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2022 | Buch

Geoarchaeology and Archaeological Mineralogy

Proceedings of 7th Geoarchaeological Conference, Miass, Russia, 19–23 October 2020

herausgegeben von: Dr. Natalia Ankusheva, Dr. Igor V. Chechushkov, Dr. Ivan Stepanov, Dr. Maksim Ankushev, Dr. Polina Ankusheva

Verlag: Springer International Publishing

Buchreihe : Springer Proceedings in Earth and Environmental Sciences


Über dieses Buch

This book of Springer Proceedings in Geoarchaeology and Archaeological Mineralogy contains selected papers presented at the 7th Geoarchaeology Conference, which took place during October 19–23, 2020, at the South Urals Federal Research Center, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Miass, Russia. The Proceedings combine studies in archeometry, geoarchaeology, and ancient North Eurasian technologies, including paleometallurgy, stone tools investigation, past exploitation of geological resources, bioarchaeology, residue analysis, pottery, and lithics studies. This book also specializes in various non-organic materials, rocks, minerals, ores, and metals, especially copper and metallurgical slags. Many types of research also use modern analytical methods of isotopic, chemical, and mineralogical analysis to address the composition and structure of ancient materials and the technological practices of past human populations of modern Russia, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Mongolia.

This book is intended for archaeologists, historians, museum workers, and geologists, as well as students, researchers from other disciplines, and the general public interested in the interdisciplinary research in the field of archaeology and archaeological materials, strategies and techniques of past quarrying, mining, metallurgy and lithic technologies at different chronological periods in Eurasian steppe and adjacent forest zone.



Ancient Metallurgy: General Issues

Internal and External Impulses for the Development of Ancient Chinese Metallurgy

There are two points of view on the origins of Chinese metallurgy. The most widespread idea is that it originated and developed as a result of impulses from the steppe cultures of Southern Siberia. The second point of view: Chinese metallurgy originated in the Neolithic of the Yangtze basin and then spread to the Yellow River basin. This version explains the paradox of Chinese metallurgy better, as copper-tin alloys replaced pure copper. However, the analysis of the Neolithic materials of the Yangtze and Yellow River basins showed that metallurgical production was there in a much-underdeveloped form. The number of copper objects has been exaggerated due to erroneous dating. The earliest well-documented smelting sites appeared in the late 3rd millennium BC in Gansu, but there is no evidence of their connection with Siberian cultures. There is no evidence of Andronovo influences. The Seima-Turbino impulse, which coincided with the beginning of the Shang Dynasty around the 16 century BC, probably, had an impact. But it spread not from the west but the north. This impulse probably stimulated the use of copper-tin alloys, but the use of bronzes in a ritual context was the main reason.

Stanislav A. Grigoriev
Iron Sources and Technologies During the Early Iron Age in the Northern Pontic Region

The questions about the early stages of development of iron technology (the first millennium BC) in the Northern Pontic region are considered in the article. Three traditions of iron making were identified: the Eastern European, the Caucasian/Ancient Oriental, and the Hallstattian (Carpathian-Danube). It is important to compare geochemical and technological features of the earliest iron items belonging to different iron-making traditions and to determine the iron ore sources. The precise analytical methods (Metallography, SEM–EDX, pXRF, XRD, m-CT) were used for the determination of geochemical and mineralogical composition of iron items and slags from the sites of Saharna Mare (Hallstatt tradition) and Tarasova Balka (the Eastern European tradition). As a result of investigations, various iron manufacturing technologies and used iron ore sources were determined.

Marianna A. Kulkova, Maya T. Kashuba, Aleksandr M. Kulkov, Tatyana V. Ryabkova, Mariya N. Vetrova, Aurel Zanoci, Olga V. Bubnova
Lead Isotope Analysis of the Bronze Age Metal in the Steppe Cis- and Trans-Urals

The Southern Urals in the 4th-2nd millennium BC was a key mining and metallurgical region of Eurasia with hundreds of copper deposits and thousands of ore occurrences developed from the beginning of the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, where three major (the Trans-Urals, Cis-Urals, and Ural-Mugodzhary) mining and metallurgical centers were located. Lead isotope ratios are used in archaeology to identify raw materials for the production of metal in antiquity. The lead isotope composition does not change during metallurgical processes and remains constant regardless of the ore roasting temperature or Red-Ox conditions of smelting this work aims to identify the potential sources of ore raw materials for the production of many copper artifacts of the steppe Cis-Urals and Trans-Urals of the Bronze Age by multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) lead isotope analysis. The results of lead isotope analysis made it possible to obtain new data for many copper artifacts (products and ingots) of various periods of the Bronze Age (4th-2nd millennia BC). The detected variations in lead isotopes indicate a rather clear connection between copper artifacts and the original ores of the Trans-Urals or Cis-Urals.

