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Early pottery in Transbaikal Siberia: New data from Krasnaya Gorka


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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.
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Early pottery in Transbaikal Siberia: New data from Krasnaya Gorka
Natalia Tsydenova
, 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
article info
Article history:
Received 13 April 2016
Received in revised form
14 October 2016
Accepted 25 January 2017
Available online 1 March 2017
Early pottery
Krasnaya Gorka
Late Paleolithic
Initial Neolithic
Lithic technologies
Biogeochemical proxies
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.
1. Introduction
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 identied
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
ages found.
*Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (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
prole has similar properties as Anthrosols (WRB, 2015) due to the
inuence of man. For comparison two artifact free soil proles with
similar topographic conditions were studied: one ca. 50 m distance
from the excavation, having similar morphological properties as the
Anthrosol like prole, 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
(TOC) and
N were measured using a EURO EA Elemental
Analyzer (EuroVector, Hekatech, Germany) coupled via a Conow
III interface to an isotope mass spectrometer (IRMS, Finnigan Delta
V Advantage, Thermo Scientic, 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 modication of Brodowski et al. (2005). BPCAs were
separated and quantied by GC/FID using an HP 5 column (see also
Kappenberg et al., 2016).
3. Results
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 at
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 akes 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 akes: 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
(Fig. 4e19).
2. Burins on small (1,5-2,0 cm) bladed akes 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 akes 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.
Table 1
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 lled 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 akes and spalls e11 pieces
(Fig. 4e25e27).
2. Side-scrapers on akes and bladed spalls e19 pieces.
3. Round-form scrapers on akes e3 pieces (Fig. 4e24).
It seems that the scrapers of this collection are typologically
very polymorphous. As blanks for them often were used akes and
spalls not of special shapes. Exceptions are only some end scrapers
and round-scrapers.
Also, there are some suitable tools which were made on different
suitable akes 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 akes: 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 akes, 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 ints 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
early age.
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 difcult to dene 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 prole, 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 ndings 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
prole decreasing from layer 1 to layer 4 from 355 to 223 g kg
TOC, whereas in the artifact free control proles 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 re 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 proles (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
prole from 5.87% (layer 1) to 1.10% (layer 4), whereas in the two
control proles TOC decreased from 4.9 to 0.62% and from 2.48 to
0.61% with soil depth, indicating less or even no human inuence.
Another proxy most likely indicating the consumption of fresh-
water sh seems to be documented in elevated
N values of the
soil organic matter. In the artifact rich prole up to 15.15
detected, whereas in the control proles highest
N values were
and 8.88
, 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 proles were 1.6% and 0.8% K, and
0.9% and 0.5% Mg, respectively.
4. Discussion
4.1. Chronology
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 re 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.
Table 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)
13C (dual-inlet)
C:N ratio
Calibrated age
(95.4% probability)
Poz-68608 Trench 1, level 2 Small fragments
of bone
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, nd
no. 254, 255
Charred crust
from exterior
of potsherd
11,155 ±50 26.11 25.68 e69.611 11,169e10905 BCE
KIA 42,073 Trench 1, level 2,
nd no.
Charred crust
from exterior
of potsherd
8345 ±66 25.08 eee 7541e7188 BCE Small
sample:0.7 mg C
Poz-68594 Trench 1,
level 2, nd
no. 62 (?), 152
Charred crust
from interior
of potsherd
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
conrmation of the fact that the layers containing archaeolog-
ical material are not signicantly 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 difcult to conrm 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 conrm 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
ndings 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 akes 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
(Vetrov, 1995).
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 at 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 dened 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 akes and
spalls and others. The stone industry is dened as similar to the
unifacial Selenga tradition (Pavlenok, 2014).
It is very interesting to compare the burins from Krasnaya Gorka
with transversal and dihedral-transversalburins of Selenga
tradition distinguished by V.I. Tashak all of the Selengatraditional
burins were made on bladed akes 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 Selengaburins 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).
4.2.2. Ceramics
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-
ber 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-
ected 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 conrmed 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 specic 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-ber 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 briey 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 conrm early age. However, the lack of any il-
lustrations does not allow any denite conclusions.
