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

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2019 Volume XXV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2019.25.014-018

УДК 902.1

Paleolithic Site of Ust-Kova: Controversial Research Problems

Akimova E.V.

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The Ust-Kova site is the best known Late Paleolithic site in the Northern Angara region. In 2014-2015, it was flooded by the waters of the Boguchany Reservoir. Despite the long-term studies of the site, the problems of its age and cultural attribution remained unsolved. Until now, the Ust-Kova site was an “exotic” example of a Paleolithic site in Siberia; its archaeological materials, which had been accumulated for a long period of research) have not been fully yet analyzed. This topic can be readdressed using the artifacts collected during the rescue excavations in 2008-2011 and going back to the evidence of 1970-1980. Identification of three chronologically different complexes (early, middle and late), suggested in the late 1970s, has not been reconfirmed. The Late Paleolithic horizon of Ust-Kova site could have emerged over a long period due to repeated superimposition of long-term and short-term stays, subsequently completely deformed by cryogenic processes in the form of polygonal lode ice. Based on a series of radiocarbon dates, the age of the Paleolithic at Ust-Kova can be established as the Gydan stage of the Sartan glaciation. The deposits of the Late Sartan period could have been denuded in the Final Pleistocen, which is manifested by traces of eolian impact on the surfaces of the artifacts from the central parts of the polygons. In accordance with the specific features of stone and bone inventory, and zoomorphic artworks, the Ust-Kova site can be related to the Mal ’ta-Buret ’ Siberian Paleolithic group of sites. It can be suggested that further research along the shores of the Boguchany Reservoir may reveal similar sites, which consequently may provide additional information on the subject.


Northern Angara region, Late Paleolithic, cryogenic deformations, cultural layer, blade industry, tusk processing

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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