Ryabogina N.E., Yuzhanina E.D., Ivanov S.N., Golyeva A.A.

Microbiomarkers of the local environment and interior of Neolithic and Eneolithic dwellings (settlements of Mergen 6 and 7)

The paper concerns the analysis of the local environment around the multi-layer settlements of Mergen 6 and 7 situated in the immediate vicinity of each other. The settlements existed successively (partly contemporaneously in the early and high Neolithic) in the forest-steppe belt of Western Siberia. Two methods were chosen to obtain the results: spore-and-pollen (palynological) and microbiomorphic analyses of the cultural layers of the settlements of Mergen 6 and Mergen 7. In the settlement of Mergen 6, the following samples were collected for the palynological and microbiomorphic investigation: a vertical column from the center of the ditch of the dwelling no.5; areal soil samples of the dwelling no.5 from underneath the pottery debris of the Neolithic and Eneolithic periods; areal samples from the bottom layer of the dwelling no.21. In the settlement of Mergen 7, two vertical core samples were selected for the pore-and-pollen analysis: in the ditch of the dwelling no.1; and in the inter-dwelling area. Samples from the hearthing of the dwellings and from the inter-dwelling space were collected for the microbiomorphic analysis. The obtained results show that both settlements existed during the forest-steppe conditions, although the original landscapes of the sites chosen by the people for building the settlements were different in the early and high Neolithic. It appears that during the early Neolithic, the settlement of Mergen 6 was associated with an open site with meadow-steppe vegetation; birch forests constituted a small part of the landscape, whilst there were no pine forests in the close vicinity. During the middle Neolithic, people in the settlement of Mergen 7 preferred to settle in a birch wood, having cleared out a small area to build the dwelling. The results of the microbiomorphic analysis show that, despite the lack of pine forests nearby the settlements, people still used pine timber in housebuilding, apparently, intentionally. The frequent occurrence of remains of the wood detritus at the level of the floor of the dwellings and under pottery supports the initial archaeological observations about timber decking inside the houses. However, pollen and phytolithic studies do not demonstrate a wide use of the wetland waterside vegetation in housebuilding, apparently, because the lake at the time was not overgrown on the banks by reed and cattail. Therefore, despite the close location of the two sites and their similar hunting-fishing specialization of the subsistences, their populations in different chronological periods preferred distinct local conditions.

Keywords: pollen, phytoliths, Neolithic, Eneolithic, settlements, local environment, Western Siberia.


Degtyareva A.D.

The non-ferrous metal toolkit of the Petrovka Culture of the South Trans-Urals

The article presents data on the morphological and typological characteristics of the trade tools of the Petrovka Culture of the South Trans-Urals and middle Tobol River region, originating from the sites of Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, and Tyumen Regions (77 specimens in total; 126 specimens in total including knives). According to the radiocarbon dating, the chronological period of the Petrovka sites in the Southern Trans-Urals spans the 19th through 18th centuries B.C. The distribution of tools into types was based on the techniques of typological division of the artifacts, taking into account their shape, presence of certain qualitative features, as well as consideration of the geographical and cultural areal of similar articles. The produce of the Southern Trans-Urals center is represented by a diverse set of metal tools and by functioning of large settlements with metallurgical specialization — Kulevchi 3, Ustye 1, and Shibaevo 1. In the typology of the tool complex of the Petrovka Culture of the Southern Trans-Urals and the Middle Pre-Tobol region, common Eurasian types dominate, being genetically associated with the centers of the Middle Bronze Age of the Circumpontian Metallurgical Province — the Late Yamnaya-Poltavkino, Catacomb Culture, and metal-producing centers of the Corded Ware Culture — Volsk-Lbische and Balanovo. A pronounced variety of the morphotypes of the tools, especially knives, is characteristic of the initial stage of ethnogenesis of the cultures of the forest-steppe and steppe zone of Eurasia during the transitional period from the MBA to the LBA. Common Eurasian types of tools are characteristic of the cultures of the 1st phase of the Eurasian (West Asian) metallurgical province of the forest-steppe and steppe belt from the Don region to the Irtysh region: Abashevo; Sintashta; Early Srubnaya (Pokrovka); Petrovka (Early Alakul). Specific groups of tools inherent in the tribes of the Petrovka Culture were revealed: axes with a massive head; medium-curved sickles with a prominent handle; socketed spearheads without eyelets and raised ribs along the edge of the socket; forged arrowheads with a through socket; knives with a straight prominent handle — double-edged and single-edged; knives with a forged open socket. In the appearance of some types of tools among the Petrovka population of the Trans-Urals, such as forged socketed tools — chisels, knives, arrows, double-edged knives with a prominent handle, and sickles with a small curvature, the influence of the Abashevo stereotypes of production is discernible. In the meantime, sufficient data have been obtained on the direct imports or on the conjugation of types of the metal tools and weapons of the Sintashta, Petrovka, and Seima-Turbino Cultures in closed complexes.