5. Conclusions
The site of Krasnaya Gorka has revealed an archaeological
complex that combines stone implements of the Late Paleolithic
character with early ceramic nds. 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 eldwork 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 difcult 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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... However, because of the microbotanical remains of semi-domesticated and domesticated rice associated with pottery, deposited materials prone to diagenesis in the karstic cave environment, and thermoluminescence dates on pottery reported from earlier studies, also potentially suggest dates closer to the Holocene (Iizuka, 2018;Lu, 2010;Yanshina and Sobolev, 2018;Zhang, 2002;Zhao, 1998). In the Transbaikal region of Russia, various radiocarbon dates and more recent AMS-14 C dates obtained directly from carbonized encrustation on pottery fall within ca.14,000-12,900 cal BP (Buvit et al., 2003;Hommel et al., 2017;Konstantinov, 1994;Razgildeeva et al., 2013;Tsydenova et al., 2017). Nevertheless, those who observe wide regional stratigraphic relations suggest ca. ...
... Although stratigraphic sequences tend to be well-established chronologically, some radiometric dates point to late Pleistocene occupations (ca. 14,000-12,000 cal BP) while others yield distinct Holocene ages, and there are age-depth reversals at some sites (Buvit et al., 2003;Hommel et al., 2017;Konstantinov, 1994;Razgildeeva et al., 2013;Tsydenova et al., 2017). With these results, while those following radiocarbon dates argue for a late Pleistocene occupation (Hommel et al., 2017;Razdilgeeva et al., 2013;Tsydenova et al., 2022, this volume;Tsydenova et al., 2017), Konstantinov (2016Konstantinov ( , 1994 argues that the early ceramics are from the warm period of the Atlantic Optimum, ca. ...
... 14,000-12,000 cal BP) while others yield distinct Holocene ages, and there are age-depth reversals at some sites (Buvit et al., 2003;Hommel et al., 2017;Konstantinov, 1994;Razgildeeva et al., 2013;Tsydenova et al., 2017). With these results, while those following radiocarbon dates argue for a late Pleistocene occupation (Hommel et al., 2017;Razdilgeeva et al., 2013;Tsydenova et al., 2022, this volume;Tsydenova et al., 2017), Konstantinov (2016Konstantinov ( , 1994 argues that the early ceramics are from the warm period of the Atlantic Optimum, ca. 7000-6000 years ago, observing stratigraphic layers from which they are found. ...
... 14,700 cal BP) (Taniguchi, 2006;. Meanwhile, the earliest pottery of the Osipovka culture in the Russian Far East, including ceramics from Gasya, Goncharka-1, and Novotroitskoe-10 sites, and in the Middle Amur River Basin (Derevianko et al., 2017;Tsydenova, 2017) is as old as the earliest ceramics in Japan (Hashizume et al., 2016(Hashizume et al., , 2017Yanshina, 2017). In South China, Xianrendong and Yuchanyan caves yielded the oldest radiocarbon dates for pottery (Boaretto et al., 2009;Wu et al., 2012). ...
A number of AMS radiocarbon dates, accumulated since the 1990's, reveal that ceramic technology first developed among non-agricultural, hunter-gatherer societies in the late Pleistocene of East Asia. Specifically, on the Japanese Archipelago the radiocarbon chronology indicates a diverse trajectory of pottery adoption. The earliest adoption of pottery here was by mobile hunter-gatherers, regardless of region and climatic event. On the other hand, pottery culture suddenly started to flourish later along the warmer Pacific coastline region of southwestern Japan just after the onset of climatic warming of the Late Glacial, and spread throughout the archipelago by the onset of the Holocene. Climatic amelioration, therefore, did not induce the ‘beginning’ of pottery use, but prompted the ‘development’ of sedentary lifestyles accompanying intensified use of pottery. This complicated situation clearly means that motivation and context of pottery adoption do not follow a simple explanation. However, recent studies of chemical and isotope analyses of charred residues on pottery indicate similar use of early pottery throughout the archipelago in the late Pleistocene and the early Holocene. This paper critically re-evaluates these issues through examining synchronic and diachronic archaeological contexts. Existing data indicate that there is great inter-regional variability in technology, subsistence, paleoenvironment, and adaptation associated with pottery, therefore the motivation for the adoption of pottery is distinct within various geographical, environmental, and temporal contexts in the archipelago.
