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Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Baikal Region, Siberia

Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Baikal Region, Siberia: Bioarchaeological Studies of Past Life Ways

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of the Baikal Region, Siberia
    Book Description:

    Siberia's Lake Baikal region is an archaeologically unique and emerging area of hunter-gatherer research, offering insights into the complexity, variability, and dynamics of long-term culture change. The exceptional quality of archaeological materials recovered there facilitates interdisciplinary studies whose relevance extends far beyond the region. The Baikal Archaeology Project-one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted in the history of subarctic archaeology-is conducted by an international multidisciplinary team studying Middle Holocene (about 9,000 to 3,000 years B.P.) hunter-gatherers of the region. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the project includes scholars in archaeology, physical anthropology, ethnography, molecular biology, geophysics, geochemistry, and paleoenvironmental studies. This book presents the current team's research findings on questions about long-term patterns of hunter-gatherer adaptive strategies. Grounded in interdisciplinary approaches to primary research questions of cultural change and continuity over 6,000 years, the project utilizes advanced research methods and integrates diverse lines of evidence in making fundamental and lasting contributions to hunter-gatherer archaeology.

    eISBN: 978-1-934536-39-1
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. DVD Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)
  7. 1 Holocene Climate, Environmental Change, and Neolithic Biocultural Discontinuity in the Baikal Region
    (pp. 1-26)
    Dustin White and Andrew Bush

    The Neolithic–Bronze Age culture history of the Lake Baikal region of south-central Siberia has been a subject of scientific investigation for more than a century. Recent excavation and analysis of several large mortuary complexes and extensive radiocarbon dating of recovered human skeletal remains reported by the Baikal Archaeology Project (BAP) have significantly revised long-held cultural historical models for the area, in addition to revealing an intriguing biocultural discontinuity spanning the 7th millennium BP¹ (Weber, Link, and Katzenberg 2002; Weber et al. 2005, 2006, Chapter 2 this volume). These data demonstrate two distinct phases of emergent socioeconomic complexity evidenced by...

  8. 2 Radiocarbon Dating of Middle Holocene Culture History in Cis-Baikal
    (pp. 27-50)
    Andrzej W. Weber, Hugh G. McKenzie and Roelf Beukens

    Since the late 1980s, radiocarbon dating has played an increasingly important role in research on Middle Holocene culture history in Cis-Baikal. Previous efforts to develop a chronology for Cis-Baikal Neolithic hunter-gatherer mortuary traditions revealed the general antiquity of the Kitoi, a discontinuity between traditions in the Middle Holocene, and ambiguity with respect to the chronological relationship between the Isakovo-Serovo and Glazkovo traditions (Gerasimov 1955; Konopatskii 1982; Mamonova and Sulerzhitskii 1989; Weber 1995). A number of dates appeared to suggest quite substantial temporal overlap between these traditions rather than the chronological abutment of successive groups as previously assumed. Subsequent research not...

  9. 3 Mesolithic and Neolithic Mortuary Complexes in the Baikal Region
    (pp. 51-86)
    Vladimir I. Bazaliiskii

    As many as 90 Mesolithic and Neolithic cemeteries or individual graves have been documented in the basins of the Angara and Upper Lena rivers, the lower reaches of the Selenga River, the Vitim River, and the coast of Lake Baikal in East Siberia (Fig. 3.1). Based on these materials numerous models of Middle Holocene culture history have been proposed for the Baikal region, although current research has demonstrated that a number of important questions still remain open. The existing diversity of viewpoints on the origins, development, interplay, cultural transformations, and chronology of the Middle Holocene cultures of the region indicates...

  10. 4 Variability in Bronze Age Mortuary Practices in the Little Sea Microregion of Cis-Baikal
    (pp. 87-106)
    Hugh G. McKenzie

    The Little Sea (Ol’khon) region of Cis-Baikal contains the best record of Bronze Age hunter-gatherer adaptations in the entire Cis-Baikal. A recent analysis of the Bronze Age hunter-gatherer cemetery Khuzhir-Nuge XIV (KN XIV), located on the western shores of Lake Baikal’s Little Sea, revealed that the site was divided into three well-defined spatial clusters that were created and maintained through the reproduction of enduring social practices over a period of approximately 340–660 years (Weber et al. 2005; McKenzie, Weber, and Goriunova 2008). Interestingly, the three clusters did not appear to signify a single dimension of variability, but instead encoded...

  11. 5 Uncovering the Genetic Landscape of Prehistoric Cis-Baikal
    (pp. 107-120)
    Karen P. Mooder, Tia A. Thomson, Andrzej W. Weber, Vladimir I. Bazaliiskii and Fiona J. Bamforth

    Lake Baikal is an enigmatic part of the Siberian landscape. Situated about halfway between the Ural Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Baikal and its surrounding river basins have likely been occupied since the Early Upper Paleolithic (i.e., about 40 kya; Goebel 1999; Chlachula 2001). Many of these Paleolithic sites have been found on the upper reaches of the Angara River, the sole outlet draining Lake Baikal. Thus, the population origins of the first occupants of this region have long been a subject of archaeological debate.

    The discovery of Venus-like figurines at sites such as Mal’ta and Buret’ has led some...

