Batsevich V.À., Permiakova Å.Yu., Mashina D.À., Yasina O.V., Khrustaleva O.V.

Comparison of urban and rural groups of school-age children of the Tuva Republic according to Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis in the context of «transformation» of traditional lifestyle

This study is concerned with the assessment of body composition indicators for urban and rural schoolchildren (related to the same adaptive type) of the Republic of Tuva in the context of «transformation» of the traditional lifestyle. Comprehensive surveys of the population in this region were started by anthropologists back in the 1970s; therefore, this research should be considered as a continuation of the work on the dynamics of adaptation processes among the indigenous population in the light of changes of the environmental factors, primarily socio-economic and cultural. Comparison of morphological characteristics and growth rates of urban and rural schoolchildren is particularly interesting, as changes in the lifestyle of the population during the transition to urban conditions entail significant increase in anthropometric indicators, which is especially pronounced in comparison with children of the same age living in less urbanized environment. As such, the relevance of this study is determined by the necessity to assess the degree of adaptation of those modern indigenous groups of the Tuva Republic, which are at the transitional stage from one ecological niche to another. Comparative anthropo-ecological studies have been carried out according to the standard morpho-physiological program in two groups of school-age children: the first one was examined in the city of Kyzyl (406 individuals) in 2018, and the second one in the Todzhinsky kozhuun (district) of the Tuva Republic (435 individuals) in 2019. Schoolchildren examined in the capital of the republic (as the place of their birth and residence) can be classified as conditionally urban. This is the first generation born within or moved to the city with parents from various rural areas of the steppe zone of the republic. A large number of internal migrants from other areas have also been found in the villages of Todzha, where previously Todzhan Tuvans represented the ethnic majority. In this study, we assessed the overall body dimensions and body composition indices, acquired using the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis. The obtained results show that there are virtually no significant differences between the anthropometric data from urban and rural groups of schoolchildren by overall dimensions and body composition across the entire age range. The observed differentiation at individual age points is more likely related to sample specifics. The age of menarche is not different in urban and rural groups: for urban girls it is 13.1 years, for rural girls 13.0 years. The physical characteristics of schoolchildren indicate a relatively small shift in socio-economic conditions in regions with different extent of urbanization. The differences are smoothed by the gradual withdrawal of the traditional way of life (stockbreeding), which is more intense among the indigenous groups of Siberia. Thus, our interim results of anthropo-ecological study conducted in Tuva Republic show significant desadaptive changes among the local indigenous population, both within the rural and the emerging urban communities.

Key words: anthropoecology, adaptation, children and adolescents, total body size, body composition, Tuva.


Vasilyev S.V., Borutskaya S.B., Averin V.A., Frizen S.Yu.

The population of the medieval Plyos (based on archaeological excavations of the Varvara necropolis in Plyos, modern Ivanovo Region)

Traditionally, the emergence of the Russian medieval town of Plyos is attributed to the second half of the 12th c., when a fortress was built on the Sobornaya Mountain (upper part), and a settlement emerged in the lower area on the left bank of the River Shokhonka, right-bank tributary of the Volga River. Craftsmen and fishermen quarters, which presumably had appeared long before the fortress, located on the other side of Shokhonka. Plyos was first mentioned in written sources in 1141. During the archaeological excavations in the Varvarinskaya street (Varvara necropolis) on the territory of modern Plyos town (Ivanovo Region), managed by the «Ivanovo Archaeological Expedition» company, human skeletal remains dated to the 10th13th c. were found. This palaeoanthropological material characterizes the population which inhabited the Upper Volga region (Verkhnee Povolzhye) in the Middle Ages. The aim of this study was to analyse the formation of the anthropological features of the medieval town population and assess its physical appearance. Material and methods: 17 skulls (11 male and 6 female) were examined according to standard craniological protocol, 19 uncomplete postcranial skeletons were measured following the standard osteometric protocol with some authors modifications: we present detailed data on the postcranial skeletons and the analysis of limb proportions and robustness of the long bones. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used for intergroup comparison with craniological series from ten different Russian and Belorussian towns (11th16th c.). Major results and conclusions. Presented paleoanthropological study has revealed a number of characteristics for the male skulls, associated with elongated cranium, average-high face and sharp horizontal facial profile. The female skulls exhibit mesocrania and smoother naso-molar area profile. Morphological analysis of the postcranial skeletons has demonstrated relatively elongated forearms and shortened shins in individuals from this burial ground. Reconstructed living stature of the males appears to be above average, and for women, on the contrary, below average. The problem of the common and specific patterns in the formation of the anthropological traits of the medieval town population cannot be addressed with the available anthropological material. However, PCA of the studied craniological sample indicates that the males are morphologically related to the medieval individuals from Yaroslavl (Russia) and partly to those from Novogrudok (Belarus). Thus, medieval men buried on the territory of Plyos were undoubtedly related to (presumable) retainers buried in the sanitary graves in Yaroslavl.

