The Wolf of Baikal: The "Lokomotiv" Early Neolithic Cemetery in Siberia (Russia). (Research)

By Bazaliiskiy, V. I.; Savelyev, N. A. | Antiquity, March 2003 | Go to article overview

The Wolf of Baikal: The "Lokomotiv" Early Neolithic Cemetery in Siberia (Russia). (Research)


Bazaliiskiy, V. I., Savelyev, N. A., Antiquity


The site and its location

The territory around Lake Baikal features mountains, lowlands and plateaux, and includes the Watersheds of the Angara, Lena, Selenga, Barguzin, Vitim and other rivers. A favourable climate and a wealth of fauna and flora have attracted people since early times, creating a rich archaeological record, particularly for the period of the Holocene climatic optimum (8000-4500 years ago). Over the vast region of Northern Asia, Baikal Siberia is the only area in which several hundreds of burial complexes relating to the later Mesolithic into the Neolithic have been found and investigated. The site described in this article, nicknamed the "Lokomotiv" cemetery, is the largest Neolithic cemetery known from northern Asia, and one of the earliest, being contemporary with many late Mesolithic cemeteries of northern Europe. The burials, covering an area of 50 000 [m.sup.2] are situated on the slope of the left bank of the Angara River at the mouth of the Irkut River, at a distance of c. 70 km from Lake Baikal, in the central part of Irkutsk (Figure 1). The first evidence of ochre-painted graves came to light in 1897, when the base of the hill-slope was being cut during the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway (Ovchinnikov 1904: 67-71). A succession of professional archaeological excavations has since been carried out by the specialists of Irkutsk State University, Medical University and Museum of Regional Studies: five graves in 1927 (Gerasimov 1955: 416-424); 21 graves in 1946-1959 (Khoroshykh 1966: 84-93; Okladnikov 1974: 35-45); and 59 graves in 1980-1997 (Bazaliiskiy 1998:10-18). In each case, the archaeological excavations were related to a construction project, and consequently the investigations have been carried out on different sites and over small areas, which has had a significant effect on research into the cemetery's topography. All the ancient burials located in the eastern and southern parts of the cemetery were destroyed during the construction of the railway, the local residential districts and underground walkways. It is impossible to estimate the number of the destroyed graves, but it must be measured in hundreds. The archaeological excavations which opened the majority of the known burials were carried out in the city park, created in the second half of the 20th century on a site not used for business purposes. At least fifty graves remain unopened in the park up to the present time. Out of 87 burials investigated, reliable archaeological and anthropological evidence is available from only about 71 graves, 70 of which contained human remains (124 individuals) and one of which held the interment of a wolf.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Grave goods

The grave goods accompanying the burials were rich and varied and included fishing and hunting tools, domestic artefacts, adornments, sculptures, half-finished products and raw materials. The most numerous objects are shanks of composite fishhooks made of agalmatolite and slate (Figure 2); some burials contain up to 150 of these. The second most abundant category of goods are the incisors of the marmot (Marmota sibirica Radde), which may have been used for decorating clothing and headgear. Arrow-points made of flint and shale are less frequent than the composite fishhook shanks. Some burials have up to 30 of them. Besides the above-mentioned items, the graves also had ground-stone adzes, knives of jade and clay slate, scrapers, pestles, ground flat points of nephrite and slate, various abrasives, compound hafted tools, various points and pick-axes of bone and antler, harpoons, spoons, needle-cases with needles, and a great number of half-finished products. Examples of the raw materials include stone, bone and antler, the jaws of beaver, fox, and small predators as well as canine teeth of bear, wolf, beaver, fox, musk deer and other animals. Ceramics have only been found in three graves. Adornments are represented by numerous pendants made from the grooved fangs of the wild boar and from deer canines, calcite rings, a horn diadem, and beads of pyrophyllite and pearl. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Wolf of Baikal: The "Lokomotiv" Early Neolithic Cemetery in Siberia (Russia). (Research)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.