Daria V. Kiseleva, Natalia G. Soloshenko, Tatyana G. Okuneva, Evgeny S. Shagalov, Vitaly V. Tkachev, Sergey V. Bogdanov, Maksim N. Ankushev, Lyudmila N. Koryakova, Nikolay B. Vinogradov

Ancient Metallurgy: Case Studies

Metalworking and Metallurgical Slags in Tokskoe Late Bronze Age Settlement

The paper is devoted to the copper ore sources and the peculiarities of the metallurgical process in the Tokskoe Late Bronze Age settlement (first half of 2nd millennium BC). The results of archaeological excavations of past years are briefly described. House structures with pit-wells were found at the settlement; stone works related to metallurgy; a large number of copper ore fragments, metallurgical slags, metal artifacts. The mineralogy of slags and the composition of minerals were established by optical microscopy and SEM-EDS. Trace elements in sulfides and copper droplets were determined by LA-ICP-MS. As a result of the interpretation of mineralogical and geochemical data, it was established that rich chalcocite-covellite ores were exploited at the Tokskoe settlement. This is evidenced by the confinement of the settlement to copper sandstone deposits, the presence of relict and newly formed sulfides in slags, impurities of Ba and Cl in slag glass, as well as S, Ag, and Pb in copper droplets. The use of copper sandstones as raw materials and the technology of the metallurgical process at Tokskoe settlement are typical for the Late Bronze Age Srubna assemblages of the Southern Cis-Urals.

Maksim N. Ankushev, Ildar A. Faizullin, Dmitry A. Artemyev, Ivan A. Blinov
Arrowheads from Two Sarmatian Burials of the One Mound: Metal Composition and Shape Relation

The arrowheads from Mound 3, Burial pit 1 (240 items), and Burial pit 2 (130 items) of the Kichigino I Burial Ground were subjected to the XRF analysis. In both burials of Mound 3, the arrowheads have a similar chemical composition. The admixtures are Ni, As, Sb, Pb, and Bi with contents that do not exceed 1 wt%. In individual cases As content can reach 34.2%. The arrowheads metals are divided into 7 groups. Metal groups are distributed unevenly. Pure copper arrowheads prevail, then As minor admixture items follow them in numbers. The items with a high concentration of Sb and As are rare. Other metals are found in low quantities. Communities conducted burying in the burials 1 and 2 of mound 3 used mainly copper and its alloys of local manufacture. They did not practice copper alloying for arrowheads production.

Ivan A. Blinov, Alexander D. Tairov
The Ancient Bronzes of Bashkiria: Findings on the Composition of Non-ferrous Metal Obtained at the Burial Grounds of the Bronze Age

The article presents the results of the elemental analysis of the composition of metal objects obtained at the burials dating back to the Srubnaya Culture of the Southern Urals. The data was received by energy-dispersive analysis of the most common category of jewelry—bronze bracelets. The predominant shapes are open grooved bracelets with rounded ends, as well as bracelets made of rods and twisted wires with semicircular and triangular sections. The primary purpose of this work is to provide a general description of the composition of the ancient metal and compare series of findings from the Urals and the Trans-Urals. The first stage of the work involved the examination of ten samples from the Trans-Ural group of sites, namely objects from Tavlykaevsky burial grounds I and II, and seven ornaments from the Srubnaya culture burials of the Staro-Yabalaklinsky cemetery (Urals). The leading metallurgical group is tin bronze with ternary alloys of copper, tin, and lead or copper, tin, and antimony. In terms of its composition, the series of findings was quite clearly differentiated. In the Trans-Ural assemblages, objects with added lead were mainly found in burials of the Tavlykaevsky I burial ground, while in the Tavlykaevsky II burial ground, there was a predominance of copper-tin alloys with antimony inclusions. In the Staro-Yabalaklinsky necropolis, an object might contain an admixture of antimony and lead. Depending on the elemental composition of copper-based metals in various categories of objects, it is hypothetically possible to reconstruct the sources of metal supply of the South Urals and to characterize the local features of the metallurgy development in this region in the Bronze Age.

Ilshat I. Bakhshiev, Elvir V. Kamaleev
The Mineral Composition of Ground Material from the Stone Pestles of the Gonur-Depe Administrative and Religious Center (South-Eastern Karakum)

In this paper, we analyzed grounded materials on working surfaces of stone tools from the Gonur-Depe archaeological site (Turkmenistan). There are groups of minerals used for paint manufacturing (gypsum, antimonite, bismuthine, hematite, red lead) and bronze-casting (cassiterite, fluorite). In addition, we detected the chemical composition of stone products treated with microinclusions of ground material.

Anatoly M. Yuminov, Ivan A. Blinov, Natalia Ankusheva
Comparison of the Results of Studying the Composition of the Alloy of Coins of Chersonesus Minting of the Roman and Byzantine Times

This work presents a comparative analysis of the elemental composition of two groups of coins minted in Chersonesos/Cherson of the Roman period from the collection of the Chersonesean Museum Preserve and coins of the Byzantine time from excavations of the hillfort of Mangup-Kale in South-Western Crimea. The analysis of the elemental composition of coins was carried out using energy-dispersion X-Ray fluorescent desktop spectrometers. Totally 55 coins of late Roman and Byzantine times were investigated dated from the second to the sixth centuries A.D. It was found out that lead–tin bronze was used as the material for making coins of both periods. Comparing the elemental composition of coins minted in Chersonesos/Cherson indicates that the practice of “spoiling” a coin alloy with an unnecessarily large amount of lead, which appeared in Roman times, was widely used throughout the Byzantine period.

