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

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2019 Volume XXV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2019.25.053-058

УДК 569

Bone Remains from the Holocene Deposits in the South Chamber of Denisova Cave (Evidence of 2017 and 2018)

Vasiliev S.K., Kozlikin M.B., Kolyasnikova A.S., Shunkov M.V.

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Over 14,000 specimens of bone remains were found during the excavations of the Holocene strata in the Southern Chamber of Denisova cave in 2017 and 2018. Identifiable bones belonged to five species of domestic and 16 species of wild mammals. Roe deer and maral predominated among the remains of the hunting species. Beaver, blue hare, wolf, fox, brown bear, lynx, and Siberian mountain goat were represented by individual bones. Several bone fragments of unknown large bull Bos/Bison sp., similar in size to the Pleistocene bison were discovered. A refugium with small population of Bison priscus was most likely preserved in the Holocene in the northwestern Altai, which was subsequently exterminated by the humans. Similar remains also appeared in the Holocene layers of Chagyrskaya and Strashnaya caves. Bone remains of sheep/goat prevailed among the domestic animals in all layers; dogs and horses were less common. Domestic pig was represented by a single bone. Several human bones, as well as bones of birds and fish have been identified in the collection. Taphocenosis in the Holocene strata of the South Chamber mostly resulted from anthropogenic activities. Since the Early Bronze Age until the Late Middle Ages, people occasionally visited the cave, settled in it, or used it as a shelter for keeping small cattle. Bone remains from the Holocene strata of the cave were typical kitchen waste, often with traces of cuts and burns from the hearths. Economic activity of the ancient population of the region was based on cattle breeding and hunting.


Denisova cave, South Chamber, Holocene, bone remains

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