Paleolithic hunting in the Urals (Russia)

Pavel A. Kosintsev, Natalya Plasteeva


10.5817/CZ.MUNI.M210-7781-2015-8

KOSINTSEV, A. Pavel and PLASTEEVA, Natalya. Paleolithic hunting in the Urals (Russia). In: Sandra SÁZELOVÁ, Martin NOVÁK and Alena MIZEROVÁ (eds.). Forgotten times and spaces: New perspectives in paleoanthropological, paleoetnological and archeological studies. 1st Edition. Brno: Institute of Archeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences; Masaryk University, 2015, pp. 91-97. ISBN 978-80-7524-000-2; 978-80-210-7781-2. DOI: 10.5817/CZ.MUNI.M210-7781-2015-8.


Abstract

In the Urals there are 50 Pleistocene sites with associated human artifacts and animal remains. They include open-air sites, caves and sacred sites. Materials from only one site – Bogdanovka – can be used for characterization of the Middle Paleolithic hunting in the Urals. It was a special-purpose area near the natural death accumulations of mammoth corpses. Humans hunted here during short-term periods. In the Upper Paleolithic open-air sites can be classified into three groups: camp sites characterized by large ungulates hunting (Equus ferus, Rangifer tarandus), short-term camps and sites near the natural death accumulations of mammoth corpses. Cave sites include sites that were visited only once or several times. Data from just four sites allow us to summarize information about hunting activity in the Upper Paleolithic. Large mammal fauna from these sites are dominated by the ungulates. Apparently it was a seasonal hunting, although at the same time humans hunted other species, but less than the ungulate group.

Keywords

Middle and Upper Paleolithic, Russian federation, hunting strategies, settlement strategy, site hierarchy

Résumé

Dans l´Oural, une cinquantaine de sites pléistocènes, associés à des artéfacts lithiques et à des restes fauniques, sont connus à l´heure actuelle, incluant à la fois des sites de plein air et des sites en grottes, ou encore des sites sacrés. Seul un site – Bogdanovka – permet de caractériser la chasse au Paléolithique moyen dans l´Oural. Le site en question est situé au sein d´une région à but spécial, à proximité d´accumulations naturelles de cadavres de mammouths. Les Préhistoriques ont du occuper le site pendant une courte période de temps seulement. Au Paléolithique supérieur, les sites de plein air peuvent être classifiés en trois groupes: des camps de base, caractérisés par la présence de larges ongulés (cheval, renne); des camps d´occupation courte ; enfin, des sites à proximité d´accumulations naturelles de cadavres de mammouths. Les sites en grottes comprennent des sites visités de une à plusieurs fois uniquement. Les données de quatre sites en particulier nous permettent de synthétiser les activités cynégétiques du Paléolithique supérieur. La macrofaune y est dominée par les ongulés. Les occupations avaient manifestement un caractère saisonnier. S´il est vrai que les Préhistoriques ont également chassé d´autres espèces, celles-ci sont toutefois toujours sous-représentées par rapport aux ongulés.

Zusammenfassung

Im Uralgebirge sind 50 pleistozäne Fundstellen dokumentiert, in denen Artefakte mit Tierresten vergesellschaftet sind. Diese umfassen Freilandstationen, Höhlen und Kultplätze. Lediglich das Material einer Fundstelle, Bogdanovka, kann als Beleg für Jagd im Mittelpaläolithikum dienen. Es handelt sich dabei um einen zweckmäßig gewählten Standort in der Nähe einer Akkumulation natürlich verendeter Mammute. Menschen haben hier während kurzfristiger Aufenthalte gejagt. Jungpaläolithische Freilandfundstellen können in drei Gruppen unterteilt wurden: Lagerplätze, die durch die Jagd auf große Huftiere (Pferd, Rentier) gekennzeichnet sind, kurzfristige Lagerstätten und Stationen bei Akkumulationen natürlich verendeter Mammute sowie Höhlenfundstellen mit einer oder mehrerer Begehungen. Nur vier Fundstellen liefern Daten zur Jagd im Jungpaläolithikum. Huftiere dominieren die Großsäugerfauna. Die Jagd war offenbar saisonal. Andere Arten wurden in geringerem Ausmaß bejagt.

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