Early pottery in Transbaikal Siberia: New data from Krasnaya Gorka
, Darima Andreeva
, Wolfgang Zech
Laboratory of Archaeology, Institute of Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch, 6 Sakhyanovoi st., 670047
Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, Russian Federation
Institute of General and Experimental Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch, 670047 Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, Russian Federation
Institute of Soil Science and Soil Geography, University Bayreuth, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany
Received 13 April 2016
Received in revised form
14 October 2016
Accepted 25 January 2017
Available online 1 March 2017
The paper presents new results of the site Krasnaya Gorka located in Transbaikal Siberia. New AMS dates
from this site now attest to a Late Pleistocene occupation phase with early pottery. The evidence from
this site enables the study of the development of pottery types and of lithic technology as two main parts
of material culture at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition on the materials of Krasnaya Gorka. On a wider
scale, the complex is compared with other sites with early ceramics in Transbaikal. Some biogeochemical
proxies like pyrogenic carbon, phosphorus, total organic carbon, potassium, magnesium and the stable
isotope 15N were analyzed to get an idea about the intensity of human occupation.
©2017 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved.
During the last years, the discussion about the appearance and
distribution of ceramic traditions has become a topical one due to
new discoveries of Late Pleistocene ceramics in China, Japan,
Russian Far East and the Transbaikal region (Derevianko,
Medvedev, 1993; Boaretto et al., 2009; Jordan and Zvelebil, 2009;
Wu et al., 2012; Sato et al., 2011; Hommel, 2012; Shewkomud
and Yanshina, 2012; Kuzmin, 2015; Jordan et al., 2016). In the
context of the appearance of ceramic producing economies in these
areas, it is accepted that ceramic vessels of hunter-gatherer soci-
eties mark the beginning of the Neolithic. While around 18,000 cal
BC large areas of the northern hemisphere were still glaciated, East
Asian hunter-gatherers were already making ceramic pots
(Boaretto et al., 2009; Wu et al., 2012; Cohen, 2013). Up to now it's
discussed whether the ceramic innovation spread continually from
the earliest centers in China, Japan and the Russian Far East towards
the west all the way to Europe, or whether several different groups
invented pottery independently in this huge area (Gibbs and
Jordan, 2013; Jordan et al., 2016). With regard to this debate, the
natural and cultural environment in which early pottery appeared
is of special importance.
The area east of Lake Baikal in Siberia is one of the few regions in
Eurasia where pottery was already used during the Late Pleistocene
and Early Holocene. Such early pottery complexes were identiﬁed
in Ust’-Karenga XII (7), Studenoye 1 (7-9), Ust’-Menza 1 (5e8), and
Ust’-Khyakhta 3 (Fig. 1)(Jull et al., 2001; Razgildeeva et al., 2013;
Hommel et al., 2013)(Fig. 1) dated at about 12-11 ka BP. Here we
present the new results and materials from the Krasnaya Gorka site.
2. Materials and methods
The study is based on our own Initial Neolithic data from the
Krasnaya Gorka site, as well as published data from other sites of
the Late Paleolithic-Initial Neolithic of the Transbaikal region. The
paper presents the technology of the stone reduction and ceramic
production of the early ceramic complex of Krasnaya Gorka in
comparison to the materials of the same period from other sites in
New dates are presented in the paper and these radiocarbon
analyses were carried out at different the radiocarbon laboratories.
Table 2 informs about the materials analyses and about the absolute
E-mail address: email@example.com (N. Tsydenova).
