Matveeva N.P., Suchilina N.Y.

Characteristics of the Eneolithic funeral rite in the Tobol River region (the burial ground in the settlement of Ustyug-3)

The article is concerned with the Eneolithic burials of the Tobol River region from excavations in the Ustyug-1 kurgan cemetery in the Zavodoukovsky district of the Tyumen Oblast. Apart from the settlement layer left by populations of the Shapkul and Andreevskoe Cultures, five ground burials of different periods were found in the settlement of Ustyug-3, with the Eneolithic grave goods attributed to the same cultures and dated to the end of the 4th — middle of the 3rd mil. BC. Analogies to the funeral rite can be traced in the territory of the Tobol-Iset basin, in the Urals, and in Kazakhstan. The original position of the deceased was preserved in the paired burial: one individual was placed in sitting position at the head of another, who laid stretched on the back. The authors consider in this case the tradition of «joint death». Findings from the burial pits include plates, retouched arrowheads on flakes, drop-shaped shale pendants, small stone «iron». The obtained evidence suggests that the grave complex was created by the population of the Shapkul Culture, but the location was further used for the routine life and rituals by groups of other cultural traditions, who, apparently, were coming to this area alternately during the Eneolithic. Features of pottery ornamentation, flake industry, and rituals of the sites in the region are different from those in the Middle and Southern Urals, the steppe areas of the Tobol River basin. As such, we envisage further research prospects in revealing the cultural identity of various regions of the Trans-Urals.

Key words: Eneolith, funeral custom, Tobol basin, «shaft straighteners», Shapcul Culture, Andreevskξε Culture.


Koryakova L.N., Molchanov I.V.

Woodworking in the Bronze Age Southern Trans-Urals (the case study of the fortified settlement of Kamenny Ambar)

The paper presents the description and analysis of the collection of wood (formwork elements and objects) from wells of the Bronze Age fortified settlement of Kamenny Ambar (Chelyabinsk Oblast). Within the settlement, presented are the layers of the Sintashta, Petrovka and Srubnaya-Alakul traditions, covering the period of the 21st–17th c. BC. We give a short description of the forest resources of the study area. In Southern Urals, wood can be found in the form of charred remains, sometimes in post holes, in burial structures of various state of preservation, as well as in the Bronze Age wells. The latter has been the source of fragments of formwork and some household items for this study. According to palaeobotanical data, the local landscape represented forests mixed with steppe and forb meadows. The total area of forestlands around the settlement in the Bronze Age was roughly similar to the modern one. The analysis of charcoal and wood from wells indicates that pine (51 %) and birch (47 %) were the most common, and to a lesser extent — willow and alder (2 %). Prevailing were the pine trunks with 5 to 30, less often 50, rings. The types of formwork and tools used in their construction have been determined. The importance of woodworking among the household industries of the settlement has been assessed. Remains of wooden structures have been found on the bottom of 16 examined wells, although there may have been more, judging by discrete fragments of wood decay. The wood is represented by stakes, half-logs, chopping blocks, planks, branches, charcoal and fragments of bark. Restored specimens have been examined visually and using a microscope in order to determine the wood species and process tools, and the results have been put down into the database. In the process of excavation, two types of formwork were identified: 1) a wattle cylinder made of twigs intertwined through vertical stakes, and 2) sheeting of the shaft with vertically placed and tightly fitted boards and/or half-logs of small diameter. In a number of wells, the type of construction could not be accurately determined. In addition to wooden structures, wooden objects were also found at the bottom of several wells. It is possible to state that the inhabitants of the Kamenny Ambar settlement were skilled in wood processing. Available data indicate that carpentry craft was highly developed throughout the entire Bronze Age period. Admittedly, people knew how to joint wooden parts of structures. Since there are no finds of metal nails, we are confident that they used alternative means, such as ropes and other carpentry techniques, in particular, groove joining. An object with a precise rectangular groove was found in one of the wells. These materials demonstrate the presence of good engineering knowledge, manifested not only in the search for new technologies for the well construction, but also in the overall architecture of the settlement.

Key words: Southern Trans-Urals, Kamenny Ambar settlement, Bronze Age, wells, wooden objects, woodworking.


Epimakhov A.V., Tairov A.D., Epimakhova M.G.

