New Complex Investigations of the Novhorod-Siverskyi Upper Palaeolithic Site

Keywords: Last Glacial Maximum, Upper Palaeolithic, Gravettian, Pushkari type, zooarchaeology, palaeoecology, Middle Desna basin, Upper Pleniglacial

Abstract

In the article the materials of the Novhorod-Siverskyi site research both in the 1930's, and relatively recently, are analyzed. First of all, attention is paid to the faunal collection. The faunal associations from old excavations are coherent, typical of a cold steppe environment from the glacial period, near a riparian forest. However, it seems to result to a mix between natural taphonomic complexes and animal remains associated with human activity. Judging by the flint collection from the old excavations, the site was inhabited by representatives of the Pushkari type. New research yielded two archaeological layers that are very poor in flint artefacts. Concerning fauna, the faunal spectrum is restricted in both layers, with the woolly mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros, the horse and the reindeer in the lower and upper layers. In the upper layer there are also the bison, the fox and the hare. According to taphonomic observations, the bones had remained for a long time at an open air before being buried, in subsurface in a wet environment but few submitted to precipitations in link with permafrost activities. Particularly in the lower layer (2) some remains appear to be in place, while others seem to have been imported by hydraulic phenomena, either from the top of the promontory or from the Desna River. In the upper layer (1), some bones show possible anthropogenic impacts of breakage, linked to marrow recovery. In both layers we have some cranial and postcranial elements, mainly from adults sensu lato which could correspond to human predation. They could correspond to temporary camps of quite small human groups, potentially occupied at the end of the cold season/beginning of the warm season.

This research was integrated in various scientific programs: "Mammoths" by the Agence nationale de la Recherche coordinated by S. Péan and "Animal Resources and Subsistence of Palaeolithic Hunters-gatherers in Ukraine" by the Partenariats Hubert Curien, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs  Program, coordinated by S. Péan and P. S. Shydlovskyi.

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