International Scientific Conference "Archeology of the Arctic"
November 19-23, 2017

Archaeology studies in the lower reaches of the Taz river.

A.A. Tkachev

Institute of problem of Northern development, SB RAS, Tumen





Vast territories of the north-west Siberia have been very unevenly studied with the archaeological excavations. The reason for this was, on the one hand, the difficult natural and climatic conditions resulting in a rather low density of population in these areas throughout the whole history of its colonization, and, on the other, difficult access to the territory for a large scale research expedition.

The discovery of the first archaeological sites in the lower reaches of the Taz river was made in 1920 and was associated with the name of R.S. Kols, who discovered an ancient settlement in the vicinity of the Mameev's winter camp as well as the Tazovskaya IV site. Main part of the archaeological objects within the area of the Tazovsky district was discovered in the second half of the 20th century; a foundry shop [Khlobystin, Ovsyannikov, 1973], settlements Mys 1, Mys 2, Mys 2a [Lashuk, Khlobystin, 1986]. In the beginning of the 21st century in the territory of the  Tazovsky district in the southern part of the Gydan peninsula several asynchronous settlements have been discovered on the  Messoparod river [Bagashev, Volkov, 2002]. In 2013-2016  the Taz archeologo-ethnographic expedition  of the Institute of the North Development of the SB RAS continued the Tazovsky district research  [Tkachev, Kvashnin, 2014].

The territory of the Mameev archaeological area located in the Mameev Mys tract  on the left bank of the Taz river 12 km south-east of Tazovsky village was of a particular interest.   High river banks restricted in the north by the  Vysokoyakha river channel made this territory quite attractive for settlement throughout the whole period of the early Iron Age and the Middle Ages as a result of which it developed into a kind of the lower Taz development center. So far eight archaeological sites have been discovered in the area (an occupation site, a sacrificial place, settlements and burial sites) six of which have been studied in 2013-2016; 

- a sacrificial place Gaz-Sale II – on top of a hill in a 326 m2 excavation a sacred-place structure has been partially studied (the area under reconstruction was 56 m2), surrounded by a shallow ditch and sacrificial pits containing things and animal bones. The collected goods suggested a long period of the site's functioning from the end of the 1st millennium AD to the historical modern time;

- a burial site Num-hibya-siheri I - in a 640 m2  excavation 24 earth graves with inhumation type burials have been studied; The period of functioning was the end of the 1st - first half of the 2nd millennium AD;

- a burial site Num-hibya-siheri II - in a 243 m2  excavation 2 earth pits have been studied: in one there was a teenager's interment, and in the other no material remains were found. The date of the burial correlated with the turn of the 1st-2nd millennium AD;

- a Num-hibya-siheri III settlement - in a 64 m2  excavation a dwelling type circular surface structure with the area of 25 m2 has been studied. It correlated with the Kulai antiquities and was dated as the beginning of the 1st millennium AD;

- a Num-hibya-siheri IV settlement - in a 64 m2  excavation a near bottom part of a dwelling type subsquare  structure with the area of 17 m2 and a portal-like exit in the western wall been studied. The goods complex had certain similarities with the materials from the Num-hibya-siheri III settlement, however the sequence of these objects existence has yet to be established;

- a burial site Num-hibya-siheri V - in a 37 m2  excavation 6 earth pits with with a deposition of the body ritual have been studied. Preliminary dating of the site was within the first half of the 2nd millennium AD;

- a Num-hibya-siheri VI settlement was discovered in the process of the reconnaissance works. Bronze items debris and ceramic sherds similar to the Kulai appearance antiquities have been collected from the  blowout surface.

The analysis of the goods assemblage gave evidence of the active development of the high banks of the Taz river near the Num-hibya-siheri brook in the final stages of the Iron Age period. The pottery obtained in the process of the settlements' study correlated with the Kulai type antiquities of the first half of the 1st millennium AD; the burial complexes of the studied burial sites had some similarities with the materials of the Kintusovo appearance of the end of the 1st - beginning of the 2nd millennium AD. Further study of the Mameev archaeological area sites will make possible the reconstruction of the human colonization of the Taz river basin.


Bagashev A.N., Volkov E.N.. New materials to the archaeological map of the Gydan Peninsula //  ВААЭ (VAAE).  2002.  – Issue 4.  – P. 214-217.

Lashuk L.P., Khlobystin L.P. North of Western Siberia in the Bronze Age // KSIA, 1986.  – Issue 185.  – P. 43-50.

Tkachev A.A., Kvashnin Yu.N. New materials to the archaeological map of the Taz district of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. // Margulanov Conference - 2014. – Almaty-Pavlodar, 2014. – P. 295-303.

Khlobystin L.P., Ovsyannikov O.V. Ancient "jewellery shop" in the West-Siberian Polar region // Problems of archeology of the Ural and Siberia.  – M.: Nauka, 1973. – P.248-257.



VAAE - Vestnik of archeology, anthropology and ethnography, Tyumen.

KSIA - The Institute of Archeology Briefs, Moscow 

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