Population Affinities of the Ancient Northern Okhotsk People: Cranial Evidence from a Collective Burial in a Rock Niche on Cape Bratyev, the Northern Okhotsk Coast
Population Affinities of the Ancient Northern Okhotsk People:
Cranial Evidence from a Collective Burial in a Rock Niche
on Cape Bratyev, the Northern Okhotsk Coast
V.G. Moiseyev1, A.V. Zubova1, P.S. Grebenyuk2, A.I. Lebedintsev2, B.A. Malyarchuk3, and A.Y. Fedorchenko4 1Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya nab. 3, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia 2North-East Interdisciplinary Research Institute, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Portovaya 16, Magadan, 685000, Russia 3Institute of Biological Problems of the North, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Portovaya 16, Magadan, 685000, Russia 4Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
This study reconstructs biological affinities in a cranial sample from a collective burial on Cape Bratyev in Babushkin Bay. The burial, found in a rock niche on the Okhotsk Coast, was excavated by S.P. Efimov in 1976 and tentatively attributed to the Old Koryak culture. The sample consists of 13 adult skulls of differing preservation—five male, five female, and three undeterminable. Genome-wide analysis was carried out at the Center for Geogenetics of the University of Copenhagen. Paleogenetic data support the archaeological hypothesis attributing the burial to the Old Koryak culture. The results of the craniometric analysis suggest that the Old Koryak population was heterogeneous. Cranial data indicate population contacts between ancient Koryaks and the Epi-Jomon people of Hokkaido. Also, they reveal common episodes in the population history of the group from Cape Bratyev and the Okhotsk culture people. Two of the three Okhotsk samples used for comparative analysis demonstrate very close affinities with individuals studied. According to the previous studies and our current analysis, the Okhotsk people resulted from the admixture of ancient groups related to Chukchi and Eskimo, on the one hand, and Tungus-Manchu groups, on the other. A significant difference between the Old Koryak population and that of Okhotsk culture is that the former includes a component related to Nivkhs.
Keywords: Northern Okhotsk Coast region, Cape Bratyev, craniometry, paleogenetics, population history, Old Koryak culture