The burial Ogonyok in the middle Lena River region: a new site of the Bel'kachi Culture  

Alekseev A.N., Dyakonov V.M., Solovyova E.N., Nikolaev E.N., Boeskorov G.G.

 

Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2022, 1 (56)

 

https://doi.org/10.20874/2071-0437-2022-56-1-6

 

              page 7387

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Abstract

The burial Ogonyok in the middle Lena River region: a new site of the Bel'kachi Culture The article presents the results of a comprehensive study of the Ogonyok burial, discovered and investigated in 2016 in the city of Yakutsk, Central Yakutia, in the middle reaches of the Lena River. The purpose of the study was to determine its cultural and chronological characteristics, to identify the features of the funeral rite and specifics of the accompanying grave goods. In addition to historical and archaeological methods, the methods of trasological analysis of stone tools, radiocarbon dating and date calibration, isotope analysis of human and animal bone collagen, and determination of the species composition of the fauna that was part of the burial equipment were used. The burial place was destroyed during land works, as such, only part of the accompanying equipment and osteological material was preserved for the analyses. Excavations of the remains of the burial were carried out, which made it possible to determine approximately its orientation, the position of the deceased and the depth from the day surface. Similarities to the accompanying goods, which included a flint core and three blades, an arrowhead, polished adze, bone composite arrowhead with a blade in the groove, anthropomorphic figurine from a mammoth tusk, fragments of a bone polisher and a needle, as well as faunal remains, were found in the complexes of the Bel'kachi Neolithic Culture of Northeast Asia of the end of the 5th3rd mil. BC. Further analogies were identified in the synchronous Neolithic cultures of the Baikal, Transbaikalia, Lower Amur region, Primorsky Krai and Chukotka. The funeral ritual of filling the grave with ocher also brings the Ogonyok burial closer to other Bel'kachi cemeteries. Paleozoological analysis has shown that bones of lynx, wild reindeer and geese were present in the burial. Four AMS radiocarbon dates were obtained from human and animal bones, which attribute the burial in the first quarter of the 4th mil. BC. An interesting fact was the identification of an offset in the age of human bones relatively to the age of animal bones, the former being approximately 200 years older, which is apparently associated with freshwater reservoir effect. Analysis of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes demonstrated that the human diet was based on meat food, as well as, apparently, fish products, with a minor inclusion of wild plants. The burial of Ogonyok is one of the few pure sites of the Bel'kachi Neolithic Culture in Yakutia.

Keywords: Yakutia, Middle Lena, Neolithic, funeral rite, funerary inventory, freshwater reservoir effect, Bel'kachi Culture.

 

 

Creative Commons License

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

Accepted: 16.12.2021

Article is published: 21.03.2022

 

Alekseev A.N., Institute for Humanitarian Studies and Problems of the Indigenous Peoples of the North SB RAS, Petrovsky st., 1, Yakutsk, 677027, Russian Federation, E-mail: alekan46@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9488-573X
 

Dyakonov V.M., Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography Siberian Branch RAS, prosp. cad. Lavrentieva, 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russian Federation E-mail:  arkh_muz@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4899-6148
 

Solovyova E.N., Arctic Research Center of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Kurashova st., 22, Yakutsk, 677000, Russian Federation, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography Siberian Branch RAS, prosp. cad. Lavrentieva, 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russian Federation, E-mail:  lenasolo05@mail.ru https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8920-3696
 

Nikolaev E.N., Institute for Humanitarian Studies and Problems of the Indigenous Peoples of the North SB RAS, Petrovsky st., 1, Yakutsk, 677027, Russian Federation, E-mail: nikolaev.ykt@gmail.com, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1432-7517
 

Boeskorov G.G., Institute of Geology of Diamond and Noble Metals SB RAS, prosp. Lenina, 39, Yakutsk, 677891, Russian Federation, E-mail: gboeskorov@mail.ru https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2360-7740