... The current state of knowledge is heterogeneous, and systematic multi-proxy research including the building of robust absolute chronologies is needed to better understand the history of early ceramics. Over the last years, the problem of insufficient chronological data has been addressed by targeted dating efforts in various regions across North Eurasia, including Japan and the Far East (Taniguchi, 2017), Trans-Baikalia (Hommel et al., 2017;Tsydenova et al., 2017) and North-East Europe (e.g., Hartz et al., 2012;Lucquin et al., 2018;Zajtseva et al., 2016). Our study aims to start filling this gap for the Urals and West Siberia. ...
The emergence of pottery among Stone Age hunter-gatherer societies of Eurasia constitutes one of the major open questions in Old World prehistory. Located halfway between the earliest Late Glacial cores of pottery production in East Asia, and Eastern Europe with forager ceramic starting around 6000 cal BC, the Urals and West Siberia are a key region in various scenarios currently under discussion. A lack of reliable absolute dates has been hindering an in-depth understanding of the temporal and spatial scales of the initial spread of the ceramic innovation. A Russian-German dating programme has now created a more reliable chronology of the early pottery phase, based on 28 AMS dates from across the study region. Taking freshwater reservoir effects into account, we can show that the earliest reliable evidence for pottery stems from the West Siberian forest steppes and Urals foothills, dating to the end of the 7th millennium cal BC. Over the following centuries, the innovation spread rapidly north into the taiga. Here, the early pottery horizon coincides with a unique set of innovations and intensification in the settlement system and the socio-economic sphere, including the appropriation of vast previously barely settled regions, the emergence of complex and even fortified settlements, and of ritual mounds. Pilot isotopic analyses of pottery charred crusts indicate diverse functions of the early vessels that were apparently not restricted to the processing of fish. The emerging wider picture indicates a surprisingly late, largely concurrent appearance of pottery in hunter-gatherer groups over extensive areas along the southern fringes of the taiga to both sides of the Urals at the end of the 7th millennium cal BC which is apparently not connected to the earlier, Late Pleistocene ceramic traditions in Trans-Baikalia and further East. Possible links to the 8.2 ka climatic event, other underlying triggers as well as the detailed chronology of these developments are still poorly understood and require further archaeological, biomolecular and typological studies.
... Recently, with the expanding of archaeological investigations in the north-eastern Asia, new archaeological sites produced an evidence for the oldest ceramic production. For example, the Krasnaya Gorka site on the Bolshoe Eravninsky Lake on the southeast face of the Vitim Plateau, 390 km from the Ust-Karenga archaeological complex, was discovered 47 and partially investigated (see Fig. 1). According to the published data, ceramics dates to 11 150 ± 50 (AAR-21437) -12 010 ± 60 (Poz-68-608). ...
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Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers in East Asia adopted pottery, yet the ability to reconstruct circulation, mobility, and exchange has been hampered, in part, due to problematic regional geochronology. The driving forces behind pottery adoption is unclear. The purpose of this study is to test our results of the first systematic petrographic pottery sourcing from the pre-Younger Dryas by utilizing neutron activation analysis. We examine samples from the Sankauyama I site on Tanegashima Island, southern Japan, dating to the Incipient Jomon, ca. 14,000/13,500–12,800 cal BP, with a well-defined geochronology. Our NAA results corroborate with the petrographic study suggesting that pottery was mainly produced in-situ, but some vessels were transported long distances from another island. Changing from high mobility, sedentary Incipient Jomon foragers made pottery, occasionally investing in long-distance ceramic vessel transportation and exchange likely involving ocean crossing. This may be associated with a risk-buffering strategy in the context of rising sea levels and isolation of Tanegashima.