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Quaternary International 441 (2017) 81e90
For biogeochemical analyses mixed soil samples were taken
from 0 to 5 cm, 5e12 cm, 12e30 cm, 30e45 cm and 45e60 cm
depth, representing a typical artifact rich section of the trench. This
proﬁle has similar properties as Anthrosols (WRB, 2015) due to the
inﬂuence of man. For comparison two artifact free soil proﬁles with
similar topographic conditions were studied: one ca. 50 m distance
from the excavation, having similar morphological properties as the
Anthrosol like proﬁle, the other one about 400 m away, having a
50 cm thick (WRB, 2015) which were sampled every 10 cm. Soil
samples were air-dried and sieved (<2 mm). Total organic carbon
N were measured using a EURO EA Elemental
Analyzer (EuroVector, Hekatech, Germany) coupled via a Conﬂow
III interface to an isotope mass spectrometer (IRMS, Finnigan Delta
V Advantage, Thermo Scientiﬁc, Bremen, Germany). Precision of
N measurements was 0.3
. For P, K, Mg extraction, 3 g of freeze-
dried soil was digested with 21 mL HCl and 7 mL HNO3 for 16 h.
Samples were then analyzed using an inductively-coupled plasma
optical emission spectrometer. Pyrolized carbon (Black Carbon, BC)
contents and its composition were determined by measuring the
benzene polycarboxylic acids (BPCAs) following Glaser et al. (1998)
with the modiﬁcation of Brodowski et al. (2005). BPCAs were
separated and quantiﬁed by GC/FID using an HP 5 column (see also
Kappenberg et al., 2016).
3.1. Krasnaya Gorka: description
Krasnaya Gorka is located in the north-eastern part of Western
Transbaikal on the northern bank of Lake Bol'shoe Eravnoe (Fig. 2).
Located 6 m above the actual water level, it occupies the terraced
gentle slopes framing the northern shore of Lake Bol'shoe Yeravnoe.
At present, the site is grass covered and periodically grazed.
The discovery of the site, excavations and descriptions of the
materials were carried out by N. Tsydenova. The archaeological
materials associated with the Initial Neolithic were found in the
lithological layer 4 corresponding to cultural level 2. Table 1 and
Fig. 3 inform in detail about the stratigraphy of the excavation.
Altogether the cultural level 2 encompass 1603 artifacts and 20
small fragments of bone remnants.
Lithic artifacts of this cultural horizon have a Paleolithic
They include, among others, cores and preforms, divided in some
Total number of cores is 29 pieces.
1. Wedge-shaped microcores: 19 pieces (Fig. 4 e1, 2, 4).
2. Microprismatic (conical) cores: 9 pieces (Fig. 4e3).
3. Prismatic core: 1 piece.
The core reduction is illustrated also by preforms and technical
Preforms: 15 pieces.
1. Different wedge-shaped performs with rough bifacial prepara-
tion: 14 pieces (Fig. 4e5, 6).
2. Orthogonal: 1 piece.
Fig. 1. Map of the Baikal region and the Initial Neolithic sites: 1 eKrasnaya Gorka; 2 eUst’-Karenga XII; 3, 4 eStudenoye 1, Ust’-Menza 1; 5 eUst’-Khyakhta 3.
N. Tsydenova et al. / Quaternary International 441 (2017) 81e9082
Technical spalls e19 pieces: spalls of the underworking of
striking platforms e15 (“tablets”- 6, including long «tablet-like”
spalls) (Fig. 4e7, 8); crested spalls of the preparation of front e4
Cores, preforms and technical spalls allow us to reconstruct the
core reduction process. Preforms usually were made of the wedge
shape by the rough bifacial retouching with preparation of the ﬂat
striking platform on this stage. The under-working of the striking
platform was made from the laterals and frontal side. Even the
technology of core reduction is similar with the bifacial Yubetsu-
like tradition, but there aren't ski-spalls.
Received microblades and small blades (0,9-1,2 cm width) were
used as an inserts at that time when not straight samples were
rejected. Fact of the using microblades mainly without second
retouch can be explained as an archaic feature. Only 12 samples
from 116 pieces have been retouched and other 104 samples were
used without special retouching and have traces of the utilization
(Fig. 4e28). The same fact was pointed for the Late Paleolithic
complexes (Konstantinov, 1994; Tashak, 2000).
