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

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2019 Volume XXV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2019.25.135-142

УДК 902.22

Investigation of the Middle Paleolithic Complexes in Chagyrskaya Cave in the Field Season of 2019

Kolobova K.A., Krajcarz M.Т., Krajcarz M., Shalagina A.V., Chabai V.P., Berezina N.Ya., Rybalko A.G., Chistyakov P.V., Kolyasnikova A.S., Gashenko A.V., Seletskiy M.V.

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Abstract

The article presents the results of field research in Chagyrskaya Cave - the key site of the Sibiryachikha variant of the Altai Middle Paleolithic - conducted in 2019. The cave is located in the Charysh River valley in northwestern Altai. In the field season of 2019, research was focused on geological study of stratigraphy at the site, examination of paleontological complex following the zoo-archaeological approach, as well as technical and typological analysis of lithic assemblage from the Middle Paleolithic layer. The geological studies have shown that stratigraphic profiles consisted of seven main subdivisions of the Holocene and Pleistocene. An important feature of the stratigraphic sequence was the presence of lenses in layer 6c/2 which was absent in the section explored in the field season of 2018. A part of layer 6a, from which the main archaeological collection of 2019 originated, was first found in situ in the excavation area. In terms of its technical and typological features, lithic assemblage from layer 6a was similar to assemblages from other subunits of layer 6. The industry manifests a significant share of tools compared to objects of primary reduction. The toolkit includes unifacial side-scrapers, retouched points, truncated and faceted tools, as well as bifacial side-scrapers and points. Preliminarily, this complex was identified as a new habitation episode at the site, different from the event revealed by layer 6c/2. According to zoo-archaeological analysis, the area under study shows high activity of hyenas which used the cave as their den. This fact may indicate that the cave was inhabited alternately by humans and predators in different seasons of the year. Taking into account that the minimum activity of carnivores was observed in layer 6c/2, while their maximum activity was found in layer 6a, it is possible to suggest a gradual decrease in the intensity of human habitation in Chagyrskaya Cave in comparison with the main cultural layer.

Keywords

Northwestern Altai, Middle Paleolithic, Sibiryachikha variant, Chagyrskaya Cave, archeozoology, lithic assemblage

17, Аkademika Lavrentieva prosp., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
E-mail: sbornik.iaet@gmail.com