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The diffusion of innovations from the Near East into the ‘static’ surrounding peripheries has become a well-known archaeological paradigm, often summed up as Ex Oriente Lux. While this conflicts with modern, scientifically controlled chronologies, it is difficult to explain as mere local developments and pure chance the appearance of large-scale communication networks, the transformation of power concentrations in the first states, or the diffusion of the wheel, alloyed metals, and writing. The papers in this volume follow two approaches to convene on new insights into the prehistoric and ancient innovation process. Theoretical perspectives attempt to challenge and modify traditional models of innovation diffusion that lack the chronological depth of archaeological sources, while case studies from the Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages of Europe, southwest Asia, and North Africa analyze the specific archaeological and sociopolitical contexts, the technological traditions of innovations, and the specifications of their emergence, spread, and improvements.
Conference Paper
Представлен новый материал по исследованию отложений Еравнинской котловины. На основе палинологических и радиоуглеродных данных проведена реконструкция природной среды позднеледниковья и позднего голоцена. Выделены холодные и теплые периоды позднеледниковья, а также становление растительности в позднем голоцене. A new material on the study of sediments of the Eravna basin is presented. The results of pollen analysis clearly indicate the climate changes in the last Glacial and late Holocene. The regional climate became milder and more humid around 14.5–12.5 cal. BP, which corresponds to the Allerød interstadial of the European scale.
s Two opinions exist regarding to the appearance of the oldest pottery in the Transbaikal Region, Russia— (1) in the early Neolithic during the Holocene Atlantic optimum (6.5–5.5 ka Cal yr BP), or (2) during the Taymir Warm period of the Sartan Glacial (12.0–10.8 ka Cal yr BP)— both derived from the same archaeological component, Cultural Layer 9, at the Studenoe 1 Site. Here we scrutinized data related to the geochronology of early ceramic-yielding layers at Studenoe 1. Results shows that the radiocarbon dates between 15,080 and 12,720 Cal yr BP contradict site stratigraphy which consists of vertically accreting overbank deposits and buried soil horizons that developed during periods of landscape stability. Palynological and stable-carbon isotope analyses also show inconsistencies with the calibrated radiocarbon dates. We do not yet know the reason for these anomalies, however, it may be that alpine glacier and permafrost thawing, and the subsequent supply of older carbon into the Chikoi River, ceased during cold periods, but accelerated during terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene warm periods, causing a systematic error of older radiocarbon dates.
New investigations of the Krasnaya Gorka site suggest the emergence of pottery in the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene in the Transbaikal region. Several new AMS dates obtained for the early ceramic cultural layer 2 indicate an age between 13900-10500 cal BP. The results of palynological studies of the Krasnaya Gorka deposits are given in the paper for the first time, and the Late Pleistocene-Holocene environmental changes were reconstructed. Pollen data obtained from the Krasnaya Gorka profile showed cold and dry Late Pleistocene environmental conditions. The regional climate became milder and more humid around 13900–10500 cal BP, which corresponds to the Allerød interstadial thus corroborating the radiocarbon age results. The warmest interval of the Late Pleistocene occurred around 13500 cal BP. Between 12900 and 11800 cal BP, cooling corresponds to the cold and dry event of the Younger Dryas. There is some stratigraphical in deposits of the Krasnaya Gorka archeological site. The deposits forming in the early Holocene and beginning of the middle Holocene most likely were removed by erosion. Warming and increased humidity occurred in middle of the late Holocene, or the Late Bronze Age (2600-1800 cal BP). During the late Holocene, the climate was unstable. Beginning 410 cal BP, the vegetation of the region acquired its modern appearance. Some published materials concerning reconstructions of paleoclimate in the region of Ust’-Karenga XII, Studenoe I, and Ust’-Menza I are considered in the context of general characteristics of the region. Therefore, both palynological reconstructions and radiocarbon dates place the earliest ceramics from Krasnya Gorka within the final stage of the Late Pleistocene – Early Holocene between 13900-10500 cal BP.
