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The historiography of the problem of archaeological definition of the Eneolithic of North Kazakhstan and Transural region

10 October 2013
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In the classic sense, in accordance with the criteria of archaeological periodization, the Eneolithic refers to the era of introduction and widespread use of copper products, which led to the degradation of the flint industry and to the depletion of sets of stone tools, which are characterized by the intensive development of producing economy (farmers and herdsmen in their various combinations) , flat-bottomed, richly ornamented utensils, shallow plastic, durable dwellings with a flat floor [14, p. 7]. Such criterion is fully complied with the settled agricultural Chalcolithic. The steppe chalcolithic period of the Eastern Europe could be characterized with the cattle breeding specialization, the minimal development of the construction business and crafts, the rite of burial, distribution of wheeled transport, complicated social structure with individualization of the chiefs and tribal aristocracy, the close interaction with settled agricultural crops [14, p. 333].

Specificity of historical processes and the development of material culture in northern Kazakhstan and Trans-Urals in the late Stone Age, beginning of the Metal Age, caused the misunderstandings among the professionals about epochal attribution and degree of independence of the cultural complexes of that time.

The term "Chalcolithic" was used by V.N. Chernetcov along with the late Chalcolithic materials, in 1953 he highlighted the Eneolithic era in the materials of Lipchinsk encampment [13, p. 38]. He clearly distinguished the two eras of early Metal and Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. He referred the materials of Lipchinsk encampment with the ceramics of various forms to the first one, while a flat-bottomed comb-ware was referred to the Early Bronze Age [13, p. 38, 40, p. 39. Table. XIV; p. 42-44].

According to V.N. Tchernetsoff , the Chalcolithic era of Trans-Urals and Western Siberia was not characterized by " ... any specific forms, only by the relation of the endangered archaic features with the new ones. These new features in ceramics are a flat bottom and solid pit ornamentation which is to a certain extent similar to the early Andronian monuments "[13, p. 40].  If we consider his own opinion about the existence of cultural and ethnic community in the territory of the Urals and Central Asia region in the Neolithic era of early Bronze, then the main content of the era will be the eradication of cultural traits in the material culture and the formation of signs of Andronian culture.

  V.N. Chernetsov identified the following Eneolithic features of dishes. For Eneolithic Lipchinsk ceramics, he considered the peculiar parabolic shape and flat-bottomed feature. The different types of comb stamp, shallow sub-triangular and oval fossa, the retreating spatula, backed and advanced comb, the applying of round holes for the ornamentation of the corolla. The drawn pattern is quite rare.

  He assigned the rare fragments of solid field-patching ornament to the Eneolithic era. Thus, he believed that the features of the Eneolithic era are equal to the features of the Early Bronze age, the flat-bottomed dishes and continuous patching ornamentation. He treated them as the originated traits of the Early Andronian culture in the Eneolithic era. [13, p. 38, p. 39. Table. XIV]. It seems that the limited knowledge about the material culture of the region at end of the Stone Age and the split of the materials of Lipchinsk encampment led to such conclusions. V.N. Chernetcov placed the Lipchinsk materials to the end of the second, beginning of the third millennium BC [13, p. 38, 56, 57].

  N.P. Kiparisova typologically distinguished the Late Neolithic era in the Urals and Western Siberia from the Neolithic pottery, on the basis of a whole range of features of ceramics of the sites of second and fourth Itkulsk, Abselyamovs, Chebarkul. These are the differences in shape, in the treatment of surface, the technique of applying of ornament, in the elements and composition of ornament. It total, she allocated about 12 of such differences [2, p. 7-9]. Furthermore, N.P. Kiparisova correlated the monuments with a new type of ceramics with the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze age (the beginning of the Second millennium - XIV-XIII centuries. BC) [2, p. 9], without chronological and epochal separation of these two periods [2, p. 14-15, Fig. 6-7].

  According to N.P. Kiparisova, the beginning of the Eneolithic era in the Trans-Urals Forest and Western Siberia was connected with the collapse of community tribes with the comb ceramics into the separate areas, "in which the further development of ceramics went different ways and led to the formation of a completely different type of pottery" [2, p. 20]. As such, she isolates the monuments with this type of ceramics form the Shigir culture within two Eneolithic and Early Bronze cultures: Anne and Ostrov (northern region) and Demetrius (southern region ) [2, p. 22 ].

  The uncertainty in position of determination of late Eneolithic monuments was typical for L.Y. Krizhevskaya. In 1960, she defined the South Trans-Urals Eneolithic encampment as the Early Bronze [6]. In the article from 1970, the monuments of Kokui II and Odino were defined by L.Y. Krizhevskaya in one place as Eneolithic [7, p. 153], in other as Early Bronze (at least Kokui II) [7, p. 158]. Moreover, she notes the difficulty in the interpretation of the transitional periods in relation to the transition from the Neolithic to bronze in the Southern Trans-Urals, in particular because of the lack of knowledge [9, p . 3].