Anna V. Antipenko, Elena M. Maksimova, Valery Ye. Naumenko, Igor A. Nauhatsky, Tatiana N. Smekalova, Nikolay A. Alekseienko
“A Crucible with Solidified Substance” or an Ore Sample: Experience of the Complex Analysis of a Unique Find of the Chepetskaya Archaeological Culture

In this paper, we present the results of the complex analysis of “a crucible with the solidified substance”. This “crucible” was found during the archaeological research of the Kachkashursky I burial ground—one of the 9–13th centuries CE funeral sites of the basin of the Cheptsa RiverA unique find was revealed during a study of the 1971 collection. A primary interpretation of the find as a crucible and a search for analogies requested a further archaeometry study. The results of the chemical and phase composition analysis are presented in the work. The chemical analysis has revealed that “solidified substance” from the artifact is oxidized iron. The phase analysis revealed that the basis of the material of the contents of the “crucible” and the “crucible” itself is iron metahydroxide FeO(OH) (goethite) with quartz impurities. This composition is typical for bog ore. We examined that the find is a large nodule—a type of bog ore, which was the main source of iron ore during the Middle Ages.

Elena L. Russkikh, Vasiliy A. Volkov, Faat Z. Gilmutdinov
Kazburun Archaeological Micro-district of the Late Bronze Age and Copper Ore Mines in the Southern Trans-Urals

The Late Bronze Age in the Southern Trans-Urals is represented by a large number of archaeological cultures and population groups, including Srubnaya and Andronovo (Alakul). New analyses currently applied to bronze wares of the Late Bronze Age, once again raise the matter of copper-ore sources of bronze metallurgy of the Late Bronze Age in the Southern (Bashkir) Trans-Urals. The analysis to bronze materials in the Southern (Bashkir) Trans-Urals and northern part of the Kargaly mines (the Saygachy mines), such as light microscopy techniques, sample examination by scanning electron microscope, X-ray electron probe method of elemental analysis, neutron activation analysis, and isotopic analysis of lead, puts forward a topic of materials gathering in copper-ore sources. Another matter is studying of the bronze production technology at the settlements of the Kazburun archaeological micro-district of the Southern (Bashkir) Trans-Urals. The Kazburun archaeological micro-district dates to the Late Bronze Age (1770–1630 Cal BCE).

Nikolai B. Shcherbakov, Iia A. Shuteleva, Alexandra A. Golyeva

Bioarchaeology and Residue Analysis

Diet and Mobility in the Pre-Urals Bronze Age, Russia (Preliminary Results of Stable Isotope Analysis)

The purpose of this work is to summarize and analyze all data on the composition of stable isotopes in human remains from the Bronze Age sites in the Pre-Urals region, as well as to draw preliminary conclusions about the diet of these groups. About 30 samples are at our disposal, covering a very long period (from the end of the 4th to the begging of the 1st-millennium cal BC). Despite a small sample size, some important conclusions can be drawn. First, livestock products were stapled foods of all cultural groups. Evidence for the fish consumption and related reservoir effect was diagnosed only in some individuals. Second, the scatter of values for the early period (the Yamnaya culture) correlates with a mobile lifestyle and animal husbandry. On the contrary, for the Late Bronze Age (the Srubnaya and Alakul cultures), we see very similar values of nitrogen and carbon isotopes within one locus, including cases of long-term residence of the collectives in these places (according to the 14C data). This is probably due to the stability of the subsistence and settlement systems (stationary settlements). Finally, the obtained results differ from the previously obtained data for the adjacent territory (the Southern Trans-Urals). Interpreting this conclusion requires expanding the analysis base, including collecting the information on stable isotope values from the natural reservoirs.

Andrey V. Epimakhov, Elya P. Zazovskaya
Sampling Methodology for Assessing a Multi-proxy Bioavailable Strontium Isotope Baseline for the Orenburg Region (Russia): Fieldwork Results

To assess the mobility of ancient populations and identify local/non-local individuals, it is necessary to compare their tooth and bone 87Sr/86Sr isotopic ratios with the local baseline (background) of bioavailable strontium, characteristic of each specific location or potential provenance region of an individual or artifact. This paper describes the results of a field expedition to the Orenburg region (Russia) to collect samples characterizing bioavailable strontium. This article presents the sampling strategy used to select samples that characterize the bioavailable strontium (proxies)—vegetation, soil, rocks, surface, and groundwater, as well as bone and dental remains of modern fauna, and mollusk shells. Further construction of maps of 87Sr/86Sr distribution (Sr isoscapes) will greatly expand the possibilities of historical interpretations and allow the traditional archaeological cultural and geographical models to be tested.

Daria V. Kiseleva, Evgeny S. Shagalov, Anastasia D. Ryanskaya, Elizaveta A. Pankrushina
The Provenance of the Bronze Age Wool Textiles from the Western Orenburg Region (Russia)

The appearance of wool fabrics in the burials of the Srubnaya culture in the steppe zone of the Trans-Urals in 1925–1475 cal BC was a part of the general process of textile industrial transformation in the Bronze Age. This study aims to determine 87Sr/86Sr variations in the fragments of archaeological wool fiber from four burials of the Srubnaya culture and compare them with the local baseline of bioavailable strontium (mollusk shells, vegetation, soil leachates, river water, and modern animal bones) of the western Orenburg region. The conducted study has indicated that the samples of bioavailable strontium for the studied sites are characterized by complex isotope-geochemical interactions, and the “riverine” sample association (river water, wetland vegetation, shells) could not be excluded from the consideration and isoscape construction. For four studied archaeological textiles of the Srubnaya culture (from the burial grounds of Gerasimovka III, Pleshanovo, Kamenka, and Bogolyubovka), we assume the possible local origin of raw materials (wool) for textile production. The place of lambing and sheep/goat grazing could have been on pastures in the south-eastern slope of the East European platform.

