A.A. Bessudnov. Zamyatnin archaeological culture of the Late Upper Palaeolithic: a myth or reality?

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A.A. Bessudnov - Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya, 18, St. Petersburg, 191186, Russia.
E-mail: bessudnov_a22@mail.ru.
ORCID 0000-0002-3785-6342


КУДК 902/904
DOI: 10.31250/2658-3828-2019-1-36-69 


Abstract: The paper discusses the problems concerning cultural context of the Late Upper Paleolithic Zamyatnin archaeological culture that was distinguished on the materials from the sites of Kostenki 2, 3, 11 (layer Ia) and 19 in the 1960–70s. Poverty of the lithic assemblages and absence of specific tool types contribute to controversial assessment of this industry which various researchers associate with the Epigravettian specific local culture or with independent sites which share some common features. Based on the analysis of published materials, the author comes to the conclusion that the most characteristic feature of lithics from the Zamyatnin culture sites is almost complete absence of abrupt retouch and backed implements, which are among the main markers of the Eastern Epigravettian. On the contrary, the primary technology of bladelets production from multi-facetted burins, tabular flints and sometimes carinated endscrapers, as well as the morphology of the blanks have much in common with the Epi-Aurignacian sites of southern Eastern Europe. Based on radiocarbon dating data, the existence of the Zamyatnin industry is determined by an interval between 21.5 and 19 (18) kyr BP, that is much older comparing to the sites with “typical” Epigravettian tool-kits. Despite of large number of problems caused primarily by the state of the database, the sites discussed in the paper stand out from other cultural formations of the Russian Plain, both in chronology and in the specific look of the collections, which makes Zamyatnin archaeological culture a real cultural and chronological unit.

Keywords: Late Upper Palaeolithic, Zamyatnin culture, Epigravettian, Kostenki, chronology, lithic assemblage, backed implements.


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