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Home / Issues / № 2, 2013


Chubur A.A.


At the turn of the XX-XXI centuries in the Dnieper River Basin – on the Seim river (N 51° 38' 54'', O 35° 30' 34'', Kursk, Russia), was discovered and partly explored new hive of sites of the Upper Paleolithic age, received the name from the nearest village Byki. These sites are important for understanding the prehistory of East Central and Southern Europe for epigravettian episode. The archaeological complex is located on the left bank of the second terrace above the floodplain of the river within the area of ​​the Seim River, is an ancient estuary in the left bank of the cape at the confluence river Reut in the river Seim [1]. The cape (5 hectares) is limited of rear seams first terrace above the floodplain of the river, on its territory is home to seven sites, one of which has two cultural layers.

The author of this article in 1996-2000 is leadership of the field research of this complex. For several years after the excavations made laboratory processing results. Besides, we subjected the study, analysis and partial revision of archival material excavation G. Grigorieva (1975), and published the results of excavations Byki 7, conducted N. Ahmetgaleeva. Radiocarbons dates are listed in the paper were obtained in the laboratories of the Institute of History of Material Culture RAS and Geological Institute RAS [2].

Results and discussion

The stratigraphic situation is as follows: under the current soil thickness of cover is pale brown loess loam in the upper part of which is the horizon habitat settlement Byki 5. From the middle of this sequence is the location the flint of the Byki 8. At the very bottom of the loam and in their contact with the underlying alluvial sands and sandy loams occur cultural layers Byki 1, 2, 3, 4, and the top layer Byki 7. Directly in the alluvial sandy loam is the oldest cultural layer - layer 2 Byki 7. In some cases, the stratigraphy is complicated by ancient eolian processes and traces of flooding during floods. The cultural layers Byki 1, 2, and 4, are associated with embryonic horizon soil formation (sandy loam, filled carbonates).

Cultural layer Byki 1 dates from the completion of the formation of the ledge of the second terrace (glacial Wurm 2 and Lascaux interstadial). For Byki 1 was obtained a series of dates: 17,540 ± 120 (GIN-8408), 17 640 ± 130 (GIN-8409), 17 200 ± 300 (GIN-8408a) and 16,600 ± 180 (GIN-8409a), which meets the conditions of a stratigraphic. The Byki 4 has three radiocarbon dates: 21,600 ± 50 (LE-1434-a), 23 100 ± 280 (LE-1434-b), 25200 ± 350 (LE-1434-B), but they give a large scatter. They received from the the bones of large animals (possibly the result of gathering). It was believed that the cultural layer was in the alluvial sand of the second terrace. However, if they are part of the filling semi-dugouts, the mode of occurrence of the cultural layer associated with the ancient habitation surface, no different from the Byki 1. The site Byki 7 received three dates 16,600 ± 140 (GIN-1754) and 17,000 ± 90 (GIN-11753) and 16,000 ± 130 (GIN-11755), which overlap with the dating Byki 1. The second cultural layer dated by stratigraphic position Wurm II glaciation maximum (19000-20000 years ago). The youngest sites Byki 5 and 8 have no absolute dates. But according to the stratigraphy and comparative-typological analysis of inventory, these settlements dated to about 13-14 thousand years ago.

Faunal remains one of the Bulls most diverse, and include the bones of such animals: mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), the woolly rhinoceros (Soelodonta antiquitatis); shirokopalaya horse (Equus latipes); Pleistocene reindeer (Rangifer tarandus); Pleistocene bison (Bison priscus); cave lion (Felis spelaea); Pleistocene arctic fox (Alopex lagopus cf. rossicus); fox (Vulpes vulpes); beaver (Castor fiber); Don hare (Lepus tanaiticus); narrow-skulled vole (Microtus gregalis); steppe lemming (Lagurus lagurus); birds. Fauna settlements Bulls 2 and 4 is less diverse. A skeletal collection Byki 7 contains the remains of horses, reindeer, hare, fox, mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, bear and wolf. Complement the collection of a bell and a large bony fish scales and fragments of shells of clams Unio. Reconstructed landscape periglacial tundra-forest-steppe dominated by open spaces. The mammoth was probably the object of the gathering, not hunting (collection of bones and tusks of dead animals). The main games were horse and reindeer. Arctic fox and hare are sometimes extracted for fur, as indicated by fragments of skeletons in anatomical connection.

The oldest in this archaeological complex lower layer of site Byki 7. This horizon is poorly understood. In it, according to N. Ahmetgaleeva, mark items in inventory are the heterogeneous burins and micro-blades with blunt edge [3].