Cultural attribution vs radiocarbon chronology (on the example of materials from the Bronze Age burial ground of Shatmantamak I)

The article presents the results of excavations at the Shatmantamak I burial ground located in steppe zone of the Southern Urals (south-west of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia). The materials of the site combine the features of the Late Bronze Age Srubnaya and Alakul archaeological cultures dated to the first half of the
2nd mil. cal BC. With this work, we aimed to test the interpretation possibilities for the obtained materials, proceeding from their chronological sequence, rather than cultural attribution. Three mounds comprising seven burial structures of the Bronze Age (three above ground and four burial pits) have been excavated. The main procedure of treating the dead was inhumation on the left side (with the single exception on the right side) with their heads orientated towards the northern sector with deviations to the east. All graves contained single adult individuals, except one with the skeletons of two children. One of the burials is clearly distinctive, with the deceased set in sitting position. The grave goods included ceramic vessels and a single bone pommel. A series of radiocarbon dates (n = 4), stable nitrogen and carbon isotope analysis, along with the analysis of the context, allowed us to propose the scenario of utilisation of the site in the Bronze Age. The sequence of building of kurgans and individual burials has been determined. For a long period (20th–17th c. cal BC), they combined features of the Alakul and Srubnaya cultural traditions within the same cemetery, or even mound. Syncretic sites represent a typical phenomenon for the Late Bronze Age of the Southern Urals and adjacent territories. Despite the differences in the chronology and cultural features (pottery and funeral rite) of the Shatmantamak I burial ground, a high stability of the nutrition system has been revealed, which was based on the products of complex husbandry. This brings us to the assumption that the identified cultural mosaicism was determined not by the mobility and interaction of groups with different traditions, but by their joint or parallel habitation in a specific area.

Key words: Late Bronze Age, Srubnaya Ρulture, Alakul Ρulture, radiocarbon dating, stable isotopes.


Tkachev ΐ.A.

«Long» barrow in the Menovnoe VI burial ground

The pre-Mongolian time materials in the territory of the Irtysh River basin in Kazakhstan are associated with the functioning of the Kimak-Kipchak proto-state federation that existed in the end of the 1st — beginning of the 2nd mil. AD. Due to the nomadic lifestyle of these ethnic groups, the sites are represented by barrow cemeteries, the majority of which consists of «chains» of individual burial structures aligned in meridian direction. The most interesting funerary objects are the «long» mounds, usually ending the system of memorial structures in the northern or southern sector of the burial ground. Particular features of these objects include the presence of several attached enclosures under a common mound, which developed in the meridian direction, as well as the burial of children and adolescents, virtually unknown from individual Kimak-Kipchak mounds. Here, we analyse the materials of the «long» barrow of the Menovnoye VI burial ground, located in the Upper Irtysh region 1.5 km southeast from the village of Menovnoye, Tavrichesky District, East Kazakhstan Oblast. Under the kurgan mound, there was an enclosure with two extensions containing burials of two men, a teenager, and a child. The buried were laid stretched on their backs, with their heads towards the east. The remains of men and the teenager were accompanied by horses, and those of the child — with sheep bones. An adult man, buried within the central enclosure, apart from horse, was accompanied for his afterlife by a dog. The grave goods discovered with the buried represent wea-ponry items, military and horse equipment. The weaponry included fragments of a sword, a bone grip, arrowheads, combat and household knives. Horse harness items included stirrups and a bit made of iron, a bronze figured buckle with flexible iron prong. The child was accompanied by a bronze teardrop-shaped amulet pendant and a small cattle astragalus used for playing dice. The number of «long» mounds in the cemetery ranges from one or two to three or four. The number of individuals in them varies from 2–3 to 8–11, which emphasizes the familial proximity of adults and children buried together. The «long» barrows of the «Menovnoye VI type», which contained burials of male members of the society, reflected the presence of patriarchal family ties within the tribal communities on the one hand, and formation of patriarchal-feudal relations in the context of development of the Kimak-Kipchak nomadic proto-state on the other.

Key words: Kazakhstan basin of the Irtysh River, Middle Ages, Kipchaks, «long» mound, funeral rites, clothing inventory.


Anoshko O.M.

