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V. Pitulko, E. Pavlova and A. Basilyan (2016)

Mass accumulations of mammoth (mammoth 'graveyards') with indications of past human activity in the northern Yana-Indighirka lowland, Arctic Siberia

Quaternary International, 406:202–217.

In recent years, new accumulations of mammoth faunal remains have been discovered in the northern part of the Yana-Indighirka lowland. Such areas are referred to as "mammoth graveyards" since the discovery of the Berelekh complex of geoarchaeological locales. It's been determined that all of these locales contain various amounts of evidence of past human activity associated with the use of bone accumulations as a valuable raw material source (mammoth ivory). These locales indicate that humans were widely spread in Arctic Siberia during the Late Pleistocene (MIS 3 and 2). At least some of these sites could have formed as a result of ancient people hunting mammoths. In this article we discuss two newly discovered sites, which currently represent the northernmost evidence of human presence in the Arctic at the end of the Pleistocene. They were found in the Maksunuokha River valley, to the south of the Shirokostan Peninsula. The Urez-22 site (MKR/U22) is located at 71 degrees 42' N and is currently the northernmost Paleolithic site in the world. The Lake Nikita site (NKL) is situated 40 km away from Urez-22, and both sites contain numerous remains of mammoth. The NKL site material represents the earlier of the two ancient human habitation episodes. This site's age is estimated at similar to 13,800 to 13,600 years ago. The NKL site is a complete chronological and cultural "duplicate" of the Berelekh site, which points to a relatively wide spread of this culture in Northeast Asia. NewWorld implements, similar to those found at the Berelekh site and NKL, are known as the Chindadn points. At this point, they represent the only tangible evidence of the cultural connection between the materials from Northeast Asia and Northwest North America. The age of Urez-22 can be estimated at the time slice of similar to 14,900 to 13,900 years ago. Archaeological material was encountered in redeposited concentrations, created by a low-energy stream. Artifacts from Urez-22 demonstrate the spread of microblade industry, older than the early Holocene, for the first time in the Siberian Arctic. This new material indicates noticeable cultural originality of the region during the Late Paleolithic and promises success in the future search for Paleolithic sites in the Yana-Indighirka lowland. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved.

Arctic Siberia, Mammoth exploitation, rhs site, area, Accumulations of mammoth, Upper Palaeolithic, age, environment, paleolithic site, woolly mammoth, Western Beringia, extinction, Late Pleistocene, moravia, last glacial maximum


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