The early, ephemeral adoption of pottery arose under different circumstances in both the Transbaikal and Russian Far East regions, however in both instances it was likely used to intensify extraction of more nutrients from resources already heavily in diets focused almost exclusively on riverine environments. In the Transbaikal, earliest ceramic use is correlated to an increase in residential mobility with no other technological or subsistence change. Ceramic vessels may have allowed more extensive processing of these food sources, including small mammals and fish, already in the forging diet. In the Russian Far East, however, earliest ceramic use is correlated to higher rates of sedentism and ground stone technology, with intensification of land mammals in the Middle Amur Basin, and fish and C³ plant extraction in the Lower Amur Basin. Furthermore, it is clear that early on ceramics were incorporated ephemerally into behavioral systems throughout a relatively long period of time, thus the use of terminology such as “Final Late Paleolithic” and “Initial Neolithic” may only be descriptors of whether individual sites contain pottery, not a meaningful description of “cultures” or “time periods”. Thus, during the late Pleistocene, pottery may have been incorporated by hunter-gatherer-fishers into one behavioral system that initially comprised locations with and without ceramic use depending on the specific behavioral and environmental circumstances of the given region.
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Where did pottery first appear in the Old World? Statistical modelling of radiocarbon dates suggests that ceramic vessel technology had independent origins in two different hunter-gatherer societies. Regression models were used to estimate average rates of spread and geographic dispersal of the new technology. The models confirm independent origins in East Asia (c. 16000 cal BP) and North Africa (c. 12000 cal BP). The North African tradition may have later influenced the emergence of Near Eastern pottery, which then flowed west into Mediterranean Europe as part of a Western Neolithic, closely associated with the uptake of farming.
Full-text available
Recent developments related to the emergence of pottery in East Asia and neighbouring regions are presented. According to a critical evaluation of the existing evidence, the oldest centres with pottery in East Asia are situated in South China (dated to c. 18 000 calBP), the Japanese Islands (c. 16 700 calBP), and the Russian Far East (c. 15 900 calBP). It is most likely that pottery-making appeared in these regions independently of each other. In Siberia, the earliest pottery now known is from the Transbaikal region (dated to c. 14 000 calBP). However, it did not influence the more westerly parts of Siberia in terms of the origin and spread of pottery-making.
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This article discusses 18 accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates from the peat bog sites Sakhtysh 2a, Ozerki 5, and Ozerki 17 in the Upper Volga region. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the emergence and dispersal of early ceramic traditions in northern Eurasia and their connection to the Baltic. With 1 exception, all dates were obtained from charred residue adhering to the sherd. A possible reservoir effect was tested on 1 piece of pottery from Sakhtysh 2a by taking 1 sample from charred residue, and another sample from plant fiber remains. Although a reservoir effect was able to be ruled out in this particular case, 4 other dates from Sakhtysh 2a and Ozerki 5 seem too old on typological grounds and might have been affected by freshwater reservoir effects. Considering all other reliable dates, the Early Neolithic Upper Volga culture, and with it the adoption of ceramics, in the forest zone of European Russia started around 6000 cal BC. © 2012 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.
