Final Palaeolithic of Zhytomyr Polissia

  • Leonid Zalizniak DSc in History, Professor, Head of the Stone Age Archaeology Department, the Institute of Archaeology, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8924-8122
Keywords: Final Palaeolithic, Polissia, Ovruch ridge, Еpigravettian, Lyngby and Swiderian cultures, Krasnosillia

Abstract

Final Palaeolithic (Terminal Palaeolithic) — the last, final phase of the Upper Palaeolithic of Europe, dating from 13.5—10 kyr and has numerous paleogeographic equivalents — Dryas period, Late glacier, Late or Final glacial, Tardiglacial period, reindeer age.

In Zhytomyr Polissia there are two main groups of different Final Palaeolithic monuments with different cultural and chronological characteristics. At the beginning of the epoch, Еpigravettian mammoth hunters lived in the region. In particular, on the Ovruch ridge at the beginning of the Final Paleolithic a separate variant of the Еpigravettian developed. The extinction of mammoths about 13 kyr and the onset of the reindeer era caused a change in population. During the Allerod warming about 12 kyr reindeer hunters of the Lyngby culture advanced from the South-Western Baltic region to Polissia.

The spread of Lyngbian cultural traditions at the end of Allerod in the outwash plains from Jutland to the Neman, Prypiat, Upper Dnipro and Upper Volga laid the groundwork for the emergence 11 000 years ago areas of related cultures with arrowheads on blades. In addition to Lyngby, it includes the following cultures: Ahrensburg in Northern Germany, Swiderian in the Vistula, Prypiat and Neman basins, and Krasnosillia in the Prypiat, Neman and Upper Dnipro basins. The specificity of their flint inventory is the leading role of various tanged arrowheads on blades, while the cultural marker of Epigravettian complexes are a variety of micro-inserts with a backed edge.

Genetically descended from the Lyngby culture population, Krasnosillian and Swiderian hunter groupes lived in the cold forest-tundra, hunting for herds of seasonally migrating reindeers. The sharp warming 10 kyr led to the migration of Krasnosillian and Swidrian groupes following the reindeer to the north of Eastern Europe, which they settled during the VIII millennium BC. On the Swiderian basis, the post-Swiderian Mesolithic was formed. It is Butovo and similar Mesolithic cultures of the forest belt of Eastern Europe from the Baltics to the Northern Ural. The Mesolithic Pisochnyi Riv culture of the Middle Desna, the Grensk culture of the Upper Dnipro, and the Ienevo culture of the Upper Volga were formed on the Krasnosillian basis. These Mesolithic communities of northern Eastern Europe in ethno-cultural terms were probably distant ancestors of the Finnish peoples.

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2021-09-23
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