There are not also a lot of other tools made on bladed blanks: 47
pieces. All of them are not big and the largest of them has a length
around 7 cm (Fig. 4e29). Total amount of knives on bladed spalls
and ﬂakes with retouch are 11 and knives only with utilization
retouch e36 pieces.
Among tool-forms made on bladed blanks are interesting small
points on bladed ﬂakes: 2 samples. They were made by the steep
micro-retouching form ventral and dorsal sides.
Also a few numbers of the perforators on microblades and spall
are to be pointed e3 pieces.
Very interesting tools are burins divided in some groups by their
types, forms and sizes. Total mount of them are 17.
1. Transversal burins on microblades and small bladese3 pieces
2. Burins on small (1,5-2,0 cm) bladed ﬂakes and spalls e8 pieces
(Fig. 4e13e18). Among them are presented 6 transversal, 1
combined etransversal and side-burin, 1 dihedral burin.
3. Transversal burins on more thick bladed spalls and ﬂakes of
middle size (2,0e2,5 cm) - 3 pieces, and bigger (2,5-4,0 cm) e3
pieces (Fig. 4e20e23). Some of them are combined tools eon
one of the ends with scraper and on another end with burins e2
specimens (Fig. 4e23).
It should be pointed out that some of these burins formed on the
Fig. 2. General view on the Krasnaya Gorka site.
Description of the lithological layers.
Lithological layers Thickness, m
1 Loamy sand, dark, rich in soil organic matter. 0.05
2 Dark chestnut loamy sand. The layer is thick and packed and occasionally powdery in its upper part. It differs from the
underlying one by large amount of minor rock pieces and is separated from it by a layer of rock pieces.
The color is almost darker than that of the underlying layer.
3 Loamy sand, brownish black with a lesser amount of rock pieces 0.15e0.25
4 Loamy sand, light brown. The structure is looser than that of the overlying layer and ﬁlled with large rock pieces. 0.15e0.25
5 Gravel layer, yellowish, in the northern and southern walls overlying rocky parent material. 0.10e0.15
6 Rocky parent material. >0.10
N. Tsydenova et al. / Quaternary International 441 (2017) 81e90 83
proximal side of the blanks e12 pieces.
Also there are some burin spalls in the collection e9 pieces
(Fig. 4e11, 12 ).
Bifaces are presented only by 6 samples in the collection of
Krasnaya Gorka and all of them are fragments of different sizes
(Fig. 4e9, 10). But it's clear that they are not performs of the cores as
in the Yubetsu-like traditions which usually have leaf-like shape.
Another group of tools are presented by scrapers e33 pieces.
They can be divided as some types described below.
1. End-scrapers on bladed ﬂakes and spalls e11 pieces
2. Side-scrapers on ﬂakes and bladed spalls e19 pieces.
3. Round-form scrapers on ﬂakes e3 pieces (Fig. 4e24).
It seems that the scrapers of this collection are typologically
very polymorphous. As blanks for them often were used ﬂakes and
spalls not of special shapes. Exceptions are only some end scrapers
Also, there are some suitable tools which were made on different
suitable ﬂakes and spalls without secondary retouching. They are
used as scrapers and knives. Total mount of them are 22 pieces.
A small group of tools is presented by drawing knives made on
bladed ﬂakes: 7 pieces. Working side of them is carried out as
grooves by micro-retouching on laterals.
Plane tool (?) e1 sample on a middle-sized nodule of a thin,
prolong shape, which has primary crust; working edges on two thin
terminal sides are formed by semi-abrupt retouching.
The collection also includes a few pebbles with and without
traces of utilization: 9 pieces. One of them has a long narrow shape
and negatives of the chipping on two ends.
Total amount of the ﬂakes, spalls and other artifacts without
retouch and traces of utilization: 1167 samples, 96 of them being
microblades and small blades with irregular forms, which is why
they were rejected.