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This paper discusses recent data from North and South China, Japan, and the Russian Far East and eastern Siberia on the dating and function of early pottery during the Late Pleistocene period and shows how reconsiderations are needed for the patterns and reasons for its emergence and spread. Early pottery typically appears in contexts that, except for containing small amounts of pottery, are otherwise similar to Late Paleolithic sites. There is also no evidence of plant cultivation, so clearly in eastern Asia, the old view of pottery's emergence or dispersal as only coming within agricultural societies is no longer viable. Greater consideration needs to be given to the invention and spread of pottery in hunter-gatherer societies. This paper first reviews recent finds of early pottery sites in South China and North China that now clearly show that the pottery first appears in otherwise Late Paleolithic contexts. Excavations and re-dating at Xianrendong Cave (Jiangxi) in South China show that pottery appears there in securely dated stratigraphic contexts dating to ca. 20,000 cal BP, during the Last Glacial Maximum, some ten millennia before sedentary, Early Neolithic villages first appear in China. Yuchanyan Cave (Hunan) has pottery dating to 18,300 cal BP, evidence for processing deer bones to extract marrow and grease, and perhaps evidence of seasonal visits to the site in annual rounds by mobile hunter-gatherer groups. Sites with early pottery in North China, such as Yujiagou, Zhuannian, Donghulin, Lijiagou, and Nanzhuangtou, appear relatively late, from the climatic downturn of the Younger Dryas, some eight millennia after sites in South China and four millennia after early pottery in Japan and the Russian Far East. North China sites variously feature such adaptations as microblades and/or grinding stones, as well as evidence for the exploitation of wild grasses (including millets), acorns, and tubers. These sites might represent hunter-gatherers retreating to more favorable habitats during the Younger Dryas and indicate reduced mobility and semisedentary practices with more intensified exploitation of closer resources. Early pottery finds beginning from ca. 16,800 cal BP in Japan (Incipient Jōmon) and the Russian Far East (“Initial Neolithic”) are also reviewed. Incipient Jōmon sites occur contemporaneously with Final Upper Paleolithic sites, and are found from southern Kyūshū to Hokkaidō (Taishō 3 site). With over 80 known sites, Japan has a better evidence for changes in pottery distribution patterns and diverse adaptations to climatic changes from the time period of the earliest site, Ōdai Yamamoto I, to the Holocene. Molecular and stable isotope analyses of pottery adhesions provide valuable data on the use of early pottery in Japan lacking for all other regions: these indicate the widespread use of pottery for processing marine and freshwater animals. Like Final Upper Paleolithic sites, Incipient Jōmon sites also may have microblades, edge polished stone axes, arrowheads, and bifacial spear points. Undecorated pottery with Mikoshiba-type lithics are found in the initial phase of pottery making (Ōdai Yamamoto I, Kitahara, and Maeda Kōji sites, dating ca. 16,500-13,500 BP). Decorated pottery (Phase 2) begins ca.15,700 cal BP during the Bølling-Allerød warming period and rapidly disperses across the archipelago at a time when there may have been significant changes in subsistence and mobility patterns. Phase 1 pottery might occur during a time of intensive information flow and fluidity of social networks, while diversification of pottery in Phase 2 occurs when social networks were becoming more embedded in place. Russian “Initial Neolithic” early pottery sites, such as Khummy, Gasya, and Goncharka 1 in the Lower Amur River basin, are transitional between Paleolithic traditions and typical Neolithic sites of the Holocene, with pottery and ground stone tools gradually appearing amongst Upper Paleolithic toolkits. As in China and Japan, early pottery production is at a very low scale, with only limited quantities of sherds being found at a few sites. Eastern Siberia early pottery is first present at the Ust’-Karenga 12 site ca. 13,000 cal BP. Pottery may have dispersed westerly across Siberia as forested areas expanded, perhaps resulting in the introduction of pottery into Europe by hunter-gatherer groups. Across East Asia, early pottery appears only in small amounts and at a few sites, and it persists in this episodic, low scale usage from the Last Glacial Maximum until the Early Holocene. We still need to better understand why this is the case. Early pottery may have been invented and used for special purposes, such as in feasting that was carried out to achieve various socio-political goals. While pottery also offered utilitarian or economic value, its long-lasting, low-scale use, but widespread dispersal despite this, cannot be fully accounted for only in terms of it being an adaptation tied to subsistence and increasing energy yields. Questions still remain over whether pottery was the result of a single or multiple inventions in East Asia. South China sites are clearly earlier, and the contemporaneity of Japan and Russia does not rule out singular invention and spread, as sites of the same radiocarbon date in the Late Pleistocene actually fall within a real calendrical range on a centuries-long scale. We need to better understand the scale and patterns of hunter-gatherer mobility and the extent of information exchange networks through which knowledge of pottery making could have spread widely in Late Pleistocene East Asia.
