Shevnina I.V., Logvin A.V.

On the problem of identifying the Belkaragai type of the Neolithic ceramics in Turgai

The settlement of Belkaragai 1 is located on the shore of a dry lake, 160 km south-west of the city of Kostanay (Kostanay Region, Northern Kazakhstan), at an altitude of 6 m from its bottom. The paper examines the materials of the settlement of Belkaragai 1, where it was possible to identify a new type of ceramics — Belkaragai. The purpose of this work is to determine the cultural and chronological affiliation of all archaeological materials obtained from site B of the settlement of Belkaragai 1. The settlement covers an area of about 15 hectares. Several accumulations of finds were recorded; one of them, designated as site B, attracted attention due to significant quantity of plates. An exploratory dig was set up; the total area of the excavation was 144 m². The analysis, synthesis, generalization, description, comparison, statistical methods, comparative typological method, and the method of analogies were used to distinguish the Belkaragai type of the Neolithic ceramics in Turgai. The raw feedstock and molding masses of the ceramic products were studied using binocular microscopy and petrographic analysis. The main feature of the Belkaragai type ceramics is the combination of the Eneolithic exterior of the vessels with the typical Mahanjar admixture of wool and animal hair in the composition of the clay dough. The Belkaragai type of ceramics accompanied a lamellar complex of stone tools, which is commensurable with the Mahanjar complex but has its own characteristics manifested in the width of the plates and composition of the tools. The peculiarities of the ceramics and flint industry allows placing chronologically the Belkaragai type of ceramics between the Mahanjar (Neolithic) and Tersek (Late Neolithic) antiquities. Besides, it should not go unnoticed that the Belkargai type may be genetically related to the Mahanjar Neolithic antiquities. As the result of the search for analogies to the Belkaragai type in the materials of other Turgai sites (the sites of Duzbay 3, Svetly Dzharkul, and the settlements of Bestamak and Buruktal 1), it was possible to identify pottery which, in terms of its main features, correlates well with the Belkaragai type. It is possible that the Belkaragai-type materials are not a local phenomenon, but have a wider character (at least within the Turgai trough). Most likely, this is a cultural phenomenon that reflects the processes that took place in Turgai at the end of the Neolithic period.

Keywords: Neolithic Turgai, Turgai trough, Makhanjar Culture, Belkaragai settlement, Belkaragai type of ceramics.


Karimikiya A., Rezalou R., Abedi A., Javanmardzadeh A., Mohammadi M.R.

Study and analysis of the Chalcolithic Period of Mughan plain based on archaeological data Yataq-Tepesi, northwest of Iran

The rivers, including Aras, in the Mughan region played an important role in the formation of the prehistoric sites. The Mughan Plain has not received particular attention in terms of the archaeological investigations, as the extensive scientific activities concentrated on the Lake Urmia basin. Yataq-Tepesi is a prehistoric site in the city of Germi (Mughan Region) that became the subject of the scientific research. The main aim of this paper is to discuss the pottery traditions at the site and to determine the chronological sequence of the studied region. In view of further detailed studies on the cultural relations of Mughan population with other territories, and to establish its chronological sequence, two main questions are posed: how do we date Yataq-Tepesi on the basis of cultural information, including pottery traditions? The main hypothesis suggested here is that the site development took place during the Middle Chalcolithic and Late Chalcolithic periods, somewhere between 4500 and 3700 / 3600 BC. The second question relates to the geographical regions that Yataq-Tepesi was in contact with through cultural relations and trade with other regions of northwestern Iran, especially with the region of Qaradagh and the Lake Urmia basin, as well as with the Southern Caucasus.

Keywords: Yataq-Tepesi, Mughan Plain, Germi City, Chalcolithic, South Azerbaijan.


Klimova A.D.

Shapes of the pottery vessels from the burial ground of the Late Bronze Age near the village of Peschanka in the Southern Transurals

