Skochina S.N.

Stone tools of the Neolithic settlement of Mergen 8

In this paper, stone tools of the Neolithic settlement of Mergen 8, located in the forest-steppe zone of Western Siberia in the Lower Ishim river basin, are analyzed. The mixed cultural layer of the settlement contained materials from two periods of its inhabitation, associated with the Boborykino Culture of the early Neolithic period and with the pottery ornamented with comb stamp of the late Neolithic period. The identification of the two chronologically different types of pottery raised the question of possibility of separating the stone implements. The aim of this work is to attempt differentiation from the mixed cultural layer of the groups of stone tools associated with a certain cultural and chronological section of the settlement. The peculiarity of the cultural layer of the Mergen 8 settlement was the presence of the dwelling 1 and some pits unimpaired by the upper horizons. In the methodological aspect of this work, stratigraphic and planigraphic analyzes with the aid of the feedstock characteristics of stone formed the basis, on which a relatively clean complex of quartz sandstone and flint was isolated, associated with the filling of the dwelling 1, in which pottery of the Boborykino Culture was found. The differentiation of the stone tools from the mixed layer was based upon the raw material that was found in the bottom part of the dwelling’s ditch, undisturbed by other layers. The complex of the stone tools made of jasper quartzite and schist, established during the field fixation, is associated with the comb-type pottery. Thus, in the course of our study, out of 417 finds of the stone tools 276 (66 % of the entire complex) were assigned to the Boborykino complex, 50 (12 %) to the comb complex, and 91 finds (22 %) were not possible to attribute to any type of pottery. Bearing in mind that separation by feedstock has a certain degree of conventionality, it should be noted that the stone taken from the undisturbed near-bottom part of the Boborykino dwelling 1 reflects the most plausible nature of the stone industry of this period of inhabitation. In addition, in our opinion, attempts to link stone implements and their features with a certain type of pottery facilitate the formation of a clear concept of the development of the stone industry in the region in the Neolithic.

Keywords: forest-steppe zone of the Ishim River basin, settlement Mergen 8, Early Neolithic, Boborykino complex, Late Neolithic, comb complex, mixed cultural layer, stone tools.


Poshekhonova O.E., Pilkina A.A., Dubovtseva E.N.

Eneolithic pottery complex of the settlement of Pyakupur 3 (north of Western Siberia)

In this paper, a unique pottery complex of the Eneolithic period from the settlement of Pyakupur 3, located along the upper course of the Pur River in the sub-zone of the northern taiga, has been analyzed. The aim of this research is to establish cultural traditions of the population who left the settlement behind and to determine the place of the materials within the current system of historical and cultural types identified in the north of Western Siberia. The material for the research is represented by morphological traits of the pottery and by some elements of the pot-tery technology as a manifestation of the cultural traditions of the populations who inhabited the headland of the terrace of the Pyakupur River in the Eneolithic period. In total, 38 vessels have been included in the analysis, most of which are represented by fragments of the original walls and bottoms; only eleven containers had a collared rim. For the purpose of this work, conventional methods of archaeological research were employed: morphological, statistical, and typological. Furthermore, technical and technological analysis of a part of the collection was carried out with the aid of a binocular microscope MBS-10 following the method of A.A. Bobrinsky. The pottery features the following basic traits: decorated, smaller, and thin-walled vessels. Among the shapes, a significant proportion of cymbiforms stands out, with the rest of the vessels being round-bottomed and one pot — a cup with a ridge. As the ornamentation tools, crested (predominant) and smooth stamps were used, rarely profiled (wire staple), although they practically are not found side by side on the same vessel. The main technique of the ornamentation was embossing. At the level of elements and motifs, presswork and horizontal rows predominate; a significant percentage in the compositions is represented by geometrical patterns. The compositions are more often complex, combining several motifs. It has been found that the pottery of the settlement of Pyakupur 3, exhibiting considerable idiosyncrasy, closely resembles the wares of forest-tundra and tundra settlements, rather than the complexes of the northern-taiga Yasunskaya Culture or antiquities of the middle taiga of Western Siberia, suggesting some cultural affinity of the populations inhabiting these remote from each other territories. However, chronologically, Pyakupur 3 precedes the sites of Gorniy Samotnel 1, Salekhard 1, Ust-Vasyegan 1, and the later, still Eneolithic, settlement of Vary-Khadyta II. The paucity of the source base from the territories of the basins of the rivers Pur and Taz yet does not allow one to answer multiple questions following from this conjecture.