Keywords: Petrovka culture, metal products, typology of tools, South Trans-Ural region, Middle Tobol region.


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

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)

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, 58°30'N, 86°48'E, 100–150 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.


Baryshnikova O.N., Mikharevich M.V., Grushin S.P., Saybert V.O.

Natural conditions of the formation of the monument of Maly Gonbinsky Kordon-2 of the Odintsovo Culture of Altai in the 4th8th centuries A.D.

The study is aimed at reconstructing the natural and climatic conditions of the Upper Ob River region (south of Western Siberia) in the early Middle Ages (4th8th centuries A.D.), based on the paleosol data obtained from the fortified settlements of Maly Gonbinsky Kordon-2/11 and Maly Gonbinsky Kordon-2 / 6-3. Settlements are located on the terrace of the right bank of the Ob River. The fortification elements are represented by a horseshoe-shaped system of a ditch and a rampart, adjacent to the edge of the above-floodplain terrace, inside which there were dwellings and outbuildings. Archaeological investigations of the settlements permitted to study the sediments of the first terrace above the floodplain and to select core samples for palynological analysis. Application of this method allowed reconstruction of the vegetation during the occupational period of the complex of monuments MGK-2. For interpreting of the actual data, the method of landscape analysis was employed. The need for its application for carrying out paleogeographic reconstructions is warranted by the presence of the relict elements in the morphological structure of the landscapes. To establish their paleogeographic status, within the framework of this study, there was determined the percentage ratio of the amount of pollen and seeds of plants extracted from the deposits of the first above-floodplain terrace, corresponding to the existence of the Odintsovo Culture and belonging to different ecological groups. As the result, the dominance of sparse birch forests and forb dry meadows in the landscape structure of that time was established, whereas the vegetation associations featu-ring pine forests were in the status of progressive elements of the landscape structure. Also, supersedence of birch forb forests by green moss pine forests was revealed. The use of the landscape approach allowed reconstruction of natural conditions of the territory occupied by the complex of fortified settlements of MGK-2. On the basis of the digital elevation model, 3D visualization of the surface of the sediments overlapping the cultural layer of the monuments was rendered, which shows the location of the objects at the lowest elevations of the surface I above the floodplain terrace and the effects of the surface water flow. This necessitated construction of a drai-nage system, the main elements of which might be represented by shallow ditches.

Keywords: Upper Ob River region, Early Middle Ages, landscape, archeology, paleosol analysis, geoinformation modeling.


Grachev M.A., Zelenkov A.S., Sleptsova A.V.