The First and the Second Regency excavations in Tobolsk

This publication continues a series of articles which introduce into scientific discourse the results of archaeological research into the cultural layer of Tobolsk — the main city of Siberia during the Russian colonization period. The First and Second Regency excavations were laid on the spit of the Troitsky Cape, on the territory of the Tobolsk Kremlin, in the utility building construction zone of the Tobolsk-Tyumen diocese. Based on the historical and archival data, the identified stratigraphic columns should demonstrate the peculiarities of the formation of cultural strata in different periods of development of the city since its foundation, but unfortunately, as shown by the excavations, the early layers were severely damaged across a large area as a result of constant active reconstructions of the Kremlin. The earliest of the studied objects are the remains of a defensive line that ran along the edge of the cape in the 17th c., protecting the city from attacks. As a result, the structure of the wooden fortifications of the city have been identified, which represented a high log fence, with an adjacent platform — fighting gallery — on the inner side. The presence of such structure suggests that the defensive wall carried loopholes for cannons and culverins, significantly expanding the firing potential. The nature, location and construction of this defensive line is similar to the one we found in the Chukman excavation site, on the nearby cape of Chukman. The ancient objects of the First and the Second Regency excavations include eight structures that have not been fully explored. One of them contained a rare archaeological find — the remains of a tiled stove, faced with terracotta, glazed, polychrome relief and painted tiles. Another building preserved in a form of a brick foundation, during the clearing of which, for the first time in Tobolsk, fragments of porcelain ware from Gardner factory were found, which was considered to be the best in Russia in the 19th century. In general, the obtained materials open new opportunities for studying the early stages of the history and culture of the first Russian capital of Siberia.

Key words: Tobolsk, the territory of the Kremlin, the line of fortifications of the 17th century, buil-dings of the 18–19th centuries, artifacts.


Karmanov V.N.

Vadniur I/7 — the final Neolithic and Eneolithic site of the Vychegda River

The author presents the results of his own survey of the Vadniur I settlement carried out in 2017. The site is located on the right bank of the Vychegda River in the Syktyvkar city, the Komi Republic (north-eastern Europe). The danger of destruction of the site by the river erosion erged the comprehensive excavation of the total area of 210.5 m2. This has made it possible to preserve the historical and cultural information from the site and to obtain new data for the study of the Neolithic and Eneolithic cultures of north-eastern Europe. Based on stratigraphy, planigraphy and comparative-typological method, two complexes of different periods — Vadniur I/7A and Vadniur I/7B — have been identified. The former includes the remains of a rectangular 11x5 m dwelling with the total area of ca. 55 m2, with three hearths (nos. I, II and IV) and two horizontal ventilation channels (nos. I and II). The construction is associated with a ca. 8.5 m2 section of redeposited cultural layer containing artefacts, which is probably the result of cleaning of the living space in ancient times. The dwelling complex includes 428 stone items, fragments of two ceramic pots and three ceramic objects, small unidentifiable fragments of calcified bones. According to two radiocarbon measurements, the Vadniur I/7A complex dates to the first half of the 4th mil. BC. This data, together with construction features, technical and typological characteristics of ceramics and flint tools, allow attributing it to the early period of the Chuzhyael'skaya Culture in north-eastern Europe. Currently, Vadniur I/7A is the oldest structure of this type in Northern Eurasia. The research opens new perspectives for the study of genesis of the Chuzh"yael'skaya Culture, which is also associated with searching for sources of origin of housebuilding, flint knapping and pottery traditions unique for the northeast of Europe. The Vadniur I/7B complex has been identified as a compact cluster of ceramic vessel fragments and few flint artefacts. They were related to the traces of hearth no. III and together may represent remains of a short-term camp. The comparative-typological method allows to identify it as a site of the Choynovtinskaya Culture of the Eneolithic Volosovo-Garinskaya cultural community of the 3rd — first half of the 2nd mil. BC.

Key words: the Vychegda river, archaeology, Neolithic, Eneolithic, house-building, subterrain dwel-ling, ceramics, stone assemblage, Chuzh"yael'skaya Culture.


Zagvazdin E.P., Zagvazdina Ya.G.