Natalia I. Shishlina, Daria V. Kiseleva, Lidia V. Kuptsova, Tatyana G. Okuneva, Natalia G. Soloshenko, Evgeny S. Shagalov, Ildar A. Faizullin
Preliminary Results of the Analysis of REE Distribution and 87Sr/86Sr Ratios in Organic and Mineral Sources from Paleolithic Sites in the Orkhon Valley, Mongolia

We present a description of stratigraphic profiles and paleontological remains from three Paleolithic sites in the Orkhon River valley, central Mongolia. The Orkhon-1 and Orkhon-7 sites contain cultural sequences spanning the Final Middle through Upper Paleolithic periods (ca. 50–12 kya), where cultural horizons are divided by archaeologically sterile layers of significant thickness. The Moiltyn-am site is an exception where archaeological materials were found in every lithological layer, albeit impacted by post-depositional changes. The analysis of the distribution of rare, trace, and rare earth elements (REE) and Sr isotopic composition indicate that accumulation of sediments at the Moiltyn-am site occurred under semi-arid to semi-humid climatic conditions and that the climate did not change significantly during the period of the site’s occupation. 87Sr/86Sr ratios for samples extracted from ungulate teeth found at the Orkhon-1 and Orkhon-7 sites indicate that these animals lived in another region during the first years of their lives. This constitutes evidence of equids and bovids migrating between regions.

Irina A. Vishnevskaya, Tatiana G. Okuneva, Dashzeveg Bazargur, Kristina K. Urazova, Alexei M. Klementiev, Daria V. Marchenko, Byambaa Gunchinsuren, Evgeny P. Rybin, John W. Olsen, Arina M. Khatsenovich

Mining of Ores and Minerals in the Past

Starodubtseva Yama—A New Ancient Mine of the Southern Trans-Urals Steppes

The research aims to determine the morphology and preliminary dating of the ancient mine Starodubtseva Yama. The mine is located 250 km southwest of Chelyabinsk, Russia. It was first identified with geological prospecting, and then in 2020, it was surveyed during a geoarchaeological expedition. The main research methods included a description of the geomorphological position of the ore occurrence, a topographic survey of the mine, and excavation of test pits along the edges of the site. The ore occurrence is confined to the central part of the Kulikovsky ultramafic massif; schlieren accumulations of copper-magnetite ores in serpentinites are noted. The ancient mine is an oval depression of 16 m × 13 m and up to 2 m deep, surrounded by a ring of dumps up to 1 m high from the modern surface; the diameter along the outer circle of the dumps is 30–35 m. Geomorphological features, its localization within the distribution zone of metal-producing communities of the Late Bronze Age, and the proximity to the Novotemirsky mine allow preliminary dating of the Starodubtseva Yama mine to the 1st half of the 2nd millennium BC.

Polina S. Ankusheva, Irina P. Alaeva, Maksim N. Ankushev, Dmitry A. Artemyev, Evgeny A. Bazhenov, Anatoly M. Yuminov
The Paleosoils Properties of Vorovskaya Yama Copper Mine and the Late Bronze Age Climate on the Trans-Urals Plateau

The paleosoil layers from under the dumps of the Late Bronze Age copper mine “Vorovskaya Yama” in the Southern Urals are studied. Based on the morphological and chemical properties of the buried soil and modern surface soil, the climatic conditions that existed during the Late Bronze Age in the Trans-Ural peneplain have been reconstructed. It has been found that the soils of this time contained more organic carbon than at present day. This allows us to conclude that the precipitation in the period of the mine use (2nd millennium BC) was somehow higher compared to the present day. We also highlight the consequences of the ancient anthropogenic pressure visible in the buried soil in the form of highly soluble salts and carbonates drawn up to the surface. It was shown that in the area of distribution of the ancient copper mines, soils under dumps of mines are a unique source of information about the climatic conditions that existed during the period of the mine existence. Taking into account that in ancient times a large number of mines simultaneously operated on different elements of the relief within the same ore-bearing province, the soils buried under the dumps of the mine allow us to reconstruct the soil cover as a whole on different elements of the relief.

Liudmila N. Plekhanova
New Objects of Geoarchaeology of the Baishevsky Archaeological District and the Adjacent Territory of the Bashkir Trans-Urals (The Southern Urals)

The paper presents the study of gold placers in the Shuralinsky placer field, where the Baishevsky archaeological district is located. The attractiveness for site location on the banks of residual lakes of the paleorivers in the Kizilo-Urtazym foothill depression of the Bashkir Trans-Urals is analyzed. The discovery of a lake depression from a dry lake named “Sagylkul” allow proposing the expansion of the Baishevsky archaeological district.