One of the ancient (Paleolithic) characteristics of this collection
is that the main raw materials for the artifacts were ﬂints e69,8%,
when other part consists of jasperoids e24,3%, chalcedonies e5,2%
and other materials e0,7% (shale, quartzite, rock crystal).
The pottery sherds found along with the stone implements
referred this collection to the Neolithic. Ceramic has a brown color
and rough paste with sand and plant temper. They are different
from the Early eMiddle Neolithic potteries, which are usually more
thin and have better paste.
91 fragments were described and grouped according to thick-
ness and decorations:
1. Fragments of the thin-walled plain pottery samples with no
ornaments (0,4e0,5 cm thick) and 1 fragment of evenly cut rim
ornamented by thin incisions (Fig. 5 -2).
2. Fragments of the thin-walled (0,4e0,5 cm thick) pottery sam-
ples with smoothed cord impressions (Fig. 5e4). Some frag-
ments were dated on food crust and did not turn out to be of
3. Fragments of the pottery samples of average thickness
(0,6e0,7 cm) with smoothed cord impressions (Fig. 5e3, 5, 6).
4. Major part of the ceramic fragments is presented by plain pot-
tery sherds of average thickness and with no ornaments
(Fig. 5e1;Fig. 6), among which there is 1 fragment with an
evenly cut rim and 1 thick pointed-bottomed sample.
5. Fragment of average thickness with comb-like (?) impressions,
possibly made by cord (Fig. 5e7).
As for the pottery forming technology, it is difﬁcult to deﬁne due
to the small amount of diagnostically good fragments. There are
some technological features, one of them being bi-layering, as it is
shown on the pictures (Fig. 5 and 6). This probably could be
explained by the use of overlapped clay bands or patchwork-like
method. Only one piece of fragment demonstrates that it was
produced probably by bands (?). Anyway, it is not possible to
determine which of these methods was used.
3.2. Radiocarbon dates
In summary, the paper informs about the following new dates
(Table 2,Fig. 7):
-6180±50 BP (Poz-68594), and
-11,155±50 BP (AAR-21437) both of charred food crusts pre-
served on pottery sherds,
- 12,020 ±60 BP (Poz-68609) of charcoal,
- 12,010 ±60 BP (Poz-68608) of bone fragment.
Fig. 3. Krasnaya Gorka: stratigraphy of the proﬁle, trench 1.
N. Tsydenova et al. / Quaternary International 441 (2017) 81e9084
Fig. 4. Krasnaya Gorka: stone artifacts, level 2.
N. Tsydenova et al. / Quaternary International 441 (2017) 81e90 85
Already earlier a radiocarbon age of 8345 ±66 cal BC (KIA42073)
of food crusts obtained from an undecorated potsherd found in
cultural horizon 2 was published (Hartz et al., 2012).
3.3. Biogeochemical results indicating human interactions
Here only some preliminary results will be presented; a detailed
description of the biogeochemical ﬁndings will be presented
The human impact in the artifact rich horizons of Krasnaya
Gorka is well demonstrated by biogeochemical analyses. For
instance by increased pyrogenic carbon contents in the artifact rich
proﬁle decreasing from layer 1 to layer 4 from 355 to 223 g kg
TOC, whereas in the artifact free control proﬁles only 194e95 and
149 e94 g kg
TOC could be detected. (see also Glaser et al., 1998;
Brodowski et al., 2005). Of interest are also the ratios of benzene-
polycarboxyl acids (Glaser and Knorr, 2008; Kappenberger et al.,
2016). In the artifact rich soil only B3CA/B6CA-ratios of 0.11.-0.20
were detected, whereas in the control soils the corresponding ra-
tios increased up to 0.44, indicating that ﬁre induced carboxylation
of pyrogenic carbon was more advanced in the soil occupied by
human. In addition, phosphorus contents (aqua regia extract) in the
artifact rich layers were much higher (up to 3.5 g kg
soil) than in
the corresponding control proﬁles (less than 1.28 g kg
Phosphorus as well as pyrogenic carbon, are well known as in-
dicators of human impact on soils. Total organic carbon (TOC), an
indicator for organic matter input, decreased in the artifact rich
proﬁle from 5.87% (layer 1) to 1.10% (layer 4), whereas in the two
control proﬁles TOC decreased from 4.9 to 0.62% and from 2.48 to
0.61% with soil depth, indicating less or even no human inﬂuence.