In this article, the first experience of applying methods of the historical-and-cultural approach to the analysis of the shapes of the pottery of the Alakul Culture is presented. Eighteen vessels from 13 burials of the Peschanka cemetery were used. The aim of this work is to demonstrate the capabilities of the historico-cultural approach in the study of pottery vessel shapes of the Alakul Culture with the example of the burial ground of the Late Bronze Age in the Southern Transurals. The analysis has been carried out within the framework of the historical-andcultural approach developed by A.A. Bobrinsky. The study of the vessel shapes is conducted at three levels of the analysis: (i) general proportionality of the vessels; (ii) natural structure of the vessel shapes; (iii) the degree of formedness of the functional parts of the vessels. The author has identified the features that characterize the leading trends in the traditions of creating forms of clay vessels in the studied population. At the level of general proportionality, the vessels are evenly distributed among stages 33–35. At the level of the natural structure, a fivepart construction ‘lip + neck + brachium + body + base’ dominates. At the degree of formedness of the functional parts, most vessels exhibit a rudimentary neck, an unformed brachium, and the fully formed body. The listed features of the forms characterize the cultural core of the traditions of molding forms of the clay vessels at the Peschanka burial ground. The traditions of the cultural core are indicative of an early phase of the existence of this cemetery. Shapes of the vessels which differ from the core in their structures and degree of formedness of the body are representative of the later phase of the site's existence. This is confirmed by the traits of independent cultural and chronological features of the morphology of the Alakul and Srubnaya-Alakul ceramics, as well as by two available radiocarbon dates. The results of the conducted research showed the possibility of: a) deriving a cultural core of the traditions, with the example of the specific site; and b) establishing a chronology of burial complexes on the basis of data on the traditions of creating the vessel shapes.

Keywords: ceramics, Alacul Culture, historical-and-cultural approach, vessel shapes, Southern Transurals.


Beisenov A.Z., Gorashchuk I.V.

To the study of economic activities of the population of the Saka period in Central Kazakhstan (on the materials of traceological studies)

The Tasmola Culture of Central Kazakhstan, dated to the 8th–5th centuries BC, was discovered more than half a century ago by M.K. Kadyrbaev. He studied dozens of kurgans, on the materials of which he characterized the mortuary rites and funerary equipment of the new culture at a high professional level. On the basis of the materials from the burial sites, he for the first time considered the features of the economic activity of the population of the Saka period in Central Kazakhstan. Recent materials, including those obtained from the settlements, make it possible to largely extend the existing conclusions and assumptions of those years. At the settlement of Abylai, located in the territory of the Karaganda Region of the Republic of Kazakhstan, six seasons of archaeological excavations were carried out in 2016–2021. First results of the traceological analysis of stone tools from this site have already been published by the authors. In this paper, we report the results of the traceological study of a new series of stone tools from the Abylai settlement. In 2021, 254 stone objects were examined, functions of 202 of which were determined. As the analysis showed, 185 tools were used in various economic areas. The remaining 15 items were identified as kitchen utensils; there was also one mortar for grinding paints and one small altar (‘credence’), which is very often found in the burials of this culture. The 185 tools are divided into 5 classes, each of which belongs to a certain area of economic activity (ancient industries). Among those, 92 articles (49.73 % of the total number) are tools for the earthworks. Fifty articles (27.03 %) belong to the class of grinding tools. These are pestles and upper and lower grindstones, which were used for grinding plant products. Next 26 tools (14.05 %) were used in the processing of skins (tanning industry). Thirteen tools (7.03 %) were used in metalworking, including the work with iron products. Four tools (2.16 %) were used to process bone and wood. Among the results obtained, of a particular importance are the finds of numerous hoes and grating tools, as well as tools for metalworking, on which traces of iron surface are clearly identified. In addition to the whetstones, used for dressing knives and other iron objects, the new series of tools contains stone anvils, on the working surface of which some iron scale preserves.

Keywords: Central Kazakhstan, Tasmola Culture, Saka era, burial ground, settlement, traceological analysis, classes and types of stone tools, economy.


Tkachev A.A., Tkachev Al.Al.

An elite burial of the Early Turkic period from the Upper Irtysh Region

In the second half of the 1st millennium AD, Early Turkic tribes started penetrating the territory of Central Asia, Kazakhstan, and Siberia. Under their influence on the territory of the Upper Irtysh, the process of development of a Kimek-Kipchak state formation began. The initial stage of this process, reflected in the funeral rite and characteristic elements of the material culture, is barely known. In this paper, materials of the kurgan 1 of the barrow cemetery of Menovnoye XII, located in the territory of the Upper Irtysh 2.1 km to the southeast of the village of Menovnoye, Tavrichesky district, East Kazakhstan Region, are analysed. Under the mound of the kurgan was a fence with an annex containing a burial of a person, a dog, and two pairs of horses. The central male burial has been robbed. In the sacrificial pit, located south of the grave, there were remains of two horses: one had been laid on the stomach with its legs bent under the body and head to the east; the other, overlaying the first one, had been placed on a banket, laid on the right side with its legs bent under and head to the east. The man was accompanied by a child lying on the back with the head to the north, placed in a stone box attached to the eastern wall of the fence. The burial of the dog was in a pit placed in the aisle of the western wall of the fence. In the pit of the annex, there were remains of two horses: the complete carcass and the hinder part of the carcass. The grave goods were represented by a leather rendering and parts of a horse harness (iron stirrups and a bone belly buckle). The belts of the horse ammunition were adorned with silver and bronze decorations: badge-triplets, onlays, and buckle tips. To adjust the strain of the check-straps, a bronze buckle with an iron prong was used. Two horses showed traces of saddle bags containing iron adzes. The features of the funeral rituals and analysis of the material remains allow attributing the burials of the kurgan 1 of the Menovnoye XII burial ground to the Early Kimek period of the Turkic epoch within the 7th–8th centuries AD.