  She noted the terminological inconsistency in domestic archeology of that time (Chalcolithic, Early metal, Copper Age, Early Bronze Age). Since 1973, the researcher rejects the possibility of age determination based on the new features in ceramics [8, p. 110]. According to her, copper metallurgy was the "new quality" (an expression of L.Y. Krizhevskaya), which allows to establish a boundary between the Neolithic era and subsequent epochs [8, p. 115-116]. She suggests using a degree of familiarity with the metal as criterion for allocation of the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age cultures.

  L.Y. Krizhevskaya proposes to leave the name “Chalcolithic” behind those cultures that familiar with the imported metal, but not with the local metallurgy. She decided to use the term "early bronze" for cultures of transitional period with their own metallurgy, including the Southern Trans-Urals, even if they smelted the pure copper [9, p. 119-120]. However, the practical application of developed criteria for defining of a transitional era is selective. For each of the local areas of Southern Trans-Urals, she allocated its own private criterion: for Southern Trans-Urals Lakeshore is the mastering of copper metallurgy, for West Siberian forest is the settled lifestyle and the transition to a sedentary animal husbandry [9, p. 5].

  Excluding the use of the concept of "Chalcolithic" to the Late Chalcolithic monuments of Southern Trans-Urals, she thereby denies the existence of the era in the ancient history of the region and advocates to change the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. Chalcolithic materials were attributed to the Early Bronze Age. The Early Bronze era was placed in a narrow chronological period lasting from 300-400 years at the turn of third and second centuries and the first half of the Second millennium BC [9. 121].

  In his report during the Sixth Ural Archaeological meeting "On the concept of "Chalcolithic" in relation to the taiga part of Siberia", V.I. Matyushchenko considered unacceptable to use this term in the West Siberian taiga because the population of the taiga Priobja of the third millennium BC, was not familiar with the generating economy. V.N Chernetsov and O.N. Bader considered the time of Eneolithic era in the Urals and Western Siberia (the last century of the third and the beginning of the second BC.) V.I. Matyushchenko refers this time to the Neolithic era, followed by Samus-Seysmins era with highly developed bronze casting production [5, p. 298].

  M.F. Kosarev and V.A. Mogilnikov have also noted that the term "Chalcolithic", in its classic sense, is unacceptable to the taiga zone of Western Siberia. On the other hand, they considered the existence of the transitional era between the Neolithic era and Bronze Age in Western Siberia, they called it the era of the early metal or the transition time from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, as it was reflected in its contents. According to them, it should be characterized by “the increasing influence of the southern cultures and northward penetration of the elements of producing economy and the increasing role of fisheries as well as the transition to a more settled life. The characterization also includes the appearance of brass, and then the bronze crafts and transformation of the sharp and circle ceramics into the flat round jars as well as with an active implementation into the local ornamentation of solar symbolism etc."[5, p. 288].

  V.F. Starkov said that “the question of the Eneolithic cultures of the Trans-Urals area is one of the most complex and controversial" [10, p. 38]. He believes that only the discovery and research of the homogeneous and stratified monuments of Lipchinsk and Shapkulsk types in the 1970, allowed us to concrete the meaning of the Eneolithic era of the Trans-Urals forest, which was first noted by V.N. Chernetsov and N.P. Kiprisovoy. According to him, the nature of Chalcolithic era could be defined by the findings, on the rare monuments, of copper products and specific geometric style ceramic ornamentation [10, p. 38]. V.F. Starkov believes that theEneolithic era of the Trans-Urals forest is a special stage between the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age, as it has its own specific features [12, p. 66].He refers to the lifetime of the Eneolithic era, to the beginning of the sub-real period, which dates back to the third millennium BC. [10. 48]. In the matter of forming of the Eneolithic cultures, V.F. Starkov goes after N.P. Kiparisova, recognizing the "disintegration of the East-Urals Eneolithic culture” and the development on its basis of the separate Eneolithic cultures, but in the forms of Lipchinsk and Shapkulsk[11, 147].

  However, if the differences between the Neolithic and Eneolithic complexes can be found in the materials, then he only refer to the Early Bronze Age the culture of Ayatsk, from the forest Thans-Urals, and the culture of comb-ceramics in Tobol, on the basis of the stratigraphic data [11, p. 70]. He did it without giving the explanations about what he means by the Early Bronze era and how it differs from the Chalcolithic except by name and date?

  Admitting the existence of Eneolithic era in the Trans-Urals region, as well as the fabricated character of the economy of botaysk and terseksk cultures, on the background of their population with the metal, does not created obstacles to the theoretical classification of these crops to the Eneolithic era, as well as to understanding of every era in the Northern Kazakhstan. That is why V.F. Zeibert, S.S. Kalieva and V.N. Logvin did not pay much attention to the problem of allocating the Chalcolithic region as an independent historical epoch. V.F. Zeibert found it possible (by appealing to the opinion of N.Y. Merpert) to argue that "at present, there are practically no dispute about the existence in the Eurasian steppes of the self Eneolithic era with its peculiarities and regularities» [1, p. 3]. These scientists were supposed to allocate the cultures and identify the characteristics of the era.

