Archaeology, Palaeoecology, and Palaeodemography of Eurasia

Valery S. Olkhovskiy, ed.

A Review

by Jeannine Davis-Kimball

New information in this volume is valuable for those who study Eurasian steppe cultures, particularly during the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. Following an introduction by Valery Olkhovskiy, the nineteen articles treat a geographical area ranging from the Caspian and Aral seas to east of the Ural Mountains and to southern Kazakstan, treating two major themes: Palaeoecology and Palaeodemography of the Eurasian Steppes (six papers) and Archaeological Sources (twelve papers). The English summaries in this well-published volume are, in general, lengthy, provide good detail, and are well edited. See Table of Contents for authors. The first six papers cover diverse topics that include Eurasian geological conditions and environmental changes in the third millennium BC and evidence of strong seismic activity over a long time period in the Baite cultural region (west Ustyurt). DNA and pathological changes were among the examinations performed on the skeleton excavated from a Baite cultic site. Two articles treat anthropological materials and animal bones, including important finds of the eagle-owl, from the principal Iron Age cult site at Baite III. The archaeological section treats a variety of subjects from the Bronze Age to the Medieval Period. The earlier time period focuses on cultural contacts between steppe and agricultural populations in southern Tajikistan, the chronology of daggers from northern China, and the origins and dating of "Deer Stones" in the western region. Ancient Near Eastern rosettes found in the Ukraine, and Near Eastern helmets in the northern Caucasus are among the finds that point to developed cultural contacts between vast regions. Early Iron Age sculpture and stele from Kabardino-Balkariya and the southern Urals are reported on and the problems involved in their systematic study are examined. Tamgas found at the Baite III sanctuary, and cauldrons from India and the sub-continent complete the Iron Age studies. Hunnu (Turkic) kurgans At Beriktas I (west of Almaty, Kazakstan) and medieval cult structures in the Chelyabinsk region, Russia complete the topics addressed in this volume.

Russian Academy of Sciences. Institute of Archaeology, and the Minister of Education and Science, Republic of Kazakhstan, A. Kh. Margulan’s Institute of Archaeology. Moscow: GEOS.. 2000. Published in Russian with English summaries. Soft cover, 343 pp. Many line drawings and photographs. US$ 30.00 plus shipping.

ISBN 5-89118-138-X

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