Archaeological survey in the Russian Altai Mountains

Dr. Arina Khatsenovich and colleagues off-road near the Kara-Tenesh site.

Our team visited several Paleolithic sites in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia in July 2020. We had geographical coordinates of sites investigated in the 1980s-1990s, including Maloyalomanskaya Cave and Kara-Tenesh, but, of course, those coordinates proved to be incorrect! Local people were very kind and helped us to find Maloyalomanskaya Cave, which is in good condition. One gallery in particular seems to have good prospective for further excavation. We plan to take samples for OSL and 14C dating next year.

Maloyalomanskaya Cave

The situation at Kara-Tenesh is less clear. The site’s geographical coordinates were basically correct and we located the site after only one or two hours’ search. But the area of this site is huge and we tried with difficulty to understand where the Paleolithic excavation pit was situated. This site is an Afontovo Culture settlement, with deeply stratified Paleolithic material in some parts of the site. Next year, we will excavate several test pits to detect the Paleolithic layer.

Dr. Anton Anoikin at the Kara-Tenesh site

The other goal of our survey was the search for lithic raw material sources utilized by the ancient inhabitants of the Kara Bom site. Just one preliminary word – success!!! More to follow…soon.

Dr. Evgeny Rybin testing stone raw material

We also found two new Paleolithic localities. All of this looks promising and will undoubtedly keep us busy if the pandemic continues.

The Kara Bom site as seen by DJI Mavic Pro drone

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