On the relative and absolute chronology of early burials at the Firsovo-XI burial ground (Barnaul Ob River region)  

Kiryushin K.Yu., Kiryushin Yu.F., Solodovnikov K.N., Frolov Ya.V., Shapetko Ye.V., Schmidt A.V.


Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2021, ¹ 3 (54)




              page 2033




The present work addresses the issues of the absolute and relative chronology of early burials at the Firsovo-XI burial ground on the right bank of the Upper Ob River. Description of four burials of the site and results of their AMS 14C dating are reported, alongside with the cultural and chronological analogies among the contemporaneous monuments of Altai. Eight burial places were discovered at Firsovo-XI, including five single graves, two double graves and one collective burial. The burials were arranged in two rows in the direction from northwest to southeast. The deceased were oriented with their heads to the north and northeast. The research concluded that the burials which form the cultural “core” of the Firsovo-XI burial place (burial grounds nos. 14, 15 and 42) belong to the Early Neolithic period, and their radiocarbon age is determined by the middle of the 5th millennium BC, while their calendar age fits into a very narrow interval of several decades or several centuries (a one-sigma interval of 5710–5460 cal BC and a two-sigma interval of 5740–5360 cal BC). The Neolithic burials of Firsovo-XI constitute a single chronological group with burials nos.1 and 13 of the Bolshoi Mys burial ground. It stands to reason that this group may grow in size over time, as the work on AMS 14C dating of early necropolises and single burials of the Upper Ob region expands. At this stage of research, the problem of identifying cultural and chronological markers for the selected group of burials remains urgent. Within the framework of this study, it has been suggested that the ornaments made from the teeth of a bear and a horse (?), or an onager (?), take the role of such markers. It cannot be ruled out that with the appearance of new data such markers may include the ornaments made from wolf teeth and double-sided polished knives with a concave blade. As a working hypothesis, it has been suggested that the date obtained for the cemetery no. 18 of Firsovo-XI (GV-02889 9106±80 BP) was not accidental and that this burial actually belongs to the final Mesolithic or early Neolithic period. The chronological and ritual specifics of this burial are also emphasized by the craniological specificity of the buried male, and by the large total size of the skull, which distinguishes him from the rest of those buried at the burial ground.

Keywords: ground burial place, final Mesolithic period, Neolithic burial, cultural and chronological markers.


Acknowledgments. We express our sincere gratitude to the head of the anthropology office of Altai State University (Barnaul city, Russia), PhD in History S.S. Tur for important information provided, as well as V.V. Par-khomchuk and S.A. Rastigeyev for the AMS analysis of the samples at the “Accelerator mass spectrometer” unique scientific setup, Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Funding. The present study was carried out as a part of the Program for the Support of Scientific and Pedagogical Workers of the Altai State University, namely the project: “The absolute and relative chronology of burials of the final Mesolithic Eneolithic period of the Barnaul Ob region (Priobye)”, and according to the state assignment, namely the project “Western Siberia in the context of Eurasian relations: people, nature and society”.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 27.05.2020

Article is published: 27.08.2021


Kiryushin K.Yu., Altai State University, Lenin av., 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation, E-mail: kirill-kirushin@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3122-1423


Kiryushin Yu.F., Altai State University, Lenin av., 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation, E-mail: yf-kiryushin@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5474-3502


Solodovnikov K.N., Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation, E-mail: solodk@list.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0925-7219


Frolov Ya.V., Altai State University, Lenin av., 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation, E-mail: frolov_jar@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7259-2840


Shapetko Ye.V., Altai State University, Lenin av., 61, Barnaul, 656049, Russian Federation, E-mail: shapetko69@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0017-4417


Schmidt A.V., Museum of Nature and Humanity, Mira st., 11, Khanty-Mansiysk, 628011, Russian Federation, E-mail: tison172@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0321-9214