Another proxy most likely indicating the consumption of fresh-
water ﬁsh seems to be documented in elevated
N values of the
soil organic matter. In the artifact rich proﬁle up to 15.15
detected, whereas in the control proﬁles highest
N values were
, respectively. Finally it should be mentioned
that the artifact rich soil horizons generally also contain higher K
(up to 4.0%) and Mg (up to 0.23%) values, most likely indicating ash
input due to frequent burning for cooking and heating. The
maximum values of the control proﬁles were 1.6% and 0.8% K, and
0.9% and 0.5% Mg, respectively.
The obtained dates outline the problem of dating of the
Fig. 5. Krasnaya Gorka: ceramic fragments, level 2.
N. Tsydenova et al. / Quaternary International 441 (2017) 81e9086
complex, which can be explained in different ways:
1) The cover layers at our research plot are of diluvial origin, thus,
compression of the artifact rich layer resulting in horizontal
shifts of some materials can be assumed. Also deep freezing of
the soils during wintertime may disturb the original
stratigraphy of bones and pottery. But the homogeneity of the
soil texture does not indicate pronounced horizontal shifts.
Additionally, residues of a small ﬁre in the form of a charcoal-
soot stain surrounded by small pieces of coal and small frag-
ments of scorched bones were found in the bottom layer, which
indicates that the horizontal shifts of artifacts were not serious.
Fig. 6. Krasnaya Gorka: ceramic fragments and reconstruction of the vessel, level 2.
Radiocarbon dates from Krasnaya Gorka, level 2. Dates have been calibrated using OxCal v4.2.3 (Bronk Ramsey, 2009) and the IntCal13 atmospheric curve (Reimer et al., 2013).
Site Lab. Code Context Material C14 age (bp)
Poz-68608 Trench 1, level 2 Small fragments
12,010 ±60 eeee12,036e11786 BCE Small sample:
0.4 mg C
Poz-68609 Trench 1, level 2 Charcoal 12,020 ±60 eeee12,101e11792 BCE
AAR-21437 Trench 1,
level 2, ﬁnd
no. 254, 255
11,155 ±50 26.11 25.68 e69.611 11,169e10905 BCE
KIA 42,073 Trench 1, level 2,
8345 ±66 25.08 eee 7541e7188 BCE Small
sample:0.7 mg C
Poz-68594 Trench 1,
level 2, ﬁnd
no. 62 (?), 152
6180 ±50 eeee5292e4999 BCE Small sample:
0.12 mg C
N. Tsydenova et al. / Quaternary International 441 (2017) 81e90 87
Also stratigraphy of the deposits in the trench and the test pits of
Krasnaya Gorka as well as in the test pits and uncoverings in the
proximity of the site is similar, which can be considered as
conﬁrmation of the fact that the layers containing archaeolog-
ical material are not signiﬁcantly disrupted.
2) In general, the complex of materials look rather homogenous
both in core reduction and in pottery. This is more likely to be
the evidence of incorrect dating, as the dates have been received
on the basis of an exclusively small amount of samples, which
could have affected the dating process in case of an more young
impurity. For example, the date of 8345 ±66 (KIA42073) was
gained on such a sample with the proviso that the item is
probably older. The date of 6180 ±50 (Poz-68594) was also
obtained from charred food crust on some of the fragments.