Keywords: ceramic vessels, traditions, Eneolithic, north of Western Siberia, Pyakupur 3 settlement.


Degtyareva A.D., Kuzminykh S.V.

Metal tools of the Petrovka Culture of the Southern Trans-Urals and Middle Tobol: chemical and metallurgical characteristics

In this paper, the chemical composition of tools and ingots of the Petrovka Culture of the Southern Trans-Urals and Middle Tobol region is characterized with identification of main recipes of the alloys using several analytical methods (spectral, X-ray fluorescence, and atomic emission spectrometry analyses carried out in the laboratories of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences). The complexes of the Petrovka Culture of the Sou-thern Trans-Urals have been dated by a set of AMS 14C dates to 19th–18th centuries BCE. Recently introduced in the scientific discourse 27 AMS 14C dates (settlement of Stepnoe and burial grounds of Stepnoe 1, 7 and 25) established an earlier interval of the Petrovka series — 2133–1631 BCE and point to the synchroneity of the cultures at the northern periphery of the Sintashta area in the local micro-region of the Southern Trans-Urals. The results of the analytical study of 106 metal tools and 70 ingots of the Petrovka Culture of the Southern Trans-Urals and south of Western Siberia are reported. The statistical processing of the analytical results with plotting correlation diagrams of Sn–As, Sn–Pb, As–Ag, As–Sb, and a frequency distribution histogram for the proportions of Sn allowed casting the metal into 4 metallurgical groups — pure copper and tin, arsenic-tin and arsenic bronzes. The first group subdivided into oxide and sulfidic samples. According to the geochemical peculiarity of the metal from the metal industry centers of Ustie 1, Kulevchi 3 and Shibaevo 1, several sources of oxide-carbonated ores were utilized for copper smelting — malachite and azurite-malachite deposits, while sulfidic chalcocite-covelline ores, and sometimes chalcopyrite-pyrite depositions, were added to the melt as a flux agent. The admixture of sulfides was carried out as an experiment and was not purposeful. Petrovka metallurgists supplied copper to the workshops of the Middle Tobol region — the sites of Ubagan 1, 2, 3 and Kamyshnoe 1, 2. The centers of the Petrovka Culture of the Southern Trans-Urals were dominated by the production of pure copper implements, including the metal smelted from the oxidized ore. To a lesser extent, low-alloyed bronze was used — Cu+Sn, Cu+Sn+As and Cu+As, whose feedstock was supplied by the kindred tribes of Central and Eastern Kazakhstan in the form of ingots and finished products along the eastern part of the Trans-Eurasian transport corridor of metal trade — over the Turgay trough and further along the extensive river system of the Tobol River and its tributaries. The highest concentration of tools of alloyed bronzes was recorded in the burial grounds of the Middle Tobol, which can be explained from the point of view of the prestige value of such goods and observance of special ceremonial practices.

Keywords: Southern Trans-Urals, Petrovka Ñulture, metallurgy, geochemical composition, ore sources, metallurgical contacts.


Ryabogina N.E., Yuzhanina E.D., Afonin A.S., Yakimov A.S., Novikov I.K.

Paleoenvironmental studies of lakeside watershed settlements of the Tobol-Ishim interfluve (Zolotoe 1 settlement, Kurgan Oblast)