Pottery of the late 16th — first quarter of the 18th c. from the Sofia yard of the Tobolsk Kremlin and the Upper town: comparative morphological analysis

The article presents morphological analysis of ceramic complexes from excavations in 2006 and 2017 in the city of Tobolsk. The pottery came from two areas: the Tobolsk Kremlin and the Upper town (9 Oktyabrskaya st.). Within this research, we aimed to conduct comparative analysis of morphology of the tableware from these sites to assess its similarities. From the two areas, 2261 ceramic fragments have been analyzed, and 200 vessels (counted by rims) from the late 16th c. — first quarter of the 18th c. layers have been identified. By the production technology, the dishes are non-glazed, made mainly on the pottery wheel. Hand-made ceramics have also been found in small quantity (less than 2 %). The assemblage is dominated by pot-like dishes (94.5 %). The proportion of cupped dishes is small. Other types of dishes (large pot, washbasin pot) have been found in single numbers. Based on the appearance of rims and necks, three types of pots and five types of bowls have been identified. Comparison has been made between the diameter of the mouth and the type of pot. Further examined were the frequency of occurrence of dishes with different colors and type of surface treatment, dimensions of bottoms, frequency of adding of sand to the surface of the pottery wheel. The assemblages have been compared to the late medieval ceramics of the northern, north-western and central regions of Russia, as well as the Urals and Siberia. Comparisons have been also made with the results of other studies of the Tobolsk ceramics. Statistics show that the pottery complexes are very similar to each other, both in large groups (pot-shaped and cup-shaped ware) and by other parameters (color and type of surface treatment, rim shape, mouth and bottom size, the ratio between types and diameters of pot mouths). Differences have been identified in the proportion of higher quality light gray dishes, being 2.5 times larger in the territory of the Upper town than in the Sofia yard. The difference is also expressed in proportions of the three types of pots. Type I prevails in the territory of the Upper town, and types II and III — in the Sofia court. Bowl-shaped dishes are diverse (3 types) and are present in both parts of the town. The quality light gray and black-glazed vessels of this type have been classified as tableware, partially for the lack of traces of soot. With this classification, the proportion of bowls defined as tableware constitutes 3 %. Comparison of the assemblages with the late medieval pottery from other regions of Russia revealed close analogies. But in terms of the general range of dishes, Tobolsk stands behind the cities of the European part of the country.

Key words: Tobolsk Kremlin, Upper town, archeology, ceramic complex, cultural layer, Late Middle Ages, New Time.


Ryabogina N.E., Yuzhanina E.D.

Palaeoecological reconstructions in the Tobol-Ishim interfluve: combination of on-site pollen data from cultural layers and off-site peatland records

The study, based on uniformed criteria, summarizes a large series of palynological data and is aimed at reconstruction of the vegetation history of the second half of the Holocene based on pollen data from peatlands. The main objective of this work is to compare the results of palynological studies from cultural layers of 30 Neolithic-Medieval archaeological sites (on-site data) and five natural archives (off-site records) in the sub-taiga and forest-steppe areas of Tobol River region and on the territory of the Ishim Plain (south of Western Siberia). The main analytical and correlation tools were the calculated indicators of pollen indices and biomes. Baseline palaeoecological changes have been analysed by the pollen index of openness/forestness (the ratio of wood vs grass pollen), the aridity index (the ratio of the summed amount of wormwood and chenopod pollen to that of cereals) and the dynamics of forest and steppe biome of peatlands; similar pollen indices have been calculated for the cultural layers. All indicators have been synchronized by age and fixed on a single timeline for comparison. The increasing role of forest vegetation in the forest-steppe has been considered as an indicator of increased effective hydration, forest degradation has been associated with the lack of it. The aridity index has been used as an indirect argument, reflecting the condition of grass communities outside the forest, it increases with the synchronous aridization and warming, but is also subject to strong distortion under the influence of human activity. Six stages of vegetation change have been identified: 6.0–4.2 ka — increase in proportion of forests in the northern forest steppe; 4.2–3.3 ka — minimal forestation of the territory; 3.3–2.5 ka — gradual regeneration of forest areas; 2.5–1.9 ka — reduction of the proportion of forests; 1.9–0.7 ka — the most pronounced forestation of the territory; 0.7–0 ka — reduction of the proportion of forests. In general, the outlined stages correspond with the overall scheme of development of landscape and climatic conditions in the southern regions of Western Siberia, though have regional specifics. Comparison of palynological data from natural archives (peatlands) and cultural layers by pollen indices demonstrates, that the anthropogenic disturbance of the composition of grass vegetation near the sites in most cases prevents objective assessment of natural conditions, but characterizes the appearance of the settlement landscape near the sites during its functioning and is associated with economic activity.