Besides, cord imprints found on them are not similar to those of
the Early Neolithic vessels. They are made by a thicker cord and
smoothed, which makes it difﬁcult to conﬁrm the dates. Prob-
ably, this is not entirely correct because these imprints are
similar to those of thicker fragments from level 2, which have
smoothed cord imprints as well. But we cannot exclude bio-
turbation in the form of vertical shift of cord pottery samples of
later dates, although they were found in the layer and there
were no shift traces noted.
While a freshwater reservoir effect in the date 11,155 ±50 (AAR-
21437) is possible, especially in the context of new Anthrosol data
(see 2.3.), this could not have resulted, by all accounts, in an age
more than a few centuries too old.
Anyway more datings are necessary to conﬁrm and specify this
4.2. Comparison with other Late Pleistocene- Holocene transitional
sites in the Transbaikal region
For understanding of the pottery origin in Transbaikal and
especially in Krasnaya Gorka it is important to correlate our
ﬁndings with those of other early ceramic complexes like Ust’-
Karenga, Studenoye 1 (7e9), Ust’-Menza 1 (5e8), and Ust’-
Khyakhta 3 (Konstantinov, 1994; Aseev, 2003; Vetrov, 2012;
Razgildeeva et al., 2013; Hommel, 2012; Tsydenova and Piezonka,
4.2.1. Lithic assemblages
The stone implements of Krasnaya Gorka demonstrate some
similarities with those of the localities mentioned above. In most of
these collections there is evidence of the use of bifacial techniques
of performs preparation, wedge-shaped cores, microblades, trans-
versal burins, knives on bifaces, end scrapers on bladed ﬂakes and
some other tools (Konstantinov, 1994; Vetrov, 2012).
Even the ceramics of the Ust’-Karenga XII site (level 7) looks
younger than that of the other sites, the core reduction looks more
ancient in comparison with the core reductions of the sites
mentioned above. It demonstrates the Yubetsu-like tradition
Another problem lies in the understanding of the technology of
stone debitage of the Studenoye industry. M.V. Konstantinov, the
author who distinguished Studenoye culture on the basis of Stu-
denoye 1e2, Ust’-Menza 1e2, Altan and some other sites, did not
give a detailed description of the core reduction technology and
only pointed out that the Late Paleolithic-Early Neolithic complexes
are characterized by wedge-shaped cores. He also suggested that
the knapping technology had sequence from the Late Pleistocene to
the Early Holocene (Konstantinov, 1994). However, later he and his
colleagues published results of their studies of Studenoye 2 and
Ust’-Menza 1 and 2, where, as we can see from the publications, the
bottom layers demonstrate development from the Togesita-like
microblade tradition at an early stage (c. 18,000-14,000 BP) to the
industry with bifaces and some similarities to the Selenga industry
at a later time (12,000-9500 BP) (Razgildeeva, 2009; Moroz, 2014).
According to the microcores of the earliest ceramic complexes of
Studenoye 1, found in the book of M.V. Konstantinov (Konstantinov,
1994, Fig. 52e1.), there are preforms on small pebbles with bifacial
Fig. 7. Scheme with radiocarbon dates.
N. Tsydenova et al. / Quaternary International 441 (2017) 81e9088
retouching and ﬂat striking platform prepared on this stage. This
strategy is not the same used in the Yubetsu-like technique, but
similar like microcore preparation technique of Krasnaya Gorka.
In the artifact collection of Studenoe 1 and Ust’-Menza 1 there is
a small amount of points on blades deﬁned to those of Ust’-Kyakhta
type on divergent spalls (Tashak, 2005; Moroz, 2014). However,
there are none among Studenoe and Ust’-Menza materials
(Konstantinov,1994). Bifacial implements are also small in number.
