Results of archaeozoological studies in the settlements of Bol'shaya Berezovaya-2, Malaya Berezovaya-4 and Aleksandro-Nevskoye-II in the Southern Trans-Urals

Rassadnikov A.Yu. (Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation)


                   page 176185


The paper presents the results of studying archaeozoological collections from three settlements of the Late Bronze Age of the Southern Trans-Urals. The archaeozoological material comes from layers associated with the Alakul culture, the Srubno-Alakul period and the finale of the Late Bronze Age. A special emphasis is made in the study on paleopathological analysis of the bones of domestic animals and on discussion of the phenomenon of osteophagia among cattle and small cattle. The paper also suggests a cattle breeding model for a group of the settlements under consideration. For this reconstruction, in addition to archaeozoological collections and the osteophagia phenomenon, paleobotanical and ethnozoological parallels are also used. The study of collections showed that the inhabitants of all three settlements were sedentary pastoralists and that their livelihood during all the time of functioning of the settlements was livestock farming. Traditions and features of livestock farming were consistently unified in all settlements and in all periods of their habitat. Cattle and small cattle breeding was predominantly milk and meat oriented. According to the available data, the character and the role of horse breeding are difficult to reconstruct beforehand. Pig breeding was an insignificant direction of livestock breeding in all three settlements. The most probable model of cattle breeding is preliminary reconstructed as a homestead. One of the most important and interesting features of livestock breeding of all three settlements, which was identified processing the collections, is the phenomenon of osteophagia among cattle and small cattle. Osteophagia was revealed at all stages of functioning of the settlements in the Bronze Age. Previously, the main cause of osteophagia among domestic ungulates could be an intensive dairy exploitation of animals. Attraction of ethnozoological data made it possible to find out that osteophagia also indicates that cattle were kept in the settlements. Some evidence shows that detection of osteophagia can indirectly indicate the presence of animals in the summer. Paleopathological analysis did not reveal unsatisfactory conditions of livestock keeping in any of the settlements under consideration. Almost all pathologies found out are the results of accidental injuries and inflammatory processes. Some pathologies on the cattle bones from Malaya Berezovaya-4 settlement can indirectly indicate the use of bulls as working animals.


Key words: the Bronze Age, the Trans-Urals, the Alakul culture, archaeozoology, livestock farming, osteophagia in ungulates, paleopathology.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2017-38-3-176-185




A.Yu. Rassadnikov

Institute of History and Archaeology of Ural Branch RAS, Kovalevskoy st., 16, Ekaterinburg, 620990, Russian Federation