Afonin A.S., Ivanov S.N., Ryabogina N.E.


(according to the on-site paleobotanical data from the settlement of Marai 1)

The paper focuses on the new archaeobotanical data of the environment near the hillfort of Marai 1 and on evaluation of their role in the paleoeconomical changes in the forest-steppe area in the transition period from the Bronze to the Iron Age. Archaeological materials of the cultural layers characterize various paleoeconomic models which existed in the same landscape niche with a four-century interval. We compared the bottom and the roof level of semi-dugouts by the composition of archaeobotanical macro-remains of two habitation phase: the transition period from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age (IX — the beginning of the VIII century BC), and the Early Iron Age (IV–III century BC). Plant macro analysis revealed that the village was surrounded by grass and forbs meadows during the first and the second occupation phases, the local living environment did not change significantly. The economic activity was more intensive in the early Iron Age, which caused an increase in the proportion of weeds near the dwellings. Not many coastal and aquatic plants were discovered at the roof level, which is indicative that the roof was covered the sod, and cane or reed sheaves were not used. The analysis of saturation with fish bones of the cultural layer into dwellings floor showed equal results for both habitation periods. Basing on pollen and spore data of the cultural layers, we can say that the settlement was surrounded by open forest-steppe landscapes during two occupation phases. Meadow and steppe were the main vegetation background, with a significant share of wet meadows in the flood plain. There were only small birch forests in the immediate vicinity of the settlement in the transition period between the Bronze and the Early Iron Age, but the share of forests near the hillford of Marai 1 began to increase in the Early Iron Age. In general, the reconstruction of local environmental conditions near Marai 1 in the transition period between the Bronze and the Early Iron Ages did not show any signs of an ecological crisis or significant changes in the appearance of landscapes which could cause a return to an appropriating economy. Therefore, reorientation to hunt elk and roe was not synchronized with a widespread appearance of forest along the Ishim River valley. The economy specificity of population of the Krasnoozersk culture, formed as a synthesis among the local pastoralists and groups of taiga fishermen and hunters who came from the North, was not so much determined by natural conditions as by the influence of the newcomers. Later, in the Early Iron Age, there was indeed a slight increase in the proportion of forests in the immediate vicinity of Marai 1 settlement, despite this, livestock breeding was a basis of the hillforts' economy. Fish was unambiguously one of the important components in the diet of the population during both habitation phases, regardless of the basic economic orientation. Thus, there is no reasonable basis yet for indicating that a serious climatic cataclysm dramatically changed the habitat of the population of the Ishim River basin at the boundary between the Bronze and the Early Iron Age.

Key words: ånvironment, macro-remains, palynology, the boundary of the Bronze and the Iron Ages, paleoeconomy, forest-steppe, Western Siberia.


Rassadnikov A.Yu.


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.