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

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2019 Volume XXV

DOI: 10.17746/2658-6193.2019.25.253-260

УДК 903.59

The Earliest Burials in the Southern Part of the Russian Far East and in the Japanese Archipelago: Problems of Identification and Interpretation

Tabarev A.V., Ivanova D.A.

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Until today, the Goncharka-1 site, excavated in mid 1990s, is the only site of the Initial Neolithic (12,000-10,000 BP) in the entire southern part of the Russian Far East, where an unusual complex with a carbonaceous spot and set of expressive stone artifacts has been discovered. Despite the complete absence of anthropological evidence, the interpretation of the site as a burial is suggested by the accompanying inventory. The data on the burials of the Incipient and Initial Jomon in the Japanese archipelago (13,800-6500 BP ), as well as a wider circle of parallels from the Pacific (Southeast Asia, Coastal Southern America), and Northern America (Paleoamerican sites and settlements) confirms the diversity of burial rituals and practices, presence of single, double, and group burials, primary and secondary burials, emphasis on manipulating with parts of the skeleton (long bones, skulls), presence of group cemeteries associated with caves and rock shelters, as well as specific burial complexes with distinctive accompanying inventory (carefully processed large bifacial points, bifacial cores, knives, adze-like tools, figure-shaped stones etc.). A detailed analysis of the evidence indicates that the Goncharka-1 site (Priamurie, Russian Far East) and Mikoshiba site (Nagano Prefecture, Honshu) which was studied by the Japanese archaeologists in 1950s and is still the subject of active scholarly discussion, fit well the circle of such “ritual and burial complexes.”


Russian Far East, Japanese Archipelago, burials, identification, interpretation

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