Peter V. Kazakov
Assessment of Excavated Volume and Labor Investment at the Novotemirsky Copper Ore Mining Site

In this work, we attempt to estimate the volume of excavated material at the prehistoric mining site of Novotemirsky. We gather field data and employ computer-aided modeling to reconstruct the unknown three-dimensional geometry of the copper ore quarry and calculate the volume of a vertical shaft located near the quarry. To achieve this, we create a three-dimensional model of the dump around the quarry using the photogrammetric data and the cross-sections; a three-dimensional model of the quarry using the excavation data; a three-dimensional model of the shaft. Each model allows calculating the object's volume and then estimating the amount of excavated rock. Finally, we apply the ethnographic and experimental data to calculate the labor investment and compare this estimation with the archaeological period's length. We conclude that the work could be done in a relatively short period of 2–7 years by one full-time worker. As the work most likely was collective and was stretched during some 300 years or more, the actual annual labor investments were relatively small. Perhaps, the mining work was carried out on a seasonal basis by small groups of miners.

Igor V. Chechushkov, Polina S. Ankusheva, Maksim N. Ankushev, Evgeny A. Bazhenov, Irina P. Alaeva

Archaeological Pottery

Middle Eastern Glazed Ceramics of the 11th Century in Bilyar, the Capital of Volga Bulgaria

This work presents the analysis of Middle Eastern artistic ceramics of the eleventh century, obtained during the excavation of the city of Bilyar (the capital of Volga Bulgaria in the 11th—first third of the thirteenth centuries) and Bilyarsky II settlement. Among the artifacts found in Eastern Europe, these items represent a rare and unique category of eastern imports. For smore complete characterization and reliable attribution, the chemical composition of glaze and clay matrix was determined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM–EDS); the mineral composition of clay matrix of most informative artifacts was identified by the X-ray phase analysis. As a result, the origin and dating of Mesopotamian luster-painted tableware and Iranian vessels of the eleventh century of the “Sari” type were established. The emergence of imported Middle Eastern artworks in the Middle Volga Regioniis evidence for the initial stage of formation of the Volga Bulgarian urban culture in the eleventh century.

Svetlana I. Valiulina
Chemical and Technological Characteristics of Glazed Vessels from the Pottery Workshop of the Tsarevskoye Medieval City

Glazed pottery is a vivid symbol of the Golden Horde culture. The production of glazed dishes, mosaic architectural tiles, and toys was established almost everywhere in the Golden Horde cities. The products of these workshops are currently well studied from the standpoint of the morphology of products, stylistics of decor, but practically without taking into account the data of chemical and technological analyses. Based on the results of the analysis of glaze and clay matrix of the vessels obtained by scanning electron microscopy in combination with energy dispersive spectral analysis (SEM–EDS), this article presents the results of the chemical and technological analyses of Golden Horde glazed ceramics. The materials came from the pottery workshop in the eastern suburb of Saray al-Jedid of the Tsarevskoye medieval city. The pottery workshop on Estate III worked exclusively with a lead transparent glaze of the PbO-SiO2 type. The entire manufacturing process represents sustainable craft specialization and standardization of all stages of the production cycle from the selection and processing of reliable and limited raw materials and fixtures to finished products.

Svetlana I. Valiulina, Sergei G. Bocharov
Asbestos Ceramics from Archaeological Sites of Southern Fennoscandia (Karelia): Mineralogical and Geochemical Aspects

Pottery with asbestos fiber appeared in Eastern Finland about 4700 BC and widely spread to the North of Fennoscandia and North-Western Russia in the Late Neolithic—Eneolithic periods. In this study, we analyze the asbestos pottery sherds from Eneolithic archaeological sites of Fofanovo and Derevyannoe (ca. 3340–2935 cal BC), located on the shores of the Onega Lake (Karelia), the asbestos pieces from cultural layers and the samples of asbestos rocks from natural outcrops. Ceramic and asbestos samples were studied by pXRF and thin section analyses. The results allowe us to establish that asbestos (serpentine and chlorite) from local metamorphic outcrops (Chevzhavara) was used in the pottery from the named sites. At the Ileksa site located in the southern part of the Onega Lake, different asbestos minerals used in manufacture of the pottery were exploited from the north-western Onega Lake (the Chevzhavara outcrop) and the sources of the north-eastern Karelia. Various technological traditions relying on the use feather and plant temper coexisted at the sites located on the Eastern European Plain (e.g., Volosovo).

Marianna A. Kulkova, Dmitry V. Gerasimov, Alexander M. Kulkov, Alexander M. Zhulnikov, Gleb K. Danilov, Mikhail A. Streltsov

Lithic Tools and Materials

Diversity of Lithic Raw Material Types Used by the Population of the Mountain-Forest Trans-Urals (3rd–2nd Millennium BC)

The paper considers various raw material strategies of the population of the mountain-forest Trans-Urals during the Eneolithic and Bronze Age based on the study of the artifacts from the Shaitanskoe 4–6 multilevel archaeological site. The typological, contextual, and geological analyses provide sufficient data for the confident identification of several typical lithic industry complexes attributed to various periods. One of the characteristics of the Eneolithic is a wide range of tools, including numerous knives, scrapers, woodworking tools, and arrowheads. The local craftsmen were well aware of the advantages of the local materials: coal shale, chert, greenstone, quartzite, and granite-gneiss. Stone tools assortment shrunk significantly in the Bronze Age. Most of the Bronze Age tools were made from jasper, ice quartz (silicon dioxide), quartzite, porphyry, and chert. The local people possessed extensive knowledge of local rocks and resources suitable for the production of various tools, knew the signs associated with raw materials deposits and mastered a variety of stone flaking techniques.

