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

Early iron age ceramics with channels in the territory of the European North-East (last 1st millennium BC – first half of the 1st millennium AD).

I.O. Vaskul

Institute of language, literature and history, Komi RC, Ural branch of RAS, Syktyvkar (



Use of horizontal channels in ornamentation was one of the characteristic features of the ceramic complex of the European North-East in the Early Iron Age. For the first time the pottery ornamented with channels was found in the end of the 1950s - early 1960s by G.M. Burov in the basin of the  Vychegda river and V.I. Kanivets in the basin of the Pechora. V. I. Kanivets classified the complexes with this type of pottery as the Bichevnitsky cultural type. In the early 1970-s K. S. Korolev added to the group of the Glyadenovo European North-West Glyadenovo cultural community the settlements on the watershed lakes of the Central Timan, on the Middle and the Upper Pechora, and in the vicinity of Sindor lake the ceramic complexes of which contained vessels with channels. He also added that the pottery with channels and with presence of gruss in paste was a characteristic feature of the Glyadenovo type sites of the European North-East as distinct from the Kama area pottery.

At present we are aware of 20 archaeological sites in the region with Glyadenovo type pottery with channels (settlements, a burial site, occupation sites). The sites were located in the Malozemelskaya tundra, the forest zone of the Pechora basin, on the Upper Vychegda, in the area of Sindor lake. The geography of the sites was quite interesting. Most of them were located in the Malozemelskaya tundra and in the Pechora basin. In the Vychegda basin this type of ceramics occurred in the area around Sindor lake, in the N. Keltma (Middle Vychegda), and in the Upper Vychegda areas.

The ceramics complex of the sites was represented with the cup-shaped vessels with the presence of gruss in paste. The ornament was made in the upper part of the vessels and consisted alongside with the channels of pits, incisions, oval and triangular impressions, cord and denticulated imprints. Main ornamental elements were slanted rows, horizontal zigzags, and lines. In one case there were twin vertical rows of small impressions. The most representative were the assemblages from settlements Korolki II and Pizhma II where over 20 vessels were found. The earliest ceramics of the end of the 1st millennium BC - the 1st millennium AD was found in the Pechora basin, in the Malozemelskaya tundra, around Sindor lake and in the N. Keltma. In the Upper Vychegda region the Glyadenovo type pottery with channels was found in the settlements of the first half - middle of the 1st millennium AD, its appearance in the area reflected the "Pechora" influence on the Upper Vychegda population.

Most of the researchers believe that the Glyadenovo type pottery with channels was one of the basic components in the formation of the ceramics complex of the Bichevniki type sites. At the same time a question about the origin of the cultural traditions which influenced the appearance of the channels ornamentation on the Glyadenovo cultural community pottery in the territory of the European North-East is still open.

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