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Views of the Crimea Middle Paleolithic past and present

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... In theory, each of these core groups is technologically connected with the following kinds of blanks: Levallois, crested, enlèvement deux, debordant, flakes and blades with uni-directional and bi-directional dorsal scar pa�erns ( Fig. 1-12, 1, 2, 3; 1-13). Based on refitings and the analysis of technologically meaningful a�ributes of cores and blanks, the three main core reduction strategies have been reconstructed: Levallois Tortoise, Biache and parallel volumetric (Chabai 1995;Chabai 1998c, pp. 239-250). ...
... Generally, the appearance of backed bifacial scrapers is seen as a diagnostic feature of the "Ak-Kaya"facies of the Crimean Micoquian (Chabai 1998a;Chabai, Marks, Yevtushenko 1995). ...
... Данные орудия были оставлены на поселении, а не унесены за его пределы, в отличие от значительного числа орудий горизонтов III/4, III/6 и III/7. A������� КАБАЗИ II, ГОРИЗОНТЫ III/4, III/5, III/6 И III/7: КОРОТКИЕ ПРИВАЛЫ ОХОТНИКОВ (Chabai et al. 1995Demidenko 1996;Stepanchuk 1996;Chabai 1999Chabai , 2004cMarks, Chabai 2001;Yevtushenko 2003Yevtushenko , 2004Uthmeier 2004bUthmeier , 2006. Whereas there are several factors which benefi t the study of functional variability in the Crimea, there are also others which prove more of an obstacle. ...
Book
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This is the second volume of the series “Palaeolithic Sites of Crimea” of which the first and this present volume are dedicated to the publication of multidisciplinary studies at the Middle Palaeolithic open air site of Kabazi II. Now, after innumerable fi eld seasons, which began more than 20 years ago, and which have brought together specialists from the Ukraine, Moldavia, Russia, France, the United States, Germany, Belgium and Britain, it is evident that the limestone block, which fell on the site probably as early as the beginning of the last interglacial, prevented erosional processes down slope, and so preserved an unusually long stratigraphical sequence. From both om to top, the fi nal profi les reached a depth of more than 14 metres, encompassing sediment accumulations reaching from the Eemian to the Denekamp Interstadial. Many investigations, including geological and pollen analyses, as well as studies on small mammal fauna and snails, all of which deserve a special mention here, have shown that during this long time span there are very few gaps in the sedimentary accumulation sequence. A total of 55 archaeological levels have been unearthed, most of them in a primary in-situ position.
... At the same time, assemblages from the "Kiik Koba culture" have higher frequencies of points and convergent side scrapers and lower frequencies of bifacial tools. While these differences are still considered valid, the original "cultural" interpretation has been superseded by an interpretation as facies of a single techno-complex, the Crimean Micoquian (Chabai et al. 1995;Chabai & Marks 1998). The current belief is that these differences primarily reflect the intensity of the resharpening processes, which in turn is influenced by the distance of a settlement from raw material sources. ...
... To this day, all known well-preserved (e.g. stratified) Middle Paleolithic sites from the Crimea fit this model (Chabai et al. 1995;Chabai & Marks 1998;Chabai 2004;Chabai et al. 2004;Chabai & Uthmeier 2006;Demidenko 2004;Demidenko & Uthmeier 2013). However, parts of the newly excavated assemblages from Zaskalanya V represent an exception to the recognized pattern, and this discrepancy calls for explanation. ...
