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

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2021 Volume XXVII

doi: 10.17746/2658-6193.2021.27.0274-0281

УДК 902/904

On the issue of the Upper Palaeolithic Bone Tubes

Fedorchenko A.Yu., Belousova N.E.

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We discuss the issues of studying and interpreting hollow tubular bone items widely represented at the Upper Palaeolithic sites of Eurasia taking into account the available information from scientific literature in Russian, English and French. To designate such artefacts, English and French researchers use the functionally neutral term “tube”. The research results allow us to conclude that the category of “tubes” represent a large morphological group of various purpose products. The general morphological characteristics of the artefacts are determined by the specific parameters of the blank used - it has always been the diaphysis of the mammalian or bird tubular bone. The natural form is convenient and self-sufficient and does not require significant modification and specific shaping. Therefore, the set of applied techniques was limited to sawing and cutting. Many researchers noted the uncertainty of the “tube” purpose; it partly stems from the “universality” of their morphology determined mainly by the shape of the original blank. The problem of the functional classification of such products is resolved through analyses of contextual information, considering metric parameters, availability of specific attributes (for example, drilled holes), thickness of the artifact, and even by the taxonomic affiliation of animals or birds whose bones were processed. As a product of the purposeful production activity, bone “tubes” in the Palaeolithic period should not be considered as tools of labor or hunting but were used as auxiliary devices (containers for storing needles or pigments, handles, pipes for spraying ocher) or non-utilitarian items (musical instruments and personal ornaments).


Upper Palaeolithic, bone processing technologies, tubes, needle cases, tubular beads, pipes, whistles, handles

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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