Key words: Upper Volga region, Plyos, Middle Ages, craniology, osteology, comparative analysis, limb proportions, bone massiveness.


Leibova N.A., Tur S.S.

Dental characteristics of the Scythian time population of the Forest-Steppe Altai

Materials from the analysed sites of the Staroaleyka and Kamen Cultures in the Forest-Steppe Altai (Southern Siberia) are dated to the 6th2nd c. BC. The aim of this study is to introduce the dental data for the Staroaleyka and Kamen Cultures into scientific discourse, to identify and analyse intergroup variability within both communities, their origin and genesis, and the direction of their relations with the Bronze and Early Iron Age populations. Materials of the Staroaleyka Culture are represented by a series from three burial grounds: Firsovo-14, Tuzovskiye Bugry and Obskiye Plesy 2, dated to the 6th–5th c. BC. The Kamen Culture series from the Forest-Steppe Altai has been collected from six burial grounds: Rogozikha-1 (6th4th c. BC), Obyezdnoye-1 (5th4th c. BC), Kamen-2 and Kirillovka-3 (5th3rd c. BC), Novotroitskoye 1 and 2 (5th3rd c. BC), Maslyakha-1 (3rd2nd c. BC). In total, 402 individuals were examined using the Odontological program. The analysed craniological series are stored in the TSU (Tomsk) Cabinet of Anthropology and the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography of Altai of AltSU (Barnaul). As comparative data, published Bronze and Early Iron Age series from Western, Southern and south of Eastern Siberia, southern Trans-Urals, Aral Sea Region, Central and Western Kazakhstan were used. Study methods: 25 odontoscopic and odontoglyphic features were recorded. Ten key characteristics, which have comparative data in literature, were discussed. The evaluation of the traits and their further analysis were carried out according to the methodology of A.A. Zubov. The construction of circular polygons and calculation of the average taxonomic distances were carried out in the GROUP COMPARISON program (author Olga M. Leybova), designed for processing of dental data. Intergroup variability was assessed through correspondence analysis in the STATISTICA 8 software. For the first time, dental data for the Staroaleyka Culture population have been received, and data for Kamen Culture has been significantly extended. Despite the territorial and chronological proximity of the Staroaleyka Culture series, it has been established that they belong to two different odontological variants. Odontological data does not exclude the presence of the «Ural» component in their morphological complex. The analysed samples of the Kamen Culture, with the exception of those from Rogoziha-1, appear to represent the Western odontological branch with different proportions of the eastern component in the series. In the morphocomplexes of the groups from the Obyezdnoye-1 and Kamen-2 burials, traits of an undifferentiated gracile type have been identified. The burial complexes of Novotroitskoye 1 and 2 and Maslyakha-1 were left by anthropologically uniform population representing a maturized odontological variant. Similarly to the craniological data, a fairly wide range of contacts has been established for the population of the Kamen Culture, including the early nomads of the Southern Urals, Western Kazakhstan, south-western and eastern Aral Sea region on the one hand, and Tuva and the Minusinsk Basin on another. Unlike craniological studies, odontological data does not suggest any proximity to the synchronous Pazyryk population of the Altai Mountains. Significant differences have also been revealed with the Kamen Culture population of the Ob River region near Novosibirsk.

Key words: Altai, Early Iron Age, Staroaleyka Ñulture, Kamen culture, dental anthropology, northern gracial type, undifferentiate gracial type, Ural race.


Frizen S.Yu., Vashchenkova E.S., Loboda A.Yu., Presnyakova N.N., Pozhidaev V.M., Retivov V.M., Tereschenko E.Yu., Bakushev M.A., Vasiliev S.V., Yatsishina E.B.

Analysis of gilded teeth from the 11th13th c. burial in the Zmeyskiy cemetery (Republic of North Ossetia Alania)

Presented are the results of analysis of paleoanthropological materials two teeth with gilded surface found in catacomb 62 (Excavation III) of the Zmeyskiy burial ground (Stn Zmeyskaya, Kirovsky District, North OssetiaAlania). The burial is dated to the 11th12th c. This material is unique both for the area and the cultural tradition, and for the specified period. The scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis, gas chromatography mass-spectrometry and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry were used. It has been determined that gilding was performed using organic binders a mixture of animal fat, linseed and hemp oils. Based on the coating weakness, as well as traces of gilding detected on the dentin below the enamel layer, it has been concluded that the gilding process was postmortem. The analysis of composition of gold (Au 86.2 wt%, Ag 13.2 wt%), micro- and trace impurities, and its comparison with published data made it possible to attribute this gold to epithermal Au-Ag ores.

Key words: Zmeyskiy cemetery, paleoanthropological materials, teeth, gilding, electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, gas chromato-graphy with mass spectrometry.