During the study of the process of settling people in the territory of the forest-steppe and steppe zones of Western Siberia, both valleyside settlement sites of the Bronze Age and watershed lakeside settlements have been identified. The settlement of Zolotoe 1 is one of the few sites of the Late Bronze Age investigated by excava-tions and confined to the vast water-dividing surface between the rivers Tobol and Ishim in Kurgan Oblast. Two stages of population have been identified, associated with the Alakul and Alekseyevka-Sargary Cultures. Despite the change of the resource base from alluvial to watershed, the archaeological materials do not indicate differences in the economies and traditions of the Alakul population of this watershed settlement from the analogous valley sites. Due to the lack of data on the environment of such watershed settlements of the Bronze Age, the analysis has been carried out on the pollen data from the benthal deposits of Lake Zolotinskoe nearby the settlement (off-site data), carbonated macro-residues from various archaeological contexts of the occupational layer (on-site data), and the soil profiles on the settlement and beyond it (on-site data). By means of the radiocarbon dating it was found that the palynological data from the lake core sample show the environmental conditions of only the last third — end of the 2nd millennium BCE, beginning from the 24th century BCE; hence, it has not been possible to reconstruct the specifics of the natural environment surrounding the Alakul population of the site during the first phase of the settlement. The overall environmental background for the time depth of the Alakul Culture has been analyzed on the data from the neighboring regions. It appears that it does not correspond with the arid phase but is related to warm, but moderately humid conditions. However, already in the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE (3,500–3,300 cal. BP), probably, there were changes towards more arid and/or warm climate, which brought about adverse conditions for the forestation in the forest-steppe, advance of the steppe and a lowering of the groundwater table. This is also confirmed by the results of the study of Lake Zolotinskoe. Beginning from the 24th century BCE, the watershed areas of the Tobol basin were dominated by open meadow-steppe landscapes with small birch forests, while the climate was more arid than it is today. The lower part of the lake waterside was heavily waterlogged; the lake probably shoaled in summer, but did not overdry. Such a natural environment was the background for the second period of population of the settlement by the bearers of the Alekseyevka-Sargary Culture and, probably, was not changing up until the end of the 2nd millennium BCE. The most part of the carbonized macro-residues of the Alakul and the Sargary cultural layer belongs to ruderal flora, which suggests a long-term inhabitation on the settlement. The analysis of the soil buried underneath the cultural layer suggests that during the emergence of the settlement the natural conditions were similar to modern, but differed in a better water availability.

Keywords: paleoenvironment, pollen, carbonized macro remains, Late Bronze Age, paleosol analysis.


Anoshko O.M., Zimina O.Yu., Kostomarova Yu.V.

Zavodoukovskoe 11 — a fortified settlement of the Late Bronze Age of the Trans-Urals

This publication is aimed at introducing the Late Bronze Age materials obtained during the five-year excavations of the fortified settlement of Zavodoukovskoe 11 located in the forest-steppe area of the Tobol River basin. This is the first site of the Pakhomovskaya Culture with defense structures. The aim of the analysis of its materials is their comprehensive characterization and determination of their place among the Andronoid antiquities of the Late Bronze Age. In the paper, the methods of planistratigraphic observation, relative and absolute dating, and typological and traceological determination of artefacts have been used, as well as statistical analyses in the study of the pottery. The Late Bronze Age complex comprises remains of six structures, most of the pits beyond their boundaries, and defense lines represented by the earthwork of a mound and two non-contemporaneous ditches. The buildings investigated at the settlement of Zavodoukovskoe 11 can be characterized as frame-andpillar semiburied dwellings (half-dugouts?) of a rectangular or square shape, with an entrance porch or with an additional chamber — a housekeeping area, as well as with the inground hearths delineated by grooves. These housebuilding elements bear a similarity with the materials of other Pakhomovskaya Culture sites. The Late Iron Age toolset of Zavodoukovskoe 11 bears evidence of a population engaged in fishing, metalwork, leathermaking, pottery making, spinning, and stone working. The faunal materials and fishing items suggest that the economy of the Pakhomovskaya population was complex, combining elements of producing and procuring. The pottery complex of Zavodoukovskoe 11 is a peculiar one and combines ornamental traits of two cultural traditions — Pakhomovskaya and Suzgun. The high density of wire staples, rows of vertical impressions, and horizontal lines formed by comb stamp impart a Suzgun flair to the ceramics of Zavodoukovskoe 11. The similarity of the pottery of this site with both Pakhomovskaya as well as Suzgun pottery materials may indicate its transitional nature, the direct succession between the two Cultures. On the basis of the existing chronological margins for the Andronoid Cultures, radiocarbon dates from the Zavodoukovskoe 11 site, and specifics of its pottery complex, it has been suggested that this fortified settlement likely was functioning in the 13th–12th centuries.

Keywords: Trans-Urals, Tobol-Iset’ interfluve, Late Bronze Age, Pakhomovskaya Culture, Suzgun Culture, fortified settlement.


Tishkin A.A., Bondarenko S.Yu., Mu Ts., Semibratov V.P.