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The Middle Paleolithic site of Zaskalnaya V is a buried rock shelter situated in the Eastern part of the Crimean Peninsula. Large-scale excavations conducted by Kolosov between 1969 and 1994 made Zaskalnaya V a reference site for both the definition of the “Ak Kaya culture” of the Crimean Micoquian and regional Middle Paleolithic chronology. Despite their merits, the previous excavations left open questions relating to site formation and the resolution of the archaeological sequence and therefore the relevance of the assemblages, environmental studies and absolute dates published thus far. Here we attempt to resolve these questions by reporting the results of a small-scale excavation conducted in 2012 and 2013 immediately adjacent to the old trench. Instead of ten lithological layers and eight cultural layers, the recent excavations documented 4.5 m of deposits, 23 lithological layers and 87 archaeological levels. Although the absence of weathering traces on artifacts and bones as well as the excellent preservation of dry-land snails and thin lenses of burnt material interpreted as fireplaces suggest phases of stratigraphic stability and rapid accumulation, other parts of the sequence are characterized by strong effects of both erosion and bioturbation, leading to the presence of several stratigraphic breaks. The in-situ archaeological levels contain a number of fireplaces and a complex of nested lenses of dark color originating from burnt material. This “complex of lenses” is a succession of natural depressions that were either filled with burnt and unburnt archaeological material by natural and/or human agency or used as protection for fireplaces. A series of palaeosols overprinting sediments from the lower part of the stratigraphic sequence can be tentatively correlated with OIS 5c. The existing ESR and radiocarbon dates (30 to 40 ka calBP) come from the middle and upper part of the sequence and are best understood as a broad proxy for the chronological boundaries of the rock shelter’s use in the middle Paleolithic period. In addition to numerous faunal remains and one Neanderthal tooth, the 2012 and 2013 excavations yielded a total of 355’085 lithic artifacts. Due to the excellent preservation of most of the archaeological levels and careful sieving, chips represent more than 96 % of the artifacts in each level. Faunal remains are yet to be counted. All lithic artifact assemblages demonstrate a high degree of technological and typological uniformity, which Permit their classification as Crimean Micoquian. Within this techno-complex, archaeological Units II, IIA, III and IIIA belong to the Ak Kaya facies, which is characterized by tool assemblages with a low degree of reduction and interpreted as being produced near raw material outcrops. This finding is in line with the presence of several raw material sources close to the Zaskalnaya V rock shelter. However, despite this raw material proximity, Units I and IV show all attributes of the Kiik Koba facies, characterized by highly reduced assemblages which in the past were thought to result from large distances from raw material outcrops.
... Because river systems must have been important features of orientation in plain landscapes, the fact that crimean rivers became tributaries to the don is an important detail of the many, yet variable environmental changes associated with the last glacial. middle and Upper palaeolithic sites in crimea are so far restricted to the second ridge of the crimean mountains, where they concentrated in a western and eastern cluster (chabai et al. 1995chabai 2004;Uthmeier 2004c). The fact that these clusters are conjoined by geographically intermediate sites opens up the possibility that the maximal distribution area of 420 square kilometres represents the size of palaeolithic annual territories (Zimmermann et al. 2004). ...
... in general, the palaeolithic sequence of crimea (chabai 2004;chabai & Uthmeier 2006;Uthmeier & chabai 2010) starts at the very end of the last interglacial with assemblages of the crimean micoquian. This industry is characterised by bifacial tools whose different shapes and sizes were used to define three facies named ak-Kaya, starosele and Kiik-Koba (demidenko 1996;chabai et al. 1995;chabai 2004;chabai & Uthmeier 2006;Uthmeier & chabai 2010). The strictly unifacial Western crimean mousterian is established from the hengelointerstadial onwards. ...
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The crimean mountain region is the only small-scale region in europe where middle and Upper pal-aeolithic industries securely overlap in space and time. The contemporaneity of middle palaeolithic (e.g., crimean micoquian and Western crimean mousterian) and Upper palaeolithic industries (e.g., streletskayan and aurignacian) is confirmed by absolute chronology mainly stemming from ams-dates, pollen sequences and stratigraphical observations. at sjuren i, surface shaped micoquian tools within an in-situ assemblage of the aurignacian show that one and the same surface was visited by middle and Upper palaeolithic groups. furthermore, at Buran-Kaya iii, the streletskayan level c is overlain by a micoquian assemblage in level B/B1. This paper focuses on the raw material ecology in the aforementioned assemblages from Buran-Kaya iii. despite their belonging to different periods, the assemblages show pronounced structural similarities that result from quasi-identical strategies to solve the problem that at Buran-Kaya iii, raw material sources were far away from major local nutritional resources. Both industries make use of surface shaping for the production of blanks, but differ in the production method and the way flakes from surface shaping were transformed into formal tools. While the differences in the methods of lithic manufacture point to cultural differences, the similarities observed attest shared features in land use pattern.
