Neolithic pottery from the settlement of Mergen 6 in the Lower Ishim (groups III and IV): characteristics and interpretation

Enshin D.N.  



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In this paper, a ceramic complex (groups III and IV) of the early Neolithic settlement of Mergen 6 (Lower Ishim River region, Western Siberia, 7th millennium BC) is examined. The aim of the work is to analyze the materials through the prism of contacts, connections and mixing of different cultural traditions in the early Neolithic period of the Trans-Urals and Western Siberia. The research is based on the elements of the historical-cultural and formal-classification approaches. The source base comprises 284 vessels. As the result of the analysis carried out in several stages (morphology of the vessels, tools and techniques for applying ornamentation, structural components of the decor, the nature of the systematic organization of the ornamental components, and relationship between the image components and structure of the vessels shape), it was found that the products of group III correspond to the tradition of making vessels with relief bands of the taiga zone of Western Siberia and the Urals (Satyginsky, Mulymyinsky types, etc.), whereas those of group IV demonstrate a mixture of all pottery traditions identified within the complex. On this basis, the main directions of the sociocultural ties of the ancient population of the Lower Ishim region in the early Neolithic period have been determined western (the Middle and Southern Trans-Urals), north-western (the taiga zone of Western Siberia and the southern Northern Trans-Urals), and, probably, southern (the steppes of modern Northern Kazakhstan). One of the most important factors of the variability of the early Neolithic pottery has been identified the interaction and mixing of different communities. All this allows speaking about the settlement of Mergen 6 as a center (cultural, economic, sacred (?)) at the intersection of landscape and geographical zones (steppe forest, Trans-Urals Western Siberia) and ways of dispersal
of various groups of the ancient population.

Keywords: Early Neolithic, Trans-Urals, Western Siberia, Lower Ishim River Region, Mergen 6, ceramic complex, vessels with relief bands, mixed cultural traditions.


Funding. The research was carried out on the basis of the state assignment, the project No. 121041600045-8.


Creative Commons License

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

Accepted: 03.03.2021

Article is published: 15.06.2022


Enshin D.N., Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation, E-mail:,