Natural and climatic conditions in the south-east of Western Siberia and development of ethnocultures of the Ket River region (5th c. BC 17th c. AD)

Blyakharchuk T.A., Bobrova A.I., Zhilina T.N.


Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2021, 4 (55)


              page 3648




The paper presents the analysis of the natural and climatic conditions of the Early Iron and Middle Ages in the archaeological region of Priketye (Ket River region; Verkhneketsky district of the Tomsk Oblast, middle taiga) based on the available archaeological data and spore-and-pollen diagram of Maksimkin Yar, 5830'N, 8648'E, 100150 m.a.s.l. (Blyakharchuk, 2012). The chronology of the archaeological sites and monuments covers a large time span from the Neolithic to the late Middle Ages, including the time of the arrival of Russian farmers into the area. The aim of the study is to reconstruct the dynamics of the natural environment during the existence of the archaeological cultures of the indicated time interval using paleopalynological data from a nearby spore-and-pollen section, as well as to demonstrate the capabilities and advantages of complex paleoecological-archaeological research in the taiga zone of Western Siberia (middle course of the Ket River near the Maksimkin Yar village) previously not covered by such studies. The material and source of the archaeological data comprised collections and archives of exploratory and stationary excavations of the archaeological sites from the area in the vicinity of the Maksimkin Yar village. Paleopalynological (spore-and-pollen diagram) and paleoecological (botanical composition of peat) data were obtained and published by one of the authors earlier (Blyakharchuk, 2012). In this work, comparative historical and statistical methods of the analysis of archaeological data were employed, along with two paleoecological methods (spore-and-pollen analysis and analysis of the botanical composition of peat) with respective statistical processing of the numerical data from these analyses. The paleoecological block of information is presented graphically in the form of a spore-and-pollen diagram built on the basis of the paleopalynological data and two radiocarbon dates covering the studied time interval. The Bacon software was used to calibrate the radiocarbon dates and to date each sample. The studies have shown that the climate change in the boreal forest zone of Western Siberia influenced the lifestyle and economic activities of the population of the Priketye area. Correlation of the climatic and cultural events of the studied area with neighboring southwestern, southern, and southeastern regions showed their synchroneity with the dynamics of the hydroclimate on these territories. During the Iron Age and after the end of the late Middle Ages, there was a synchronous increase in humidity, both in the steppe zone and in the forest zone. In the Bronze Age and during the high Middle Ages, the steppe zone was humid, but less atmospheric precipitation fell out in the forest zone. These fluctuations in the moisture content are well correlated with the 500600-year hydrological cycles in the steppe zone, identified by geochemical indicators of the steppe Shira Lake in Khakassia (Kalugin et al., 2013, p. 251). Changes in the hydroclimatic conditions in the forest and steppe zones had different effects on the local cultures and could stimulate either their rise or decline, as well as migrations.

Keywords: Ket river region, microdistrict, archaeological sites, the Iron Age, pollen, climate, vegetation.


Funding. The work was carried out within the framework of the budget program of the IMCES SB RAS project No. AAAAA-A16-116041356666-6.


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

Accepted: 16.09.2020

Article is published: 23.12.2021


Blyakharchuk T.A., Institute of monitoring of climatic and ecological systems of Siberian branch of RAS, cademichesky prosp., 10/3, Tomsk, 634055, Russian Federation. E-mail:,


Bobrova A.I.. Tomsk Local Lore Museum of . B. Shatilov, Lenin prosp., 75, Tomsk, 634050, Russian Federation, E-mail:,


Zhilina T.N., National research Tomsk state University, Lenin prosp., 36, Tomsk, 634050, Russian Federation, E-mail:,