The main feature of the main sites (Byki 1, 2, 4, 7 Layer 1) in stone tools is the presence of geometric microliths (Fig.1). This is series of triangles and absence of the micro-plates with a blunt edge. Similar microliths are present in a number of settlements in the Don, Dnieper, Dniester, Desna, but few and combined with the many number micro-plates with blunt edge. Equally expressive series of geometric scalene elongated triangles are known only in synchronous Byki sites of Imeretian culture (kamennobalkovskaya culture) of the Caucasus, the lower Don and Azov Sea, although along with other technology. One can assume the diffusion of cultural traditions from the south. Analysis of mikro-stratigraphy and planigraphy showed that microliths and notched tools are mainly related to the objects of the warm season. Judging from the characteristic fractures, microliths were arrowheads [4]. In general, the inventory lies in the context of the typical epigravettian traditions: different burins with a predominance of the dihedral, many different scrapers, perforators with a massive sting and short sting, adze tools and Kostenki type knifes, toothed and sinuate tools.

The bone wares from in Byki - is mostly different rods and spikes (Fig.2). Stand out among them perforators with dedicated shoulders, rods perforators, awls, a needle with eyelet, spears. Among the decorations in main are the tube bones pendants. Found two zoomorphic amulets from the mammoth tusk (figure polieykonic "man-rhino" from semi-dugouts Byki 1 and a ring with a horse's head from the home in the top layer Byki 7), two figurines ravens from the bones of reindeer, figure marmot and the image of the vulva from marl (Byki 1) (Fig.3) [5, 6]. The figurines from marl have are close analogies in the Kostenki-Avdeevo culture [7] and some in synchronous settlements. The main ornamental motif is a long and short parallel cutting (similar to the settlements of the Middle Dnieper). Rarely - oblique rhombus. This rhombus is not rhombus from Yudinovo and Timonovka, where each side of rhombus was cuted separately. The rhombus from Byki is formed by the intersection of lines, as in the sites of the Eastern Gravettian. Quite uncommon is a chevron that can be analogy found in Mezin, Eliseevichi and in the same Eastern Gravettian.

The dwellings in Byki - is a rounded a semi-dugouts. In them architecture used of a small number of bones of large animals. These dwellings, similar to the dwellings of top layer of Kostenki 8, as well a dwelling with Gagarino at the Don. Ethnographic analogy of the dwellings in Byki is the depth of bone-earth dwellings (Valkar) coastal Chukchi and Eskimos [8].


Thus, the main settlements of the Byki complex are located in the border cultural and geographical position between the regions of the Don, the Desna and the Middle Dnieper. They lie in the context of the European epigravett. At the same time, these settlements are fixed southern cultural influences. In this case, in our opinion, the assignment a new culture on the basis of only one series of specific things it seems inappropriate.

Latest, upper layer in the settlements is a Byki 5. This site relates to the final stage of the Upper Paleolithic of the center of Eastern Europe. His materials typologically and chronologically close to the culture Federmesser and final Eastern Madeleine (Kursk 1, 2, Borshevo 2, Buzhanka 2, Bugorok). Talk about the genetic connection Byki 5 other sites of the complex Byki is impossible.

Fig.1. Flint implements the main stage of the existence of complex Byki (1-4 - settlements Byki 7 layer 1, 5-43 - settlement Byki 1)

Fig.2. Bone artefacts of the main stage of the existence of the complex Byki (1, 2, 5-12, 15, 16, 18, 23, 24 - Byki 1, 3, 4, 13-15, 17, 19-22 - Byki 7 layer 1).

Fig.3. Paleolithic art. (1, 3-7 - Byki 1, 2 - Byki 7 layer 1. 1-2 - mammoth tusk, 3-4 - bone, 5-6 - marl, 7 – slate).

1. Chubur A.A. Byki. The new Paleolithic micro-region and its place in the Upper Paleolithic of the Russian Plain. Bryansk, 2001.

2. Sinitsyn A.A., Praslov N.D., Svezhentsev Y.S., Sulerzhitsky L.D. Radiocarbon chronology of the Paleolithic in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. (Archaeological investigations, issue 52). Institute of History of Material Culture RAS. St. Petersburg. 1997

3. Ahmetgaleeva N.B. Research Perspectives of the Upper Paleolithic Byki 7 / / Archaeological study of central Russia. Abstracts of the International Conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of V.P. Levenok. Lipetsk, 2006. P.34-39.

4. Chubur A.A. Mikrostratigraphy of the Upper Paleolithic settlement Byki 1 / / Russki sbornik. Issue 4. (Proceedings of the department of national history of ancient and medieval Bryansk State University). Bryansk. 2008. P.9-22.

5. Ahmetgaleeva N.B. Zoomorphic artifact of ivory from site Byki 7: the first layer / / Brief reports of the Institute of Archaeology. Issue 222. Moscow. 2008. P.18-25.

6. Chubur A.A. Reflection of primitive mythology in art and architecture settlement Byki 1 / / Visual monuments. Style, age, composition. St. Petersburg. 2004. P.61-64.

7. Gvozdover M. Art оf mammoth hunters. The finds from Avdeevo. Oxbow Monograph 49. 1995

8. Chubur A.A. About Palaeoasiatic ethnographic analogies some dwellings of the Upper Paleolithic in Eastern Europe / / Bulletin of the Nizhnevartovsk State Humanitarian University (history of science). 2010 - № 4, p.15-22

Bibliographic reference

URL: www.science-sd.com/455-24279 (25.06.2021).