Pottery vessels from a collective burial in the mound of the Pazyryk Culture (Northern Altai)

In one of the barrows examined in 2007 at the site of Choburak-II (the territory of the Northern Altai), an intrusive, and not quite ordinary, a collective burial of people was found. Accompanying burials of two horses were also recorded there and a variety of artefacts was found (a fragment of a stone grain grinder, elements of horse harness, miniature knives made of non-ferrous metal, a dagger, a chisel, a quiver hook, fragments of gold foil from clothing decoration and other items). The recovered materials made it possible to attribute the excavated burial site to the Pazyryk Culture and to carry out its dating, including the radiocarbon method. In this publication, a special attention is given to the pottery finds. Two vessels appeared to be severely damaged, and to determine their parameters it was necessary to use the bespoke technique of computer-aided restoration based on photogrammetry and aimed at obtaining the most probable shape of these ancient containers. In this respect, an algorithm, being tested by the authors, of modern demonstration in publications of the category of products in question was implemented. Based on the reconstructions performed in the paper, the restored dimensions of the pottery vessels are given, as well as their closest analogies. The third pot (of a closed jar shape with well-marked handles) was found intact. It reflects a different cultural tradition. Such products are very rare in the Altai Mountains. However, they are found in the neighboring and somewhat remote territories. This circumstance influenced the interpretation of the recorded situation. Pottery ware is an important archaeological source. Unfortunately, it has not yet become a separate research area in the study of the Pazyryk Culture. It is hoped that the developments of the authors of the paper will contribute to the research. The specific nature of this additional burial of the deceased person is noted. The investigated archaeological site to a certain extent may reflect the processes of interaction of the Pazyryk population with their northern neighbors. The body of the considered data complements the content and features of the culture of the Altai population of the Scythian-Saka period.

Keywords: Altai, Pazyryk Culture, Scythian-Saka time, Choburak-II, ceramic vessels, computer restoration.


Berlina S.V., Tsembalyuk S.I.

Dwellings of the population of the Early Iron Age Baitovo Culture in the Tobol-Ishim forest-steppe

In this paper, the results of the study of dwellings of the Baitovo Culture population of the Early Iron Age in the Tobol-Ishim forest-steppe are presented. The research was aimed at identification of types of dwellings prevailing among the Baitovo population, analysis of their structural features and graphical reconstruction of two structures: a surface dwelling from the settlement of Dachnoe 1 and a half-dugout from the settlement of Lake Chencher 6. In total, 42 Baitovo dwellings studied by excavations were analyzed. Investigation of the sites by small areas does not permit characterization of the building system of the Baitovo settlements. Location of the dwellings on sandy soils, surface character of the buildings and rebuilding resulted in that not always it is possible to identify the edge of the ditch or the contour of the building. Due to these circumstances, it is possible to make general observations on the structure of dwellings, although reconstruction of certain detached buildings is complicated. The procedures used in reconstructing the dwellings are based upon the analysis of the position of the remains of the structure within the planigraphy and stratigraphy of excavation areas. Identification of basic elements of the building frame is based upon the analysis of mutual spatial arrangement of the post pits, building ditches etc. For the reconstruction of the exterior of the structures, the method of constrained reconstructions was employed, which allows identification of the object exterior and analysis of its possible variants. The classification of the 42 Baitovo dwellings showed that they are represented evenly by two types: half-dugout (21 structures) and surface (21 structures) structures. The surface structures of a subrectangular shape, with a shallow ditch in the center and without it, are enclosed within grooves or barrow pits. Among the dwellings sinking into the ground, two groups stand out — buried insignificantly in the subsoil for up to 10–20 cm and half-dugouts sunk into the subsoil for more than 25 cm. Altogether, two structural types of dwellings were identified in the Baitovo housebuilding: framed buildings (surface and buried into the ground) and dwellings with walls built in a log-crib technique. Therefore, the appearance of a new type of dwellings in the Baitovo housebuilding has been identified — the log-crib buildings, as well as the traditions of buildings sinking into the ground. Most likely, this is due to the influence of the housebuilding traditions of the Gorokhovo (sinking buildings, appearance of long corridor-exits or passages) and Itkul (surface framed dwellings) Cultures.

Keywords: Baitovo Culture, Early Iron Age, Trans-Urals, Tobol-Ishim river region, housebuilding.


Tigeeva E.V., Tsembalyuk S.I.