Keywords: Upper Irtysh Region, Middle Ages, Turks, Kimaks, mound, funeral rites, clothing inventory.


Adamov A.A.

Lead bullets of the Russian warrior host of 1582–1585 (based on the materials from the settlement of Isker)

The capital of the Siberian Khanate, the Isker hillfort, is located on the right bank of the Irtysh River, 17 km up from the mouth of the Tobol River. A large collection of bullets has been assembled on the monument, which were left by the soldiers who participated in the Yermak's campaign. For the first time, the data on 30 bullets from Isker were reviewed by A.P. Zykov in a joint monograph published in 2017, which included the bullets stored in Tobolsk Museum Reserve. However, some conclusions made by the researcher were not supported by the museum's collections. In total, 23 bullets are stored in the museum, and there are no bullets less than 8 mm in diameter, no bullets with a lead funnel, and no cylindrical bullets produced by cutting a lead rod into pieces. In total, our work made use of the data on 139 bullets that are stored in Tobolsk Museum Reserve and bullets that we found during the field research and collection of artefactual remains from the Isker hillfort since 2007. The bullets can be divided into two groups: molded (137 items) and mechanically manufactured (2 items). For the bullets, 12 variants of the traits, which characterize some features of their manufacture, and traces of impact on the projectiles before expulsion and those that appeared afterwards, were identified. During the manufacture, the bullet shape was attempted to be made spherical; this was recorded for 37.4 % of the items. Twenty-three percent of the bullets feature a seam from the mold sections, 14.4 % of the bullets preserved areas from lead shrinkage when cooling in the mold, 1.4 % of the bullets preserved a lead funnel, and 27.3 % of the bullets have notches made to increase their lethality. Furthermore, 58.3 % of the bullets bear traces of shooting — striation caused by friction of the projectile against the smooth barrel and traces of deformation caused by hitting a hard surface; only 10.1 % of the bullets are significantly undermolded or cut in halves. Summarizing the data on the bullets from the Isker hillfort, it must be noted that the Russian warrior host of 1582–1585 were armed with Russian-made muskets of small calibers of 8–15 mm. At the same time, the vast majority of them had a caliber of 10–14 mm, of which almost 2/3 were of a 12–13 mm caliber. The warriors campaigning in Siberia did not feel a noticeable shortage of ammunition, conducting annual target practice shooting at hard targets. Ball bullets were used, without lead funnels, which were cast from a precisely measured amount of lead. Notched bullets were quite widely used.

Keywords: Isker, Western Siberia, Khanate of Siberia, 16th century, weaponology, Russian warrior firearms, Yermak, lead bullets.


Tataurova L.V., Tataurov S.F., Tataurov F.S., Sopova K.O.

The Russian Frontier in Western Siberia (XVI–XVIII centuries) — an archaeological rendition

The Tara Irtysh region, including the city of Tara, as the main frontier outpost of the 17th–18th centuries, and its rural environs, is chosen as the pilot region in the study of the Russian frontier. Here, extensive archaeological material on the culture of urban and rural populations has been accumulated, and there is a representative body of written sources. The aim of this research is to study, on the basis of a complex analysis, the main developmental strategies of the Tarsky frontier: military, economic, and cultural. This will enable building a multicomponent model of the Russian frontier in the 16th–18th centuries for this region, identifying specifics of its formation, characteristic features, markers, and dynamics of changes as prerequisites for the advancement of the state to the east and southeast. In the study of the military strategy, a special role is assigned to the analysis of defensive structures which, together with weapons, specifically firearms, allowed resisting the militant nomads and defending the bordering territories inhabited by both Russian and indigenous populations. The study of the economic strategy revealed that the Russians in a short time created their own food economy based on the development of agriculture, cattle breeding, and the use of the natural resources — forest foraging, fishing, and hunting. Military confrontations and the formation of a life sustenance system required the development of various crafts: blacksmithing, pottery making, there was a need for clothing and footwear, and for food production. Trade relations were developing. The strategy of the cultural development was based on the paradigm of the Russian world — the spread of the Orthodoxy, into which the indigenous population was converted, including those serving in the Tarsky garrison. However, Muscovian authorities did not inhibit Islamization of the Tatars. Cohabitation of the Russians and Tatars facilitated the spread of the Russian language and Russian culture in the indigenous environment. This manifested in the change of the foundations of the traditional way of life of the native population, its restructuring according to the Russian model, and introduction of the advanced technologies. The Siberian Russian identity was developing on this international foundation.

