Problems of Archaeology, Ethnography, Anthropology of
Siberia and Neighboring Territories

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2019 Volume XXV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2019.25.007-013

УДК 551.891(235.222)+903.32

Remains of Small Vertebrates from the Eastern Chamber of Denisova Cave

Agadjanian A.K., Shunkov M.V., Kozlikin M.B.

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Excavations of the Pleistocene deposits in the Eastern Chamber of Denisova cave over the past decade have resulted in layer-by-layer analysis of small vertebrates, primarily mammals. The quantitative ratio of small vertebrate taxa was performed on 17,500 bones and teeth from layers 17.1, 15-11.1 and 9, which ensured high representativity of the data obtained. According to paleogeographic data, including the composition of microtheriofauna, the chronostratigraphic column of cave deposits covered the second half of the Middle Pleistocene and the entire Upper Pleistocene, starting from the Samara Ice Age or MIS 8 and lasting to the Sartan glacial MIS 2 inclusively. The results of the study into remains of small vertebrates indicate that there were highly mosaic landscapes in the vicinity of the cave at this time. Forests alternated with areas of steppe and meadow vegetation as well as rocky biotopes, and were interspersed with dry steppes and shrub associations. Forests consisted of dark coniferous trees with green mosses growing under their canopy. Climate fluctuations were accompanied by the changing ratio of areas with different biotopes, but did not lead to the fundamental restructuring of natural complex. It has also been found that the decrease in the proportion of bats in taphocenosis was always accompanied by increased number offish bones. The study of the microstructure of cave deposits has revealed the presence of charcoal particles in the Eastern Chamber, starting from layer 15. This indicates that the ancient inhabitants of the cave burned fires, which made a negative impact on the colony of bats. The periods of Paleolithic human activities were accompanied by increased number of fish bones in cave deposits.


Altai Mountains, Denisova Cave, Pleistocene, small vertebrates, paleogeographic stages

Chief Editor
Academician A.P. Derevyanko

Deputy Chief Editor
Academician V.I. Molodin

17, Аkademika Lavrentieva prosp., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

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