Metallurgical groups of non-ferrous metal products of the Baitovo Culture in the settlement of Marai 1

In the paper, the results of an analytical investigation of 28 artefacts made of non-ferrous metal originated from the materials of the settlement of Marai 1 of the Lower Ishim River basin of Tyumen Oblast are presented. Among the items were arrowheads, awls, decorations, plates, drops an ingot and a bracket attributed to the Baitovo Culture. The upper cultural horizon of the settlement marks the site of the Baitovo Culture of the beginning of the Early Iron Age, dated to the 4th–2nd centuries BCE. Based on the results of the spectral analysis carried out in the laboratory of nature sciences of the Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, five metallurgical groups were identified. The artefacts belonging to the groups of pure copper (14 items) and dopped alloys (14 items) split evenly. Ten items are made of tin bronze. Two items belong to the tin-arsenic bronze group and one to the arsenic bronze group. The plate made of a copper-based alloy with the additions of tin, arsenic and silver represents an isolated item. A correlation was identified between the type of the artefact and the material it is made of. It was most prominent with the example of the arrowheads made of pure copper and the implements made of dopped alloys. There is a discernible continuation of the traditions of the epoch of bronze manifested in the use of both dopped alloys, as well as pure copper. For the local production, feedstock material was used, possibly supplied in ingots from the metallurgical centers of Central and Eastern Kazakhstan, which were rich in tin ore deposits. Pure copper, as well as the arrowheads (made of pure copper) were probably imported from the workshops of the Itkul Culture. The Urals metal could have also been distributed along the river system of the Tobol and Ishim onto quite far-off territories. From the 7th–5th centuries BCE, the Itkul metallurgical center was practically a monopoly supplier of copper and products for a range of the cultures (including the Baitovo Culture) of the mountain-forest and forest-steppe Trans-Urals and Western Siberia, and it was actively functioning until the 3rd century BCE. Its distinctive feature was the production of throwing weapons from pure oxidized copper. Therefore, the orientation of the historical-metallurgical relations on both western centers, as well as eastern, has been ascertained, which indicates extensive exchange-of-goods relations of the groups of the Baitovo population. However, the decrease of the supply of tin-ore alloys, as well as the decline of the Itkul metallurgical center towards the 3rd century BCE resulted in the search for new sources of feedstock material and expedited the transition to the ironwork production.

Keywords: metallurgical groups, Early Iron Age, X-ray fluorescence analysis, pure copper, tin bronze.


Kostomarova Yu.V.

An experience of the experimental use-wear analysis of tools made of pottery shards (based on the materials of the fortified settlement of Maray 4)

The paper concerns the determination of the functional purpose of scraper-shaped pottery tools of the fortified settlement of Marai 4 of the initial period of the Early Bronze Age. The site is located in the territory of the Lower Ishim River basin in Kazan District of Tyumen Oblast. Its materials are dated to the 6th (7th) — end of the 5th centuries BCE; culture-wise, they belong to the circle of the Zhuravlevo antiquities. The collection of the pottery scrapers of the site amounts to 78 items. Initially, the majority of them were interpreted as scrapers for fleshing. However, a series of features gave rise to doubts, and the problem of the functional purpose of the scraper-like implements from Maray 4 remained open. In order to elaborate and correct the conclusions, in 2019–2022 the author conducted experiments on the use of pottery shards in the process of skin treatment, wood scraping, abrasive treatment of copper and bronze, in pottery making — at the stage of smoothing, compacting and sleeking the walls of pottery containers. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of the experimental use-wear study of the scraper-like pottery artefacts from the Early Iron Age sites of Maray 4. The investigation is based upon the use of the experimental use-wear method, which involves the study of the traces of wear on the surface of implements, and their functional attribution. The use-wear analysis and microphotography of the traces of wear were carried out with the aid of a pancratic microscope MC-2 Z00M with a magnification from 10× to 40×with a Canon EOS-1100 camera. The performed studies allowed refining the previously conjectured hypothesis on the functional purpose of the scraper-shaped tools from Maray 4 and reaching the conclusion that most of them were used for smoothing and compacting the surface of pottery vessels. This conclusion is supported by the preliminary view of V.V. Ilyushina based upon the comparison of available reference experimental samples of surface treatment of clay vessels with pottery tools with the vessels from the site.

Keywords: Lower Ishim river areas, the beginning stage of the Iron Age, the Maray 4 site, the usewear analysis, the ceramic scrapers.