Olga N. Korochkova, Ivan A. Spiridonov, Irina V. Usacheva, Evgeny S. Shagalov
On the Issue of Consumer Settlements of Flint Products from the Tripolye Settlement-Workshop of the Bodaki in Phase BII

The article is devoted to studying raw materials (including flint and quartzite rocks) from the sites of the Cucuteni-Tripolye culture from the Bug-Dniester and Prut-Dniester interfluve of their heyday. Based on the data from archaeological contexts, technical and morphological analysis, and geological and mineralogical sciences, the authors identify sites of the developed period of the Cucuteni-Tripolye culture, which were consumers of flint products from the Bodaki workshop. This is indicated by the similarity of Cucuteni-Tripolye tools with those from Bodaki and by the absence of traces of the Volhynian flint processing. Located in the Upper Prut, Middle Dniester, and Middle Bug, these sites are pretty far from the center of high-quality Volhynian flint processing. Nevertheless, their production complexes were based on sets of tools made of imported raw materials; local rocks were used to a lesser extent. The close resource-based contacts of the Cucuteni-Tripolye sites with Bodaki are also emphasized by the isolated finds of tools from the Middle Dniester raw material in its inventory. Adzes of South Bug ferruginous quartzite and blanks made of the Swieciechov flint indicate contacts with the Upper (Middle) Bug and Central Vistula territories. These findings highlight the high level of organization of flint processing, the presence of well-established links between the Tripolye communities in Phase BII, what provided their economy with high-quality tools.

Vera V. Terekhina, Natalia N. Skakun, Vyacheslav M. Bicbaev
The Role of Stone Raw Materials (Not Flint) in Industrial Complexes of the Upper Paleolithic Sites (Based on Materials from the Cosauti Site, Republic of Moldova)

In the multi-layered Upper Paleolithic site of Cosauti (the Republic of Moldova), which is unique in the richness and variety of finds, unmodified or slightly processed stones with use-wear traces were found, in addition to numerous flint implements. Among the various groups of tools were identified by applying the use-wear analysis: hammer stones, anvils, abrasives, palettes or pigment grinders, polishers, lower and upper grinding stones. These tools were used in various types of economic activities and served to process various materials: antler, bones, skins, ocher, flint, and other types of stone, as well as for crushing, kneading, and grinding plant materials. The obtained data points out the efficient and selective use of different stone raw materials to create the tools for various purposes.

Natalia N. Skakun, Sergey I. Kovalenko, Vera V. Terekhina, Dmitrii M. Shulga, Elena Yu. Mednikova
The Use of Pebble Raw Materials in the Paleolithic and Mesolithic of the Urals

The paper discusses the nature and specificity of the use of local gravels and pebble raw materials has its own typical use of pebbles and pebble raw materials.

Yury B. Serikov
Obsidian as the Main Raw Material for the Production of Tools in the Early Agricultural Societies of Azerbaijan

The paper discusses the results of interdisciplinary research on identifying deposits that served as the sources of raw material for the production of obsidian tools by farmers of the 6th–4th millennia BC in Azerbaijan. The data obtained indicate the widespread use of obsidian for the manufacturing of various tools; moreover, raw materials from different localities were often used by inhabitans of a single settlement. These facts allow us to suggest close ties between the ancient agricultural peoples of different regions of the South Caucasus.

Roza B. Arazova, Natalia N. Skakun
“Home, Sweet Home”: Stones from the Bronze Age Settlement Hearths (South Trans-Urals, Russia)

The paper presents the results of the analysis of 200 stones from hearths, ash soil, and the inter-structure territory of the southern Trans-Urals Bronze Age settlements (21–16 centuries BC). Revealing of the stones’ main parameters (size, weight, breed, presence/absence of fire impact, surface treatment) made it possible to characterize the gradation using different types of stones. Stones from the hearths filling have similar characteristics: homogeneous rock composition, similar size and weight, traces of deliberate crushing chips to obtain the desired size, traces of strong fire impact. Stones from the ash soil strata are diverse: some rocks were used to manufacture tools (talcochlorite, quartzite), metallurgy (magnetite ore), and rocks used in the hearths. On many of the stones from the ash soil, the impact of the fire was noted. Such a composition of the ash soil may indicate the nature of its formation as a result of burning out the garbage. A wide variety of raw materials also characterizes the stones collected in the inter-structure area. Still, unlike stones from the hearths, they do not have a standardized size, many chips, and there are no stones with traces of fire. Based on a comparative analysis of the parameters of stones from different structures, it can be concluded that the selection of stones for hearths was intentional. Besides, the hearths were not associated with metallurgy (copper was practically absent in the hearth soils). These facts indicate that the hearths with stones were used only for heating.

Irina P. Alaeva, Maksim N. Ankushev, Egor O. Vasyuchkov, Polina S. Ankusheva

Site Analyses and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Archaeology

Geoarchaeological Studies of Kurgans with Moustaches: Achievements and Prospects

The paper presents the results of geoarchaeological studies of kurgans with two stone ridges (referred to as moustaches) from the dual perspective of geology and radiocarbon dating. The first describes the survey of rocks in a monument and their sources, as a result of which we proposed the reconstruction of the construction process of the entire complex. We believe that the construction of one complex could be carried out within a fairly short period: a month or no more than one season. Radiocarbon data quite confidently date the kurgans with moustaches to the III/IV to mid-VII centuries.

