied interval; forests always grew along river terraces. However, most of the settlements located nearby in the Ingala Valley were confined to open meadow-steppe areas forming an inhabited landscape. Despite the differences in the off-site pollen data obtained from the swamp and the on-site data, these data reveal similar trends in climatic changes in the 3rd–1st millennia BC.

Key words: South of Western Siberia, palynological analysis, macro remains, habitat environment, EneolithicEarly Iron Age, Holocene.


Degtyareva A.D., Vinogradov N.B., Kuzminykh S.V., Rassomakhin M.A.


The article describes morphological and typological characteristics of non-ferrous metal, determines the formulae of alloys, as well as identifies techniques used for the production of tools by the Alekseyevka-Sargary culture from the South Trans-Urals (15th/14th and 12th/11th BC). We carried out the morphological and typological study of the non-ferrous metal along with the X-ray fluorescence (Institute of Archaeology RAS, Institute of Mine-ralogy UB RAS; X-MET3000TX analysers from Oxford Instruments Analytical, M1 Mistral from Bruker Nano GmbH) and metallographic (Tyumen Scientific Centre SB RAS; Zeiss Axio Observer D1m microscope) analyses. A total of 19 tools exhibiting morphology inherent to the tool collections of the Alekseyevka-Sargary culture were selected for the study. These tools comprised random finds and items from the settlements of the Chelyabinsk and Kurgan regions of Russia, as well as from the Kostanay Region of Kazakhstan: daggers, à spearhead, sickles, socketed chisels, a spear end cap and single-blade knives. A group of tools and weapons characteristic of all Eurasian cordoned-ware cultures was distinguished daggers with handguards and socketed grooved chisels. In addition, weapons characteristic of the sites attributed to the Alekseyevka-Sargary culture (Saryarka, Altai, and Semirechye) were identified within the weapon complex of the South Trans-Urals. These weapons included bush hooks of the Sosnovaya Maza type, knives having marked handles, spearheads with holes and socketed straight-blade chisels. The metal of the South Trans-Urals is distinguished by the marked heterogeneity of its chemical composition with the predominance of low-alloyed bronzes Cu–Sn, Cu–Sn–As and Cu–As (66.7 %). There are 4 pure copper items, as well as products from the complex alloy Cu–Sn–As–Ni–Co and products with elevated iron concentrations (up to 2.68 %). These data indicate that the population experimented in the course of metallurgical processing of raw materials; they transitioned to smelting metal from sulphide ores or to the smelting of copper with sulphide or silicate nickel ores of the Ufaley Massif (deposits in the Chelyabinsk Region). South Ural craftsmen produced bronze and copper primarily using technologies for casting tools in one-sided (with flat covers) and two-sided moulds. The casting was followed by refining operations using the cold forming technology with the intervals of low-temperature forging modes. This choice of temperature is justified in the procession of low-alloyed bronze. Clearly, the centre for metal production of the Alekseyevka-Sargary culture in the South Trans-Urals was a metallurgical one, with the development of both oxidised and sulphide deposits in the South Urals. Innovative technologies of smelting copper with chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite, and nickel-containing ores were introduced. The complex of tools attributed to the Alekseyevka-Sargary tribes from the Tobol area is generally identical to the bronze inventory from Saryarka, Altai and Kyrgyzstan. Local craftsmen employed the traditional technologies of processing copper and bronze commonly used in the centres for metal production throughout the area of the Alekseyevka-Sargary culture, working primarily with bronzes low-alloyed by tin. As in previous eras, tin ingots and products were delivered from Central Kazakhstan and Ore Altai, but in much smaller quantities. The small number of products and the data of an analytical study indicate the relocation of the main centres for metal production of the Alekseyevka-Sargary culture from the Urals region (as compared to the big centres of Petrovka and Alakul cultures) to Central and Eastern Kazakhstan, up to Xinjiang in China.

Key words: Southern Trans-Urals, Bronze Age, Alekseyevka-Sargary culture, metal composition, production technology.


Kostomarov V.M., Novikov I.K., Kisagulov A.V.


