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

The Neolithic sites complex in Uvyr-Pai tract.

L.L. Kosinskaya

Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg.




*The study was performed as part of the targeted program "2012-2015 plan of archaeological research projects in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug".


There are very few sources on the early stages of the north of Western Siberia colonization in the Holocene.  This fact added extra value to the data obtained from the settlements  Et-to I and  Et-to II. They were located on a watershed far from the rivers and lakes on an isolated  hill Uvyr-pai of the aqueo-glacial origin surrounded by a treeless plain. The settlement was located at the foot of the hill, Et-to II site extended for half a kilometer over the hill top. The hill was made up of sands with coarse gravel layers and small boulders outcrops.

Four semi-pithouses have been studied on Et-to I settlement. Three of the houses had an identical original design, two of them functioned simultaneously, which was established by the ceramics "links". They were 14С dated as the first half of the 6th millennium BC. The houses ceramics belonged to the Et-to type. The fourth house without ceramics existed in a later period, in the second half of the 6th millennium BC. That is, in the site's history there were two periods of occupation which differed in the population's economic specialization. The early complexes were oriented towards the lithic raw material testing, a small part of the items was associated with the economic needs of the people. The later house contained a very narrow specialized set of tools reflecting the seasonal occupation by a group of hunters.

On Et-to II 184 depressions of various shapes and sizes have been recorded. 12 objects were excavated, only 5 of them were visible in relief. Two structures have been identified as houses, 6-7 objects were deep pits - mines used for lithic raw material mining. The functional attribution of the other objects is yet not clear. None of the studied objects contained any ceramics. A vast majority of the finds were pebbles with single spalls and debris, there were occasional cores and flakes, no blades were found. The raw material included the siliceous rock, chalcedony, quartz, and quartzite. The tools and utilitarian items complex was scarce and unimpressive. There were series of hammer-pebbles found in all objects.

The site stratigraphy indicated that part of the objects functioned in different periods. These data as well as the pits planigraphy pointed to a long-term, multi-component and multilayer nature of the site which was mostly used for production purposes.  According to the 14С  dates the structures belonged to the Neolithic (end of the 7th - first quarter of the 5th millennium BC). A coal from one of the houses hearth produced an unexpectedly old date  8.400-8,100 ВС cal, which posed a question of the appearance of humans in the area in the early Mesolithic.

Apparently the tract was for a long time used as a base center from which the local population obtained the raw material, which expanded the boundaries for their colonization of the lowland taiga territories. Thus we believe there are good chances of finding other Stone Age sites north of the Sibirskiye Uvaly. Some local specifics of mining organization compared to the chert mines of other regions of Eurasia should also be noted: the stone working shops here were moved outside the mines territory, however the search for such shops has not yet been successful.

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