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The area east of Lake Baikal in Siberia is one of a small number of regions in Eurasia where pottery was already used in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene from the 12th millennium cal BC onwards. Here, the adoption of pottery by hunter–gatherer communities marks the end of the Late Paleolithic and the beginning of the Initial Neolithic. The cultural environment in which pottery emerged can indicate whether the ceramic innovation arrived as part of a wider complex of new technologies and cultural characteristics, or whether it was incorporated into an already-existing cultural sphere. The paper investigates the development of lithic technology as one part of material culture at the Pleistocene–Holocene transition, concentrating on the primary reduction techniques. The study is based on data and material from the Krasnaya Gorka site, as well as published data from other sites of the Late Paleolithic and the Initial Neolithic. The comparative technological and typological analysis of the assemblages of the Pleistocene–Holocene transition reveals a continuity of lithic techniques, which is in accordance with the general tendency in most of North-East Asia. During the later stages of the Initial Neolithic, an innovation took place which is characterized by a further rationalization of the Yubetsu reduction technique, eventually leading to the microprismatic technique.
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This article examines Siberia's increasingly important role in the study of the emergence of pottery across northern Eurasia. The world's earliest pottery comes from Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer sites in East Asia. This material is typically seen as disconnected from later pottery traditions in Europe, which are generally associated with sedentary farmers. However, new evidence suggests that Asian and European pottery traditions may be linked to a Hyperborean stream of hunter-gatherer pottery dispersals that spanned eastern and western Asia, and introduced pottery into the prehistoric societies of northern Europe. As a potential bridge between the eastern and western early pottery traditions, Siberia's prehistory is therefore set to play an increasingly central role in one of world archaeology's most important debates.
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The IntCal09 and Marine09 radiocarbon calibration curves have been revised utilizing newly available and updated data sets from 14C measurements on tree rings, plant macrofossils, speleothems, corals, and foraminifera. The calibration curves were derived from the data using the random walk model (RWM) used to generate IntCal09 and Marine09, which has been revised to account for additional uncertainties and error structures. The new curves were ratified at the 21st International Radiocarbon conference in July 2012 and are available as Supplemental Material at The database can be accessed at © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.
If radiocarbon measurements are to be used at all for chronological purposes, we have to use statistical methods for calibration. The most widely used method of calibration can be seen as a simple application of Bayesian statistics, which uses both the information from the new measurement and information from the 14 C calibration curve. In most dating applications, however, we have larger numbers of 14 C measurements and we wish to relate those to events in the past. Bayesian statistics provides a coherent framework in which such analysis can be performed and is becoming a core element in many 14 C dating projects. This article gives an overview of the main model components used in chronological analysis, their mathematical formulation, and examples of how such analyses can be performed using the latest version of the OxCal software (v4). Many such models can be put together, in a modular fashion, from simple elements, with defined constraints and groupings. In other cases, the commonly used “uniform phase” models might not be appropriate, and ramped, exponential, or normal distributions of events might be more useful. When considering analyses of these kinds, it is useful to be able run simulations on synthetic data. Methods for performing such tests are discussed here along with other methods of diagnosing possible problems with statistical models of this kind.
For the assessment of black carbon (BC), its oxidation to benzene polycarboxylic acids (BPCAs) is an established method. However, doubts about biological precursors remain and not all published data were obtained at low carbon concentration. We hypothesised that a considerable proportion of BC may be produced during sample treatment in the presence of a high amount of organic carbon (OC). We thereforere tested whether and to which degree (i) BC-free material from stems of Zea mays L. (maize straw) and leaves of Capsicum annuum L. (bell pepper), and specificically that (ii) cyclic and non-cyclic carbon forms (chlorophyllin, ellagic acid and β-carotene) afford BPCAs when method protocols are overloaded with a sample above the recommended amount of 5 mg OC. The results showed that an amount (< 2 g/kg OC) of three to four times of carboxylated BPCAs may be formed even at low sample weight (< 5 mg OC), thereby falsely representing biological BC production. When this threshold was exceeded, all BPCA forms were detected. The artificial BPCA production yield in g OC increased with increasing amount of OC (R2 ⩾ 0.81), adding up to 8.7 g/kg OC (19.7 g BC/kg OC) artificial production. We therefore strongly recommend that a threshold of 5 mg OC sample concentration be maintained in future studies and that future BC assessments be restricted to BPCAs with five and six carboxyl groups. This constrains the application of the BPCA method for organic rich samples and for samples expected to containa a relatively low amount of BC.