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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology
of Eurasia

43 (3) 2015




Lithic Raw Material Exploitation in the Sibiryachikha Facies, the Middle Paleolithic of Altai

A.P. Derevianko, S.V. Markin, N.A. Kulik, and K.A. Kolobova.

The assemblages of the Sibiryachikha facies of the Middle Paleolithic stand out in terms of their production technology and typology among the other contemporary lithic assemblages of Gorny Altai. In this study, the role of raw materials in the development of characteristic features of the Okladnikov and Chagyrskaya caves’ industries is determined. The proximity of sources of the raw material used has been established, and the main principles of its exploitation (quality and availability) have been confi rmed. For the Sibiryachikha facies of the Middle Paleolithic of the Altai, these principles were implemented through selection of easily-accessible good-quality stones and less accessible high-quality materials—Cambrian-Ordovician Zasurye jasperoids. The latter were used selectively, and the quality of raw materials was important for secondary working of stone tools in the Sibiryachikha assemblages. Increase in the proportion of artifacts made of Zasurye jasperoids in the later assemblages of the Sibiryachikha facies is not associated with the introduction of new techniques, and may refl ect the increased availability of this high-quality material and the development of adaptive skills of the ancient population.

Keywords: Middle Paleolithic, Gorny Altai, Sibiryachikha facies, petrographic analysis, raw materials exploitation.