Muchkas-1 — a new reference complex of the Chuzh’yael’ Culture on the Mezen’ River
Karmanov V.N., Belitskaia A.L.
VESTNIK ARHEOLOGII ANTROPOLOGII I ETNOGRAFII ¹ 1 (60) (2023)
The results of the studies of the Muchkas settlement in 2020 are reported. The site is located on the right bank of the Mezen’ River in Udorsky District of the Komi Republic (northeast of the East European Plain). The exploitation of an unpaved motor road endangered the preservation of dwelling No. 1, which necessitated extensive excavation of an area of 82.5 m2. On the basis of the analysis of the complex of traces and remains, it has been determined that the studied structure is of a rectangular shape in plane, measuring 3.8m×5.5m with the area of 20 m2. Within the building, two hearths were used sequentially or concurrently. Related to them are two external horizontal heatingand-ventilating chimneys. Some information is preserved about the underground part of the structure. This was a frame strengthened at corners by bundles of thinner trunks of trees, possibly, pointed and stuck into the ground. Pine and to a lesser extent spruce, juniper, and birch were used to build the dwelling. The collection of Muchkas-1 contains 3819 objects, including 30 identifiable flint implements, a flint pendant, 21 implements made from non-siliceous rocks, fragments of three ceramic vessels, and debris of calcinated bones. Scrapers predominate in the flint toolset, while knives, awls, and arrowheads are represented to a lesser extent. As the result of the traceological analysis, it has been determined that the arrowhead and the pendant bear traces of long-term carrying in a container, or wearing on the clothing or on the body. Tools made of non-isotropic rock include mostly grinding stones. A hammer stone and an adze are represented by single specimens. Among the faunal remains, bones of reindeer, beaver, marten, wolverine, squirrel, black grouse, goose, and pike have been identified. This attests to the dominant role of hunting in the appropriating economy of the inhabitants of Muchkas-1 settlement. The specifics of the building structure and technical-and-typological parameters of the pottery and stone tools allow attributing Muchkas-1 complex to the Chuzh’yael’ Culture of the final Neolithic period — the Chalcolithic. By virtue of 10 radiocarbon dates, the time of its construction is determined by the end of the 4th — first half of the 3rd mil. BC. The published data advance our understanding of the traditions of housebuilding, stone-working, and pottery-making of the prehistoric population of North-Eastern Europe and permit considering Muchkas-1 complex as a source of reference for the study of the Chuzh’yael’ Culture of the 4th — first half of the 3rd mil. BC.
Keywords: archaeology, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, settlement, semi-subterranean dwelling, ceramics, stone assemblage, house-building, traceology, archaeozoology, radiocarbon chronology.
Acknowlegments. The authors are grateful to all the participants of the excavations of the Muchkas site, especially E.V. Popov, N.A. Volokitina and A.S. Makarov; specialists participating in the analytical studies: N.E. Zaretskaya, A.A. Gol'eva, E.Yu. Gira, P.A. Kosintsev.
Funding. The excavations of Muchkas-1 site were supported by the Department of the Republic of Komi for Cultural Heritage Sites Protection; the analysis and description of the assemblage and field data were carried out according to State Assignment No. 122040800169-1.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Article is published: 15.03.2023
Institute of Language, Literature and History, Komi
Science Centre, Urals Branch of the RAS,
Kommunisticheskaia st., 26, Syktyvkar, 167982, Russian
Belitskaia A.L., Institute of Language, Literature and History, Komi Science Centre, Urals Branch of the RAS, Kommunisticheskaia st., 26, Syktyvkar, 167982, Russian Federation, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4773-0310