Ivan V. Grudochko
The Remote Methods for Search and Study of Archaeological Objects in Bashkortostan

Together with expanding technical and technological opportunities in modern archeology, the methods of geoarchaeology, which are applied in combination with classical methods of archaeological exploration, deem to be the fundamental ones. However, the study of the mound burial grounds located in the steppe zone of the Southern Urals is complicated as they are located in the zone of intensive agricultural development, which has become an essential problem. As a result of years-long plowing, a significant part of the mound surfaces has been damaged and is virtually not visible on the modern landscape. The localization of these objects will help in defining the borders of archaeological sites to take measures for their further protection during construction works and will make it possible to form corresponding programs for their full-fledged archaeological study. The use of the technologies has made it possible to specify the structure and composition of the II Samarsky burial mound located in the steppe zone of the Bashkir Trans-Urals. For many decades, the burial ground has been subject to intensive plowing. This feature makes it possible to use the cemetery as an experimental test site. In this paper, we present the research method to obtain the aerial photography of the site with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles of a geodetic class, combining the photography with the application of aerial geodesy and photogrammetric processing of the received aerial photographs. The results of the conducted remote sensing studies have revealed sixteen stable anomalies, which otherwise can barely be visually identified. In 2020, during the excavation of anomaly №18, two burials of the Bronze Age were found. Thus, it was proved that the previously identified anomalies are the remnants of the heavily destroyed burial mounds.

Ramil R. Nasretdinov, Ilshat I. Bakhshiev, Roman N. Gabitov
Complex Investigation (GIS, Photogrammetry, and Natural-Scientific Methods) of the Northwestern Colchis Historical and Cultural Landscape in the Late Antique and Medieval Times

The Markul archaeological expeditions have been conducted since 2001. Traditional methods used for the humanities and natural-scientific methods have been applied together with digital technologies. The analysis of written sources and art history, archaeological excavations, photogrammetry, isotope study of anthropological material have been carried out, a geographic information system (GIS) has been created, the chemical composition of artifacts has been recognized. GIS includes more than 500 objects in total. A catalogue (a book) of temples in the western part of the region has been prepared; catalogue for its eastern part has almost been completed. An important result of the research is the precise location of the Great Abkhazian (Kelasur) Wall, which is one of the most controversial and mysterious historical and architectural sites of Abkhazia. The exact GPS coordinates of 208 towers that survived by 2015 have been established, and their plan has been drawn up. Several methods were used: archaeological prospecting with pits, elemental analysis, and spatial analysis to date the site. In 2014, stationary research began at the newly identified Markul settlement, the only large site known today inside Kelasur Wall. Using the isotope method, the characteristics of the people living in this area were revealed.

Galina V. Trebeleva, Gleb Yu. Yurkov, Andrey S. Kizilov, Konstantin A. Glazov, Tatiana Yu. Shvedchikova
The Use of Remote Sensing Methods for Studying of the Ancient Greek Land Division System of Tauric Chersonesos on the Mayachnyy Peninsula of the Crimea Peninsula

A detailed analysis of the 1940s archival aerial photographs and a 1966 satellite image, has shown that the earliest land division of the ancient Tauric Chersonesos affected the Sredinnyy Peninsula of the Crimean Peninsula, as well as the territory to the southeast of the fortification on the isthmus of Mayachnyy, which is on the outside the Mayachnyy Peninsula. Before, it was believed that such division had affected only the territory of the Mayachnyy Peninsula. Land surveying of the Sredinnyy Peninsula probably began from the Great Chersonesos road, as evidenced by the parallel orientation and the regular square shape of the blocks of sections adjacent to the road. Thus, the area of the initial land surveying was probably 930–940 hectares, almost twice of the territory of 460–470 hectares, as is has been previously assumed.

Tatiana N. Smekalova, Edgar A. Terekhin
Geoarchaeological Studies on the Territory of Baikal Siberia: Approach and Methods

In the work, we offer a brief review of the geoarchaeological research concept, which we use during the studying of the Baikal Siberia archaeological sites. Our developments allow us to distinguish typical sediments and situations for the MIS 2 and MIS 1 geoarchaeological complexes, define the features of the sediments and archaeological complexes in them, create the system of correctness revealing of radiocarbon dates based on geoarchaeological assessment. Our research is based on four positions: (1) Geoarchaeology is a source study discipline with its methods of study. (2) The main object of research is the geoarchaeosite, which is a complexly structured integral system, where the summation of traces of natural and anthropogenic events is encrypted. (3) Geoarchaeology should be a transdisciplinary direction, the nature of which is determined by the complex origin of the geoarchaeological site. (4) Geoarchaeological research should be based, first of all, both on the methods of actualism and stratigraphy with overcoming mistakes in identifying objects and phenomena, as well as on pedolithological and event approaches. Our proposed geoarchaeological developments, which for many years have been successfully used in research on the territory of Baikal Siberia, are in a constant process of refinement and approbation, which significantly expands their capabilities and prospects.