  12. 6 Genetic Diversity in Native Siberians: Implications for the Prehistoric Settlement of the Cis-Baikal Region
    (pp. 121-134)
    Theodore G. Schurr, Ludmilla P. Osipova, Sergey I. Zhadanov and Matthew C. Dulik

    Since 1992 genetic research has greatly illuminated the history of and biological relationships among indigenous Siberian populations. Studies employing the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the paternally inherited Y-chromosome (NRY) have provided new information about the origins and patterns of dispersal of a variety of the native populations that inhabit this part of northern Eurasia (Fig. 6.1). By analyzing variation in these two genomic components, researchers have been able to more clearly associate the patterns of genetic diversity and geographic distribution of these two kinds of haplotypes and, hence, obtain a much better picture of female and male genetic...

  13. 7 Health and Behavior in Mid-Holocene Cis-Baikal: Biological Indicators of Adaptation and Culture Change
    (pp. 135-174)
    Angela R. Lieverse

    Bioarchaeology—the study of archaeological human remains—has made significant contributions to the understanding of human adaptation and the biological history of past populations. Because skeletal and dental tissues are sensitive to environmental fluctuations, they reflect a wide variety of human behaviors and conditions including diet, nutrition, nonspecific stress, physical activity and mobility, environmental and occupational hazards, treatment of the infirm, interpersonal violence, exposure to pathogens, and a host of other disease processes (Larsen 1997:1–5). By considering whole populations, rather than individuals, bioarchaeologists can reconstruct overall patterns and compare populations with one another in order to gain better insights...

  14. 8 Diet Reconstruction of Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers in the Lake Baikal Region
    (pp. 175-192)
    M. Anne Katzenberg, Vladimir I. Bazaliiskii, Olga I. Goriunova, Nikolai A. Sarvel’ev and Andrzej W. Weber

    An understanding of human diet and subsistence practices is central to understanding past human adaptations. In East Siberia the potential food resources are limited by the climate and topography. There is a rich and varied aquatic fauna in the Lake Baikal region, particularly in the lake but also in the numerous rivers flowing in and the Angara River flowing out of Lake Baikal. Past reconstructions of prehistoric life in the Cis-Baikal region invoked different subsistence strategies focusing on either fish or terrestrial game (e.g., Okladnikov 1959b; Michael 1958; Weber, Link, and Katzenberg 2002).

    One of the major objectives of the...

  15. 9 Skeletal Morphology, Climatic Adaptation, and Habitual Behavior among Mid-Holocene Cis-Baikal Populations
    (pp. 193-216)
    Jay T. Stock, Vladimir I. Bazaliiskii, Olga I. Goriunova, Nikolai A. Savel’ev and Andrzej W. Weber

    The well-preserved and numerous Middle Holocene human remains from Cis-Baikal provide a rare opportunity to investigate patterns of human adaptation and skeletal mechanics in hunting and gathering populations across a period of significant cultural change. Many of the best-preserved human remains are derived from the earliest cemeteries that date to the Early Neolithic (Kitoi Culture) at the sites of Lokomotiv and Shamanka II. Interments in Kitoi cemeteries date to between 8,000–7,000 yrs BP,¹ after which there was a hiatus in the use of formal cemeteries during the Middle Neolithic, followed by the Isakovo/Serovo and Glazkovo cultures, associated with the...

  16. 10 Identifying Hunter-Gatherer Mobility Patterns Using Strontium Isotopes
    (pp. 217-238)
    Caroline M. Haverkort, Vladimir I. Bazaliiskii and Nikolai A. Savel’ev

    Mobility strategies are a fundamental aspect of hunter-gatherer adaptations, and they are strongly interconnected with numerous other social, cultural, and environmental variables (for excellent summaries, see, e.g., Bettinger 1991; Kelly 1995). When mobility is discussed in an archaeological context, it often refers to large scale patterns and strategies, both in a temporal and spatial sense, with these being described in terms such as annual range, lifetime range and residential or logistic mobility (cf. Binford 1980, 1983). Such patterns provide an indication of the general area where resources would or could have been procured, and tend to refer to group-level mobility...

  17. 11 The Bronze Age in Cis-Baikal: A Review of Research and Future Prospects
    (pp. 239-256)
    Olga I. Goriunova and Aleksei G. Novikov

    The goal of this chapter is to review archaeological research on the Bronze Age in the Cis-Baikal region of East Siberia. There are two distinct characteristics of this work, the beginnings of which date back to second half of the 19th century. First, because the cultural developments during the Cis-Baikal Bronze Age display continuity with the preceding Neolithic, essentially all culture history models developed over the years typically cover both periods. And second, these models are almost invariably based on mortuary assemblages, as stratified campsites still remain relatively poorly integrated into Cis-Baikal archaeology.

    Given this context, several issues have been...

  18. Epilogue: Middle Holocene Cis-Baikal Hunter-Gatherers in Overview
    (pp. 257-260)
    Andrzej W. Weber and Robert Bettinger

    A logical step to take at this point in our discussion would be an attempt to revise the model of hunter-gatherer culture change in the Middle Holocene Cis-Baikal upon which the current research has been predicated (Weber, Link, and Katzenberg 2002). Much of this work has been summarized in this volume and provides many new and useful insights. Meanwhile, a few reasons lead us to believe that it is too early for a new model to make a significant contribution to our ongoing research.

    First, from the overview presented here, it is clear which descriptive aspects of the model are...

  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 261-312)
  20. Contributors
    (pp. 313-319)