The article presents the results of a taxonomic study of the archaeozoological collection from the Zolotoye 1 settlement. The settlement is located in the steppe zone of the Tobol-Ishim interfluve (the Polovinsky District of the Kurgan Region). A significant part of artefacts, including bone remains, belong to the Alakul culture of the Late Bronze Age (17th–16th centuries BC). A small collection (a total of 6 fragmented vessels) attributed to the Alekseyevka-Sargary culture was also identified. The relevance of this work is determined by the fact that data on the species composition of Alakul archaeozoological collections are predominantly obtained from necropolises, whereas economic characteristics are primarily reflected by materials from the settlements. The study in question was conducted using the paleozoological method. The taxonomic affiliation of bones was determined using the reference collection of skeletons from the Zoological Museum of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology UB RAS along with corresponding atlases. The conclusion about the taxonomic affiliation of fossil remains was based on the similarities in composition and size between the morphological structures of bones. The age of the individuals was determined by the degree of tooth abrasion and by the attachment of the pineal gland. The studied osteological collection includes 2783 items. In order to define the features of its occurrence considering species composition, a planigraphic analysis was performed. To this end, we used data collected from a digital total station and field inventories. As a result, it was found that the bone remains belong mainly to domestic animals (99.5 %). Cattle bones (47 %) predominate, followed by the bones of small cattle (34 %) and horses (18 %). Jud-ging by age characteristics, cattle were kept for the production of milk and meat. The remains of wild animals are scarce (0.5 %). They include commercial species (elk, hare, waterfowl), which indicates that the Alakul population was engaged in hunting. The comparison of domestic and wild animals, the composition of the herd from the Zolotoye 1 settlement located in the interfluve area with the archaeozoological collections of the Late Bronze Age from the forest-steppe Trans-Urals revealed their similarity, first of all, with Alakul materials originating from the layer of settlements confined to river systems. This fact reflects the general line of development in livestock breeding of the period under consideration, which suggests that the carriers of the Alakul culture developed stable forms of adaptation to different living conditions.

Key words: Alakul culture, zooarcheology, herd composition, paleo-economics, animal husbandry, farming, Trans-Ural.


Zimina O.Yu. , Chikunova I.Yu.


The article presents the results of archaeological studies carried out at the Yakushkino 3 settlement attributed to the Kashino culture of the Early Iron Age (subtaiga Tobol area, Western Siberia). The settlement was preliminary dated at the 4th–3rd centuries BC. In this work, the authors set out to study the house-building tradition of the Kashino culture using the Yakushkino 3 settlement as an example, create its graphic visualisation; identify certain characteristics of the structure defining the nature of the settlement seasonal use or place of permanent residence, which indicate the adaptation strategies of the population. In 2016–2017, two structures connected by a passage were studied at the settlement. The former is interpreted as a residential structure, whereas the latter is thought to have been used for utility purposes. The multi-chamber residential structure (ca 48 m2) was chosen for the reconstruction. To this end, the authors employed the method of theoretical reconstructions. Drawing on the planigraphy and stratigraphy of the excavation site, the main elements (foundation pit boundaries, pits, ditches, etc.) of the structure were identified. The authors defined the layout of the structure on the basis of the characteristic arrangement of structural elements; identified techniques used in the construction of walls and roofs; determined the possible use of certain building materials; as well as suggested interior variants. Finally, a graphic image of the structure was created. As a result of the study, the following assumptions were made. The structure consisted of 4 near-square rooms: the main central chamber (1) 25 m2; chamber 2 12.5 m2; chamber 3 6.75 m2; chamber 4 3.5 m2. The second chamber was divided into two unequal parts, with ceramics being concentrated in its larger part, which could serve as a kitchen or a dining area. Chambers 3 and 4 could be used as bedrooms or as utility rooms. There was no hearth in the structure. The structure had a frame, with vertical posts providing support for the roof beams and being part of the frame-wall construction. The walls could be constructed of wicker boards or erected by leaning poles against the upper beam of the frame. The roof could be gable, covered with reeds and poles. Against the background of uniform buildings of the Early Iron Age, Kashino dwellings are cha-racterised by one common structural detail that was traced in the layout of the dwelling from the Yakushkino 3 settlement additional chambers (utility or sleeping rooms) attached to the main room without an additional corridor. This fact distinguishes these buildings from the dwellings of the Sargatka or Gorokhovo cultures of the Early Iron Age (Western Siberia). The absence of a hearth and the lightness of the construction suggests that the dwel-ling from the Yakushkino 3 settlement was used in the spring-autumn period.

Key words: Western Siberia, Trans-Urals, Early Iron Age, Kashinî culture, settlement, Yakushkino 3, house-building.


Matveev A.V., Anoshko O.M.


The article gives a historical interpretation of a stakewall with an underground passageway found in the central part of the upper posad drawing on the materials from the excavation site in Oktyabrskaya Street (204 m2). The thick log wall consisted of vertical posts erected at the bottom of a specially dug ditch. The underground passageway constituted a manway, starting on one side of the stakewall and ending on the other. Its ceiling and walls were covered with planks supported by low half-logs, thick planks and small logs. The plank ceiling of the underground tunnel was just below the base of the log wall, with the horizontal adit being so small that one could only crawl through it. In order to determine the absolute age of the stakewall, we carried out the dendrochronological and radiocarbon studies of its logs. For the purpose of identifying this object with one of those mentioned in written sources, we reconstructed the history of fortification construction and localisation by performing a detailed analysis of historical data and all known plans of the city. As a result, it was established that the wall found during the excavation in terms of its location and orientation better correlates with the building shown on S.U. Remezov’s plans, which was located in the central part of Trinity Cape and surrounded by a rectangular stakewall, rather than with the posad fortifications. On the plans of 1687 and 1688 from the Chorographic Drawing Book, the object in question was captioned as ‘prison’ and ‘prison yard’. This assumption allows us to date the log wall discovered in Oktyabrskaya Street at 1687, or, quite possibly, at an earlier time. This prison yard fence could be used after 1714 and, judging by the stratigraphic and planigraphic observations made at the excavation site in Oktyabrskaya Street, until the period of stone construction in the upper posad.