Keywords: Siberia, frontier, archeology, Russians, Tara Irtysh region.


Bachura O.P., Lobanova T.V., Kardash O.V.

Cattle stock (Bos taurus) in Yeniseysk (Krasnoyarsk Krai) in the 18th–19th centuries (according to the archaeobotanical and archeological data)

As a result of the large-scale rescue excavations on the territory of the town of Yeniseysk (58°27'N, 92°10'E) in Eastern Siberia, a large osteological collection has been assembled. In this study, cattle bone remains from the excavations on the territory of the architectural complex ‘Balandin mansion’ have been analysed. The deposits of the mansion span both the initial period of settlement in Yeniseysk, almost from the moment of its foundation, as well as the late period — the end of the 19th century. The focus of the livestock production in the 17th–19th centuries in Yeniseysk was cattle breeding. The sex and age structure of the herd and size of the body of the animals have been reconstructed using special techniques from the parameters of the lower jaws and size of the metatarsal, metacarpal, and talus bones, as well as the first phalanges. On this basis, the breed characteristics and cases of economic use of the cattle have been described. The presence of a large percentage of newborn animals indicates that the cattle were kept within the town territory. Some amount of beef was imported to Yeniseysk as a result of the trade with indigenous cattle farmers. The reconstructed age and sex structure, where about 50 % of animals are cows older than 4 years, while the proportion of young animals among the slaughtered stock does not exceed 40 %, indicates the meat-and-dairy use of the cattle. The livestock was predominantly horned, and the polledness was not pronounced. Yeniseysk livestock had an average body size. The cattle in Yeniseysk were bigger than those of the Russian population in the forest belt of the European part of Russia. The sizes of cattle from other Russian cities in Siberia are identical to the Yenisei cattle. With a high degree of probability, the described breed can be attributed to the Siberian cattle, which were widespread on the territory of Siberia, the Urals, and the Far East.

Keywords: Eastern Siberia, the Late Middle Ages, Russian population, bones, livestock.


Sataev R.M., Dubova N.A., Sataeva L.V.

Domestic donkey (Equus asinus asinus) at Gonur Depe and its distribution in the Ancient East

The domestic donkey (Equus asinus asinus) is a hardy, versatile working animal. This species still plays an important role in the traditional economy of the peoples of Central Asia and adjacent regions. At the same time, very little is known about the ways in which this domestic species appeared in the region and the nature of its use in the early historical epochs. The morphological features of ancient donkeys are also poorly studied. It is assumed that donkeys appear in the Middle East in the 4th millennium BC. Zooarchaeological data shows that the ancient population of Turkmenistan did not breed the donkey until the Late Bronze Age. Equid bones found at Chalcolithic, Early and Middle Bronze Age sites belong to the onager (Equus hemionus). Donkey bones first appeared in the materials from the excavations of the sites of the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Culture (BMAC). One of the most famous site of BMAC is Gonur Depe, the administrative and ceremonial center of ancient Margiana. It is located in the ancient delta of the Murghab River. Gonur Depe dates from 2500 till 1500 BC. The protourban center includes two main sites — North and South Gonur. During the excavation at Gonur, 142 individual bones and 9 complete skeletons of the domestic donkey were found. Perhaps the isolated donkey bones fell into the trash layers during the destruction of the ritual objects. No traces of purposeful slaughter of these animals and consumption of their meat were found. The donkey skeletons were found inside the human burials or in associated structures, although there are independent burials of these animals as well. So, for example, at the area 8, the donkey, surrounded by ceramic vessels was placed in a tomb made of adobe bricks. In the burials 3200 and 3900, the skeletons of donkeys were found alongside the skeletons of double-humped camels and remains of four-wheeled wagons. In total, 4 burials with carts were found at Gonur, where the skeletons of camels are always present, whereas only in two of them — the skeletons of donkeys. It is possible that the bulls and camels were main draft animals of the Gonur people, while the donkeys mainly played the role of a pack and riding animals. The height at the withers of the Gonur donkeys, reconstructed on the basis of measurements of the complete skeletons, was 115–120 cms. These were animals of average size for their species.

Keyword: Bactria-Margiana archaeological culture, Turkmenistan, Bronze Age, equids, burials with animals.