Krasnoyarsky-IV kurgan cemetery of the Great Migration Period

The paper presents the materials of the Great Migration Period from the Omsk Irtysh region, obtained during the excavations of the Krasnoyarsky-IV burial ground. In total, eight burial mounds with 13 burials were examined in 2009 by the expedition of the Omsk State Pedagogical University led by M.A. Grachev. The aim of this work is to determine regional features and chronology of the Krasnoyarsky-IV burial complexes , as well as some details of the historical and cultural development of the local population in the transitional period from the Iron Age to the early Middle Ages. The research methodology is based on comparative and typological analyses of the material complexes, morphological and constructional specifics of the burials, and on anthropological studies, including methods of odontology. According to the results of the study, the chronological interval of the functioning of the necropolis spans the end of the 4th first decades of the 6th centuries A.D., which corresponds with the appea-rance of the Karym type monuments in the territory of the southern taiga of Western Siberia. The signs of artificial skull deformation, erection of small embankments, cremations, and Eastern-European and Central Asian imports suggest involvement of the Karym population in the epochal historical and cultural processes, as well as contacts with neighboring forest-steppe and southern taiga cultures of the Ural-Siberian region. Characteristics associated with the heritage of the cultures of the Early Iron Age, particularly, the Sargatka and Kulayka Cultures, were noted: orientation of the buried; location of the goods in the grave; ornamental and morphological features of the ware; and specific types of bronze decorations. The symbiosis of innovations and traditions of the previous epoch is partly confirmed by the anthropological characteristics in the ratio of the longitudinal and transverse diameters of the crowns of the permanent lower first molars.

Keywords: Karym type, Migration period, south taiga Irtysh River region.


Tkachev A.A.

Early Medieval Kyrgyz burial from the Upper Irtysh region

In Central Asia in the second half of the 1st millennium A.D., there were development and rapid change of large polyethnic state formations of allied congeneric groups of the Turkic people, Uigurs, Kyrgyz, Kimaks, and Kipchaks. The material goods of most of the tribal unions are unidentified and cannot be associated with the names of specific ethnic groups known from the written sources. Continuance and cultural affinity of the successive nomadic communities are based upon identity of the subsistence systems in similar natural and climatic conditions. The Kyrgyz (Khakass) Khaganate, which emerged in the Upper Yenisei region, was one of the Early Medieval states. In the second half of the 9th century, the authority of the Kyrgyz khagans spread onto the vast territories of Central Asia. The main culture-forming attribute of the Kyrgyz ethnos is cremation burials. The study of the cremation burials found beyond the ancestral homeland of the Kyrgyz allows tracing the intertribal contacts and directions of military campaigns of the Kyrgyz during the period of their “greatpowerness”. In this paper, materials of the burial mound of Menovnoe VIII, situated in the territory of the Upper Irtysh 2.1 km south-east from the village of Menovnoe, Tavrichesky district, East-Kazakhstan Region, are analysed. Under the mound of the kurgan, there was a fence with an outbuilding. The central grave contained a cremation burial, and the outbuilding an adolescent burial and a sacrificial pit with a horse carcass split into halves. The grave goods are represented by a bronze waistbelt clasp and a fragment of an iron object. Alongside the horse, there was a quiver with three arrowheads and a rasp-file, as well as part of a bridle (a snaffle bit fixed to a wooden cheekpiece and a bronze buckle tip). The specifics of the burial rite and analysis of the material obtained during the study of the funeral complex allows attribution of the Menovnoe-VIII kurgan 8 graves to representatives of the Kyrgyz-Khakass antiquities, who were in contact with the rulers of the Kimak Khaganate during the second half of the 8th 10th century.

Keywords: Upper Irtysh region, Middle Ages, the Kyrgyz people, barrow, burial rite, goods inventory.


Anoshko O.M.