A bifacial knife of oblong shape of the Early Holocene was noted in
Studenoye 1 (layer 7) (Konstantinov, 1994). Late Paleolithic hori-
zons of Studenoye 1 (layer 17) and Ust’-Menza 1 (layer 14) rarely
demonstrate bifacial samples as well (Konstantinov, 1994; Moroz,
There is not an agreement whether several ceramic fragments
from layer 1 of the Ust’-Kyakhta 3 site are related to the Late
Pleistocene sediment. These fragments are also published only in
preliminary form (Aseev, 2003). There is no evidence of bifacial
artifacts. Most of the tools were manufactured from bladed blanks:
retouched blades, microblades, end scrapers on bladed ﬂakes and
spalls and others. The stone industry is deﬁned as similar to the
unifacial Selenga tradition (Pavlenok, 2014).
It is very interesting to compare the burins from Krasnaya Gorka
with transversal and “dihedral-transversal”burins of “Selenga”
tradition distinguished by V.I. Tashak all of the “Selenga”traditional
burins were made on bladed ﬂakes and working sides usually were
prepared on the distal part of them. The lateral which is contacted
with the burins working angle has round shape. Another feature of
the “Selenga”burins is the technological method when the tools
were made thinner (Tashak, 2005). There is not the same method in
the complex of Krasnaya Gorka, where the transversal burins rather
similar with burins from Ust’-Karenga.
In the context of unifacial character of Ust’-Kyakhta 3 industry,
we should pay special attention to the materials of the sites Kiba-
lino 1, 2 located in the Selenga river basin. The assemblage of
Kibalino 1 characterized by a combination of wedge-shaped cores
and archaic pottery, is included as thin dark paleosoil layer in
whitish loess-like sediments. The sites were discovered by L.G.
Ivashina in 1977 (Ivashina, 1993).
Similarities between the vessels from Studenoe 1 (layers 8, 9),
Ust’-Menza 1 (layer 8) and those of Ust’-Karenga are noted by O.V.
Yanshina, a ceramic expert (Razgildeeva et al., 2013). According to
her, pottery samples from the former two sites are related to the
same cultural tradition. Comparing them to the samples of Ust’-
Karenga, she also noted the following common features of tech-
nological and stylistic nature: 1) parabolic shape of the vessels with
pointed base and rim of simple shape; 2) some sherds are cord-
marked or have vertical comb scrapes on their outer surfaces; 3)
some samples of Ust’-Karenga and one of Studenoye (layer 9G)
have horizontal comb scrapes on their interiors; 4) the latter vessel
has comb impressions on both rim edges; 5) mineral and plant-
ﬁber use as temper. However, on the basis of the pottery from
Studenoye 1 and Ust’-Menza 1 the reconstruction of technology
turned out to be complicated due to the non-diagnostic samples.
There are only several sherds, which breaks were formed along the
junctures, edges of these junctures being horizontal. The researcher
suggests, that the vessels were manufactured using either paste
bands or patches. From the researchers perspective, Chikoi ce-
ramics looked more archaic and less developed in comparison to
the samples of Ust’-Karenga, but these differences could have re-
ﬂected local peculiarities (Razgildeeva et al., 2013). Ust’-Karenga
pottery demonstrates a wide range of ornaments, which is striking,
and the use of conventional technology. The vessels were formed
by horizontal pieces, recurring junctures are being distinctly seen
(Razgildeeva et al., 2013). According to the director of the excava-
tion, manufacturing technology of the vessels from Ust’-Karenga
site represents band-built technique with the use of clay circuits,
which is conﬁrmed by distinct negative and positive patterns of
their junctures. Double-layer walls of some vessels, more typical of
near-bottom parts, are described as a sign of smoothing by adding
some extra layers on certain rough parts (Vetrov, 2012).