Key worlds: pollen indexes, environment, residential landscape, Western Siberia, Holocene.


Tsembalyuk S.I., Kisagulov A.V., Nekrasov ΐ.Ε.

Osteological complexes of the Bronze to Iron Age transitional period, and the Early Iron Age, in the hillfort of Maray 1 (Ishim River region)

The article deals with osteological complexes of the Maray 1 hillfort located in the forest-steppe area of the Ishim River region. The research materials were obtained from the excavations carried out in 2010 and 2019. The main periods of the site habitation recorded for the hillfort are the early chronological horizon represented by the settlement of the Krasnoozerka Culture of the Bronze to Iron Age transitional period (9th–7th c. BC), and the late cultural layer which is marked by the hillfort of the beginning of the Early Iron Age, left by the population of the Baitovo Culture (4th–2nd c. BC). From each layer associated with different periods of the site habitation, archaeozoological collections have been selected. The purpose of this work is to determine the type of economy of the Maray 1 population during the two major habitation phases. The essential research materials comprised of osteological collections obtained from the Krasnoozerka and Baitovo layers. The research technique included bone determinations based on comparison with the reference skeletal collections from the Museum of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Yekaterinburg), using anatomy atlases [Gromova, 1950]. Determination of subfossil bird bones was carried out in the same institute, and it included comparison of the bones from the settlement with the reference osteological collection of modern bird species. The species attribution was based on morphological structure of the bones and their fragments. The osteological collection of the Maray 1 hillfort is stored in the Museum under No. 2361. Analysis of the species composition of osteological complexes from the two main habitation periods allowed distinguishing domestic and wild animals, including birds. The proportions of the number of bones and representatives of domestic and wild fauna have been analyzed. In the Krasnoozerka Culture materials, significant predominance of wild animal bones has been determined, which suggests that the economy of the Krasnoozerka settlement was dominated by the appropriating activities with a significant role of hunting (mainly elk). In the Baitovo layer, bones of domestic animals significantly prevail over those of wild fauna, suggesting that the economy was based on producing sectors.

Key words: Ishim River basin, Krasnoozerka Culture, Baitovo Culture, osteological complexes, archeozoology, appropriating economy, producing economy.


Crubézy E., Melnichuk O., Alexeev A.

Archaelogy, genetics and history 15 years of research in Yakutia (2002–2017)

For the past 15 years, our research has focused on the evolution of the first Yakut populations, their interaction with local tribes as well as with the Russian population, which marks the beginning of Yakutia's development from the first half of the 17th century. We conducted the excavation of tombs and we analysed the cultural, historical and paleogenetic data uncovered. A review and a synthesis of the main results published in articles and monographs informs our research directions for the future.

Key words: Yakuts, Tungus, Yukagirs, Yakutia, Russians, hunter-gatherers, herders, reindeer herders.


Duchesne S., Bravina R., Popov V., Kolodeznikov S., Gérard P., Myglan V., Hochstrasser-Petit Ch., Romanova L., Petit M., Kirianov N., Alexeev A., Alekseeva L., Riberon A., Crubézy E.

Frozen graves of Yakutia, a chronological sequence

Distribution, cultural and chronological attribution of frozen graves of Yakutia between the beginning of 17th and end of 19th century. The funerary rites and the artefacts allow to differentiate four chrono-cultural periods (before 1700 AD, from 1700 to 1750 AD, from 1750 to 1800 AD and after 1800 AD) which could be associated with historical events: opening of the trading post of Nertchinsk, expansion of the Kangalasky clan, economic collapse, generalization of Christianization.

Key words: Yakutia, Yakuts, soil burial, modern period, chronology, artefacts, funeral practices, Christianization.


Hochstrasser-Petit Ch., Romanova L., Duchesne S., Melnichuk O., Gérard P.

Yakut clothes of the 17th and 18th centuries, archaeology and restitution

40 frozen yakutian graves, from the 17th to the 19th century allow the reconstitution of clothes. At the end of the 17th century, new fashions are emerging with the ostentatious use of imported goods and the influences of Russian noble circles and Chinese and/or Mongol and/or Buriat fashions. The garment does not only seem to be any more an element of protection against the cold and a utilitarian object but becomes a way to marking the socialization of the individual.

Key words: frozen burials, fabrics, pelts, beads, sewing techniques, foreign influences.