Natalia E. Berdnikova, Ivan M. Berdnikov, Galina A. Vorobieva, Alexander A. Shchetnikov, Ivan A. Filinov, Ksenia A. Krutikova, Dmitrii P. Zolotarev, Ekaterina A. Lipnina

Reviews. Thoughts. Memoirs

Historical Experience and Ancient Metal Production in the South Trans-Urals

The article highlights the need to consider and understand the historical experience of environmental management in connection with the early stages of the history of mining and nonferrous metallurgy in the Southern Urals. The author agrees with the opinion of a historian of ancient metallurgy, E. N. Chernykh, who proposes to push back the initial stage of the anthropogenic transformation of the environment in connection with the rapid development of mining of nonferrous metals during the Bronze and Early Iron Ages.

Nikolay B. Vinogradov
The Problems with the Definition of Artifacts Material (Geologists’ Help for Archaeologists)

Often archaeologists may face difficulties determining the rock type from which prehistoric artifacts are made, even using microscopy and various analytical methods. To help archaeologists give the correct name of the rock, the article describes various types of rocks with an emphasis on their macroscopic features: color, structure, size of the constituent particles. Igneous rocks are characterized as plutonic (intrusive) as well as poured to the surface—volcanic (effusive). Rocks of various compositions such as ultrabasic, basic, medium, and acidic are described. In each group, rocks of volcanic and plutonic facies are distinguished. Macroscopically, volcanic rocks differ from plutonic rocks in the presence of volcanic glass and porphyry texture. The unevenly grained texture of plutonic rock differs from the porphyry texture of volcanic rock by the presence of larger crystals in the background of a full-grained or a fine matrix. Rocks with high silica content usually have a light color and consist mainly of leucocratic minerals. Also, they are distinguished by high hardness. Rocks of ultrabasic and basic composition are composed entirely of dark-colored minerals or contain a small amount of leucocratic minerals (main plagioclase for the normal series rocks). For sedimentary rocks, their division by particle-size distribution and roundness degree is given. Macroscopically, they are usually characterized by a layered structure. A large section is devoted to siliceous rocks, which in ancient times were used for various purposes; visually they differ well by structural and textural features. For their full characterization, chemical analysis has been made. Photos of various types of rocks and their description are given. To diagnose rocks in the field, we use data obtained in the laboratory during a detailed study of them in thin sections and polished sections.

Larisa Ya. Kabanova, Elizaveta V. Zaykova
Search and Mining of Silver in the Urals

The collocation “Zakamskoye silver” is mentioned in the Russian historical records and silver items were regularly found in the Urals and Siberia. The common view of many historians and archaeologists is that it was about this term refers to silverware made in the East. At the same time, searches for precious metal ores in the Urals and adjacent territories have been going on for centuries since the first mention of the mountains in the Russian chronicles. The author demonstrates that there is silver in the Urals in great quantities in polymetals, and the earliest known mining of silver and copper in Russia began in 1492 on the Pechora River. Accordingly, the term “Zakamskoye silver” refers to another silver-copper deposit located in the northern Urals. Whether it was exploited in the Antiquity and Middle Ages has been the subject of contention, but by the beginning of the Russian colonization, it had been already exhausted and abandoned. During the industrial development of the region in the eighteenth century, silver contained in copper ore was recognized as unprofitable for extraction. However, the presence of silver in copper ore was proved. In the nineteenth to twentieth centuries, silver in the Urals began to be mined in significant quantities from polymetals due to technological progress. In archaeological and historical research, this fact allows us to look differently at the presence of silver in copper items and copper in silver items, indicating that these items are made from local raw materials. The study covers the period from about the 12th to the early twentieth centuries.

Evgenii A. Kurlaev
Problems and Perspectives of Stone Type Investigation: Attempts to Find Out an Origin of Medieval Sculptures of Eurasian Nomads

The 7th–13th-century medieval Eurasian sculptures contain a lot of information about nomads’ spiritual culture. Unlike other works of ancient art, statues, being bulky, are often stand in the open air while exhibited in museums. As a result, natural and anthropogenic factors have a destructive effect on them, which makes it difficult to analyse their iconography and to identify places of their origin. The experience in studying the stone type of medieval sculptures under a magnifying glass in cooperation with geologists, but especially using mineralogical and petrographic analysis, helped to identify plausible places of origin for some of unidentified sculptures. In other words, it helped to localize an approximate area of their manufacture, to outline landmarks for finding quarries for the extraction of raw materials and ways of moving them to religious sites, to create conditions for identifying the school of artisans and the style of the master, which significantly depends on the type of stone.

Aleksandr V. Yevglevskyy
About the Life and Work of Archaeologist Prof. Gennady B. Zdanovich

On November 19, 2020, a great scientist, professor of Chelyabinsk State University, archaeologist Gennady B. Zdanovich passed away. It is hard to believe this loss. The activity of Prof. Zdanovich was wide and various. These are both archaeological discoveries, and wide educational, public activity. But the main thing that he left, what he opened for us is a special approach to archaeological antiquities and through them to the man.

Natalia Ankusheva
Geoarchaeology and Archaeological Mineralogy
herausgegeben von
Dr. Natalia Ankusheva
Dr. Igor V. Chechushkov
Dr. Ivan Stepanov
Dr. Maksim Ankushev
Dr. Polina Ankusheva
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