The First and Second Gostiny Dig Sites in Tobolsk

This article continues a series of papers dedicated to introducing in the scientific discourse materials obtained during archaeological investigations of the cultural layer of Tobolsk the main city of Siberia during the Russian colonization. In the course of investigation of the First and Second Gostiny dig sites, laid at the walls of Gostiny Dvor, there were recorded 24 structures of residential and economic purposes, dated to the period from the 17th to the 19th centuries on the basis of planigraphic and stratigraphic analyses and finds. The residential timber structures were single-storeyed, with saddle notch type corners (“v oblo”) with tails. Beside the houses, there were root cellars. A representative collection of finds is related to the houses: animal bones; breakage of stoneware, chinaware, and glassware; fragments of terracotta, enameled, and polychrome tile, as well as objects made of bone, leather, bark, and wood, mainly dated to the 17th beginning of the 19th century. The most common material, amounted to several thousand items, was represented by pottery shards pots, ewers, jars, and pans, which were used for food cooking, food storage, as well as for other everyday purposes. The porcelain ware is associated with the tea ceremony and is mainly represented by fragments of saucers, and sometimes those of drinking cups, bowls, and teapots. By the provenance, two groups of the porcelain have been identified Chinese and Russian, with characteristic makers marks and patterns. The collection of iron items consists of knives, bridle bits, door hinges, latches, nails, hooks, and fragments of scissors. The leather footwear is represented by one-piece leather-hide shoes, high boots, and shoes with iron heeltaps. Another category of the finds is represented by bone combs, which were ordinarily used not only by women, but also by men. The numismatic collection comprises 36 Russian coins and a counter pfennig struck in the workshop of Johann Adam Dietzel (master 17461768) in Nuremberg. The copper articles are represented by five baptismal cross pendants and by a find unique for the Siberian region a gilded panhagia of a copper alloy with a sliding finial, several liturgical inscriptions, and images, including those of the Crucifixion, the Holy Trinity of the Old Testament, and the Mother of God of the Sign. In ge-neral, the archaeological materials of the digs show that this quarter of the uptown of Tobolsk was part of the residential and commercial housing of the town, while its residents had a relatively high level of material wellbeing.

Keywords: Tobolsk, Upper Posad, 17th19th centuries, residential and utility buildings, artifacts.


Rafikova T.N., Anoshko O.M.

Late Medieval complexes of the forest-steppe and sub-taiga Trans-Urals (based on materials from the settlement of Stary Pogost)

The paper concerns the results of the archaeological investigation of the Late Medieval sites in the forest-steppe and sub-taiga regions of Trans-Urals (Western Siberia). With the example of the fortress of Stary Pogost, and using the materials on all studied Late Medieval sites of the region (the hillforts of Yelyak-Alyp, Maloye Bakalskoye, Chingi-Tura, Isker, Kuchum-gora, Ivanovskoye, Dolgovskoye 1, the sanctuary of Tsingalinskoye), the main aspects of the material culture of the population of the 14th16th centuries have been reconstructed. The building structures are represented by above-ground or slightly sunken permanent buildings with pise-walled hearths. In the cultural level, ashy spots, cumulations of fish-scale, and bones of fish and animals were recorded. The seasonal occupancy of most of the settlements, thin cultural layer, small quantity or complete absence of ceramics complicate distinguishing of the Late-Medieval complexes from the full array of Medieval monuments of the forest-steppe and sub-taiga Trans-Urals. A statistical analysis of the ceramics collections from all Late Medieval sites of the Trans-Urals was carried out. Four main types of the ware were identified. By correlation with contemporaneous collections of the Middle Irtysh, local specifics of the ceramics of the studied region were determined. The small amount of the stoneware was noted. The decline of the ceramics manufacture reflected in the composition of the clay dough, surface finish, and shape of the vessels, and it was manifested by poor ornamentation or complete absence of décor. One type of the ware – large cauldron-shaped vessels with thick vertical or slightly inside-bent walls, flattened bottom, and poor ornamentation – was recorded only in the territory of the forest-steppe and sub-taiga Trans-Urals, as well as in the Ishym River area. This indicates its earlier chronological position (13th14th cc. A.D.) and association with the population of the emerging Siberian Tatars. A widespread became the ware made from organic materials – wood and bark, as well as imported ware, including metallic items.

Keywords: Western Siberia, late Middle Ages, Siberian Tatars.