... The reasons behind the typological variability within Micoquian assemblages should be sought in the different models of raw material and fauna exploitation, all of which resulted in a different intensity of occupation (Chabai et al. 1995, Demidenko 1996, Chabai 1999a. The less intensive occupations belong to the Ak-Kaya facie, while more intensive on-site exploitation of fauna and raw material is characteristic of the Starosele and Kiik-Koba facies. ...
Book
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This publication is the first volume in a series devoted to the multidisciplinary studies of the International Crimean Paleolithic expedition in the framework of the international DFG project “Funktionale Variabilität im späten Mittelpaläolithikum auf der Halbinsel Krim, Ukraine” (RI 936/3-3). Over the last five years, a large team of specialists from Germany, Ukraine, France, Moldavia, Belgium, the United States and Russia have all made contributions to multidisciplinary research of the Crimean Paleolithic. The results from earlier field work and analytical investigations have already been published in two previous volumes (Chabai et al. eds., 2004, Demidenko ed., 2004), as well as in a number of national and international archeological journals. During the 2000-2001 field seasons the Last Interglacial soil complex was found and excavated at the Kabazi II open-air Middle Paleolithic site. The environmental and artefact studies are due to be completed over the next several years, and to some extent, the results published in this volume might be viewed as a halfway station in our investigations. The entire - circa 14 m - sequence of sediments at Kabazi II has now been exposed, and different methods of environmental, radiometric and archeological investigations have shown that the site is the longest and the most complete Middle Paleolithic sequence not only in the Crimea but also in Eastern Europe.
... In combination with other data, particularly archaeozoological evidence, it is then possible to identify "ephemeral killing / primary butchering stations", "ephemeral and short-term primary and/or secondary butchering camps" and possibly "base camps". As a result of such studies, a complex and mosaic-like Crimean Micoquian Neanderthals' site radiating system appears, explaining the broad typological variability of the flint assemblages (see Chabai et al 1995;Chabai, Marks 1998;Marks, Chabai 2001;Chabai 2004;Chabai, Uthmeier 2006). ...
... At first glance, surface-shaped tools of the Crimean Micoquian (Fig. 7.4) seem to be in good accordance with the Central European record (Chabai et al. 1995(Chabai et al. , 2002. Again, Keilmesser can be found amongst surface-shaped bifacial tools, and some bifaces have a plan-convex/plan-convex cross section pointing to the "wechselseitig-gleichgerichtete Kantenbearbeitung". ...
Chapter
Since personal ornamentation is quite rare prior to the onset of the Upper Paleolithic and, speaking in quantitative terms, lacks the widespread occurrence that would allow for conclusions regarding standardization, this study focuses on stone artifacts as possible social markers . The article explores the role of bifaces as signals for social identity and, at the same time, tries to take into account the temporal and spatial dynamics of operational chains . As a case study, the two main complexes of the European Late Middle Paleolithic with bifaces – the Mousterian of Acheulean Tradition (MtA) and the Micoquian – are investigated. In general, it is assumed that the contemporaneity of these industries, combined with similar environments and land use patterns, reduces the influence of functional factors. Bifaces are identified as spatially and chronologically stable elements, while concepts of core reduction vary. The importance of bifaces in MtA and Micoquian lithic systems is explained by their potential for resharpening . In both the MtA and the Micoquian, bifaces are means providing partial independence from raw material sources. Qualitative comparisons of the operational chains show marked differences, especially in advanced stages of resharpening. As surrogates of their respective operational chains, bifacial tools are considered social makers. The entire operational chain is seen as reducing social insecurity by materially reinforcing intimate social ties in regular face-to-face-contacts, whereas the tools alone signal social identity in contexts of less frequent interaction with socially distant individuals or even random contact with members of other collectives.
... Due to a variety of reasons, particular attention was paid through the past two decades or so to the paleoethnological explanation model. Several specific works appeared recently, dealing with alternate approaches concerning local MP variability (Chabai et al. 1995; Chabai 1996; Demidenko 1996; 1996a). Despite the apparent benefit of the proposed (new for the Crimea) look at MP records, there are no crucial reasons to reject a paleoethnological explanation (cf. ...
