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

Bone tools dynamics of evolution in Northern Fennoscandia (the Neolithic – early metal ages).

A.I. Murashkin, A.M. Kiseleva

Saint Petersburg University, St.Petersburg




* The study was performed with the financial support of the RFRF, project "Bone and Antler Tools of the Late Neolithic - Early Iron Age in Northern  Fennoscandia: Dynamics of Evolution" No 17-31-01070.


There are about known 20 Neolithic –  Early Iron Age sites along the Barents Sea coast from the Varanger peninsula (Norway) to the Nokuevsky bay (Murmansk region), the cultural levels of which contained numerous and varied (at least 30 different categories) bone and antler artifacts. A significant portion of them (411 pieces) was made up of harpoon points and fishing hooks from 13 sites. Changes in the shape of some structural elements of these items could be interpreted as chronological markers for the purposes of periodization analysis.

Harpoon points and fishing hooks originated from different in terms of their formation archaeological sites. Small part of the tools (15 pieces) originated from 8 closed complexes - interments of the Kola Oleny Ostrov burial site. One third of the items (147 pieces) were found during the excavations of 22 "semi-closed" complexes - houses and shell heaps Gressbaken NV, Nyelv NV, Hoybukt, and others. These objects formed over an extended but still significantly limited period of time. Most of the tools (245 pieces) were represented in the assemblages from four sites - Lighthouse 2, Ekateriniskaya 1, and the sites on  Shchelmoy island. Four items were accidental finds. The complexes' chronology was established on the basis of a series of 14С dates and the narrowly dated types of stone tools and pottery finds [Solberg, 1909; Simonsen, 1961; Helskog, 1980; Gurina, 1997; Murashkin, Karpelan 2013; Murashkin et al., 2016].

Classification of harpoon points consisted of 15 types and was built on correlation of two groups of attributes characterizing the pin shape and the work part structure (shape, number and location of teeth). The fishing hooks were represented by two groups: the first one consisted of items with massive rod-shaped or sub-rectangular head and barbed tip; the second one included items without a barb and with small head with a ledge and notches on fore-end. As a result of correlation of two groups of attributes (head structure and hand-line shape) 13 types were identified in group I. Group II was small; 5 types were identified according to the hand-line shape.

On the basis of contingency method analysis 4 groups of complexes with stable occurrence of the types in all groups were established corresponding to the periods of the bones tools evolution in Northern  Fennoscandia. The chronological boundaries of the periods were specified by the radiocarbon dates of the complexes: A – 5000-2500 calBC, B – 2500-1500 calBC, C – 1500-900 calBC, D – 900-0 calBC [Kiseleva, Murashkin, 2017]. In general the harpoon points and fishing hooks periodization coincided with the periodization of types of houses, pottery and stone tools for Northern Norway [Helskog, 1980; Olsen, 1994].



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