Key words: Tobolsk, the upper posad, the 17th–18th centuries, wooden stockade, underground passage, prison yard.


Kostomarov V.M., Tretyakov E.A.


The article considers the settlement of Early Medieval population in the Trans-Urals (4th–9th centuries AD). The study is based on the data about the location of monuments attributed to the Bakal culture, which are recorded on the territory of the Tobol-Ishim interfluve and its water system in the area of the modern forest-steppe belt. The relevance of the study is determined by the following points: presentation of new data on the monuments of the Bakal culture; analysis of the settlement system and landscape use in the specified period; identification of economic areas characteristic of the early medieval population. In this study, the authors used the methods and approaches of landscape and settlement archaeology. In addition to the spatial and morphological characteristics, the source database includes data on the Earth's digital model drawing on SRTM30 data. The analysed materials (81 monuments 36 hillforts, 40 villages, 5 burial grounds) were collected in one geoinformation system; the authors proposed an improved classification of fortified villages, which provides the opportunity to characterise the economic structure of the Bakal groups in a new way. The hillforts comprise 27 terrace settlements located on the high bedrock coasts of rivers, as well as 9 floodplain fortified settlements situated on isolated hills. When identifying economic zones on the basis of constructed Thiessen (Voronoi) polygons, it was found that there was one or, less often, two fortified villages (hillforts) in the centre of one zone. Settlements were located not far from the centre (most often in a floodplain). The analysis of direct visibility from the settlements showed that direct visual watch was kept over the villages in the floodplain, with the visibility zones covering large floodplain sectors, thereby providing fairly tight control of the territory. It was established that the burial grounds were located in the immediate vicinity of fortified villages. The analysis revealed a correlation between the location of the village and the economy of the Bakal population, where cattle, prevailing in quantity, played an important role. This is due to the presence of large fortified settlements located in floodplains, whose population kept livestock. The authors established a system of the settlement and space-related occupation of the Medieval population in the Trans-Urals, with hillforts being the main centres used to control the territory simultaneously performing the functions of political, trade and economic centres.

Key words: Trans-Urals, Åarly Middle Ages, Bakal culture, landscape archeology, resettlement, range, GIS.


Usacheva I.V.


In this work, the author set out to test the procedure for studying the size of dwellings from the perspective of the household using the Sosnovy Ostrov culture of the Late Neolithic as an example. This implies considering the house collective as being maximally adapted to local environmental conditions and as being optimal in size for the implementation of a specific type of economic activity associated with the household. The study covers the southern taiga zone of the Tobol basin area (the border region between the Urals and Western Siberia) in the first half of 5th millennium Cal ÂÑ. In the course of the systematic source analysis, the author employed the methods commonly used in natural science, geography and the humanities: topographic, hypsometric, planigraphic, comparative ethnographic, etc. It was found that the dwellings of the Sosnovy Ostrov culture were large in sizes (60–125 m2) as compared to the dwellings of other Neolithic cultures in the Trans-Urals. In addition, a pattern in the location of villages relative to the water network was shown. They are situated close to lake isthmuses and wellhead capes (located downstream of a tributary mouth). The analysis of settlements revealed in-depth long-term dwellings, as well as light structures and utility pits located inside and outside of dwellings. This fact, along with the material distribution, suggests the sedentary lifestyle of the population. A settled way of life in the context of appropriating economy is possible only if the population possess a highly productive skill. The modelling of the situation, drawing on the ethnographic data available for these territories, indicates that the population was engaged in weir fishing. This conclusion is consistent with paleoclimatic reconstructions and the topography of the settlements. In addition, it is indirectly confirmed by a large number of woodworking tools in the stone inventory. The construction and maintenance of a weir require the coordinated work of a large team, which correlates with the size of the Sosnovy Ostrov dwellings. The presence of a common hearth in the dwellings suggests that the Sosnovy Ostrov households were built on the principles of undivided authority and existed in the form of large (extended) families. The study results indicate a high informative potential of a dwelling when considered from the perspective of a household adapted to the specific conditions.

Key words: the Neolithic, Trans-Urals, Sosnovy Ostrov culture, dwelling, household, productive fishing, sedentary life.