... The Crimean peninsula (northern Black Sea region at the south-east edge of Europe) is quite famous in prehistoric studies because of its numerous Paleolithic sites first investigated over 100 years ago. In contrast to many wellknown deeply stratified Middle Paleolithic sites with abundant artifacts, fauna and even some human (Neanderthal) remains (Chabai et al. 1995;2000;Marks, Chabai 1998), the Crimean Upper Paleolithic has been rather poorly represented until now. Since its first excavations by the pioneer of Crimean Stone Age archaeology, K.S. Merejkowski, in 1879-1880 and then by G.A.Bonch-Osmolowski in 19261929, the Siuren-I rock-shelter (south-western Crimea) remains a key site for Upper Paleolithic studies of the region. ...
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Yu.E. Demidenko. «The Crimean Enigma» — Middle Palaeolithic Artifacts within Early Aurignacian of Krems-Dufour Type Complexes at Siuren-I: Alternative Hypothesis for Solution of the Problem. On the results of new 1990s excavations and taking into consideration all published and partially unpublished data on the previous 1879 — 1880 and 1920s excavations at Siuren-I rock-shelter (Crimea) an attempt was undertaken to elucidate the meaning of the Middle Palaeolithic industrial component (techno-typologically very much similar to flints of the Crimean Micoquian Tradition industries) within the site’s Lower layer 1920s / Units «G» and «H» 1990s cultural bearing deposits containing complexes of the European Early Aurignacian of Krems-Dufour type industry. The analysis with the use of the «alternative hypotheses» method led us to the following conceusions. There are no archaeological levels with only Middle Palaeolithic artifacts within the site’s Upper Paleolithic sequence of 4 hearth / ashy lenses of the Lower layer 1920s / Units «G» and «H» 1990s. Various natural disturbance processes (e. g., cryoturbation or water streams erosion) and other ways penetration of Middle Palaeolithic pieces into Upper Palaeolithic levels should not be considered as actual reasons. The «evolutionary idea» on development of Siuren-I Upper Palaeolithic industry with some «Middle Palaeolithic survival elements» from the local Middle Palaeolithic does not correspond to all archaeological, anthropological, and chronological data, either. Ideas on possible contacts and interactions between Aurignacian Homo Sapiens and Micoquian Neanderthals do no seem to be the likely ones at all, otherwise we would have to agree with «a reverse acculturation model» where Neanderthals have introduced a number of their typical industrial elements into Homo Sapiens’ flint treatment and using systems and the latter «modern» human groups fully accepted and used them with no changes, while the former «archaic» human groups did not share any Upper Palaeolithic / Aurignacian industrial elements. At present time, the only possible explanation goes from the ideas on «alternative visits» to the Siuren-I rock-shelter at ca. 30 000 B. P. by both the Crimean Micoquian Neanderthals («very ephemeral» frequent occupations) and Aurignacian Homo Sapiens (frequent occupations with «short-term camps» features) where under certain sedimentation processes and their rates rich in finds Upper Palaeolithic levels «absorbed» rare Middle Palaeolithic pieces creating now known archaeological sequence with only Upper Palaeolithic levels containing some Middle Palaeolithic items, instead of the assumed actual interstratification of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic levels there. Accepting it, now it is also finally possible to argue that the Siuren-I is the first site in the South-Western Crimea with the Crimean Micoquian Tradition — Kiik-Koba industry complex. Elaboration of «alternative visits» hypothesis for analyses of some Palaeolithic sites and their complexes with so-called «heterogeneous industrial features» seems to be very fruitful and useful for further application.
Article
The Middle Palaeolithic site of Karabi Tamchin is presented here for the first time. Karabi Tamchin is a collapsed rock-shelter in Eastern Crimea (Ukraine), and is the only known, stratified Palaeolithic site in the highland regions of the First Crimean mountain range. Preliminary results of three excavation seasons indicate that the site differs fundamentally from Middle Palaeolithic sites excavated at lower altitudes, in terms of both lithic and faunal exploitation. The site, therefore, provides essential information regarding regional land-use patterns in Crimea. Karabi Tamchin was probably repeatedly occupied by relatively small, mobile groups during short-term, possibly seasonal hunting forays into upland regions.
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