The collection of sherds of Krasnaya Gorka is unpresentable, but
it has some speciﬁc features, which makes it more similar to the
vessels of Ust’-Karenga culture or to those of Studenoye 1 (layer 8,
9), Ust’-Menza 1 (layer 8), but it also has some distinctions. First of
all, resemblance is found in the pointed-bottomed vessels with
rims of simple shape. Another similarity is the presence of mineral
and plant-ﬁber temper. One of the items is decorated with slightly
seen zigzag comb pattern. However, these impressions are rather
indistinct. The hallmark of ceramic technology of layer 2 of Kras-
naya Gorka site is the use of double layers and bands joins, which
are found on some sherds. The vessel forming technology may have
been similar to that of Ust’-Karenga, but the main difference is that
the vessels found in Krasnaya Gorka site mostly have smooth walls
and are not decorated. However, there are several samples with
slight impressions on their exterior surfaces which could have been
left from thick loosely twisted cord. This also demonstrates simi-
larity to the early potteries with cord or stroke-like decorations of
the other sites of the Transbaikal region.
Among the pottery sherds of another Late Pleistocene site of
southern Transbaikal Ust’-Kyakhta 3 (layer 1) only a few were
distinguished and brieﬂy described (Aseev, 2003). According to the
description, the ceramic remnants are thin, slightly burnished and
do not bear any ornament; they are dark brown with slightly
everted rim. The paste is tempered with sand and crushed ostrich
eggshells. Impressions of horizontal lines were noted on the inner
surface, which, along with the samples of Ust’-Karenga and Far
Eastern sites, may conﬁrm early age. However, the lack of any il-
lustrations does not allow any deﬁnite conclusions.
The site of Krasnaya Gorka has revealed an archaeological
complex that combines stone implements of the Late Paleolithic
character with early ceramic ﬁnds. The dates now add Krasnaya
Gorka to the small number of sites in the Transbaikal region with
evidence of pre-Holocene pottery use in the 12th and 11th
millennia cal BC.
In the future it will be necessary to extend the series of radio-
carbon dates and to conduct a number of other researches
(reconstruction of paleoclimate, paleoeconomy, anthrosol proper-
ties etc.). Further ﬁeldwork of the site and search for both
contemporary and slightly younger complexes of a similar char-
acter in the same region are also needed.
The Initial Neolithic pottery of the Transbaikal region has its
similarities and differences. The sets of the stone implements are in
general alike and includes wedge-shaped cores, microblade inserts,
end scrapers, transversal and angular burins, ceramic. On the
contrary, technological features of core reduction process and tool
production are various. It should be noted that this kind of analysis
is difﬁcult to conduct due to the lack of detailed publications.
Apparently, territorial remoteness of the sites had pre-
determined their local distinctions. As for the similarities, they may
be explained by the common Paleolithic origins. Although these
foundations are different from each other, yet their geographical
alternation (Tsydenova and Piezonka, 2015;Fig. 1) somehow had
drawn these traditions closer to one another. For instance, stone
artifacts of the Late Paleolithic-Early Neolithic horizons Studenoye
1, 2 and Ust’-Menza 1, 2 possibly demonstrate such “mix”, revealing
N. Tsydenova et al. / Quaternary International 441 (2017) 81e90 89
the features of both bifacial and unifacial (Selenga) traditions. An
important one is the problem of the presence of early ceramics and
its characteristics in the unifacial complexes of Selenga type. In this
context, investigations of the sites Kibalino 1, 2 are of interest.
For further research, it is also needed to conduct a comparison
study of Transbaikal and Far East materials (Amur River Region,
Japan, Northern China and others). It can shed light on the ques-
tion: was the ceramic innovation arrived as part of a wider complex
of new technologies and cultural characteristics, or it was incor-
porated into an already existing cultural sphere.
We are indebted to Prof. Bruno Glaser, University of Halle,
Germany, for supporting the biogeochemical analysis. Also we are
thankful to Dr. H. Piezonka for her help with absolute dating.
Special thanks to editors Professor H. Sato and Dr. K. Morisaki for
their kind invitation to participate in this issue. And we are thankful
to all reviewers for their helpful comments.
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