  In the mid-1980, V.T. Kovaleva noted that due to the lack of the reliable criteria for identifying the Eneolithic cultures, a problem of the epochal accessory of the transitional era of Trans-Urals forest and Western Siberia from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age is persists. Despite an agreement on the understanding of a transitional era for its designation, the researchers continue to use a variety of names of the “transit” character: the late Eneolithic or Early Bronze, the era of the early metal, transitional period from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age [3, p. 96]. V.T. Kovaleva seeks to find such criteria, which would be common for the allocation of agricultural and forestry Chalcolithic. She advocates the use of technological criterion (the material of guns) as common to archaeological periodization [3, p. 97]. But believes that it is necessary to use the economic criteria. At the same time, she understands not the form of economy (as it is could be understand, and on what basis we could question the existence of the Chalcolithic in the forest area). She believes that it is "a significant step forward compared to the Neolithic time" in the development of the productive forces", which expressed in the intensification of production, whether it produces or assigns. In the forest zone, the economic progress is reflected in the intensification of fishing, the priority of sedentary lifestyle, being acquainted with the progressive forms of economy, etc. [3. 98]. Thus, V.T .Kovalev allocates two criteria of the Eneolithic era, the familiarity with the metal and the intensification of economic life.

  However, in a joint article V.T. Kovaleva and N.M. Chairkina operated only by the technological criterion that strongly affected their assessment of the degree of independence of Eneolithic era of Trans-Yrals forest: "Following the technological criteria, we highlight the Chalcolithic as a special period of archaeological periodization; its content is a transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. It could be characterized by the continuity with the culture of the Neolithic, and the by the significant progress of creating of the preconditions for the transition to the Bronze Age” [4, p. 59-60].

  However, there was no word in this definition about the technological criteria. If we will regard this definition (which should be the quintessential concept of features criteria, time, place, etc.), the criteria are: a) the continuity of the culture of the Neolithic; b) progress (in what); c) the creation of prerequisites (in what) to go to the Bronze Age. However, there is a phrase before the definition in Article, in which the researchers reject the major changes in economy, culture and social life of the Chalcolithic population compared to the Neolithic [4, p. 59].

  In the absence of metal and metalworking on the most monuments, in the identification of these monuments as Eneolithic, V.T. Kovalev and N.M. Chairkina, refers the central role to the typological attributes of ceramics.

  In general, V.T. Kovaleva and N.M. Chairkina did ​​not considered the Eneolithic  as an era of the Early Metal( i.e. starting and opening the age of metal ), but "as a transitional period in the previous archeological period (Neolithic metal)" [4, p . 60]. Formation and development of Chalcolithic is considered by the researcher as a process of further evolution of Neolithic culture, but under the influence of migration from the forest zones of Eastern Europe and the subsequent assimilations [4, p. 60, 66-67]. They included the Ayatsk complexes into the Eneolithic cultures. [4, p. 61]. A chronology of the Chalcolithic is determined at the beginning of third and second millennium BC. 4. 60].

  Thus, the assertion of the existence of self-representation Eneolithic era in North Kazakhstan and Trans-Urals, which is based on empirical data, began in the archaeological science in the early 1970s. Today, the Eneolithic era in Northern Kazakhstan and Trans-Urals is not questioned and is a scientific reality. The Eneolithic as a specific historical era of Northern Kazakhstan and Trans is different for the groups in different landscape zones, practicing the different economic and cultural types, regardless of their affiliation to the producing or appropriating economy. It is logical that each Chalcolithic era is determined individually and by the specific set of characteristics. However, there are difficulties in the theoretical underpinnings of Eneolithic era and which is empirically outlined.

Zakharov S.V.

(NKSU named after M. Kozybaev)

Literature:

1. Zaibert V.F., The Chalcolithic Ural and Irtysh interfluve. Petropavlovsk, 1993.

2. Kiparisova N.P., About the cultures of Trans-Urals forest / / SA. 1960. Number

3. Kovaleva V.T., The Chalcolithic era in the forested Trans-Urals // Ural and problems of regional historiography. Feudalism. Primitive communal system: (Information Materials). - Sverdlovsk, USSR Academy of Sciences, Ufa, 1986.

4. Kovaleva V.T., N.M. Chairkina, the Ethno-cultural and ethno-genetic processes in the Middle Trans-Urals in the late Stone and early Bronze Age: results and problems of research // Problems of archeology of the Urals. Collection of scientific papers. - Yekaterinburg, 1991.

5. Kosarev M.F., Mogilnikov V.A., Sixth Ural archaeological meeting // CA, 1979, № 2.

6. Krizhevskaya L.Y., South Ural expedition // AO-67. – M.: Publishing House "Nauka", 1968.

7. Krizhevskaya L.Y., Some data on the Neolithic and Early Bronze Ageof the West Siberian forest steppe / / Siberia and its neighbors in antiquity. - Novosibirsk: Publishing House "Nauka", Siberian Branch, 1970.

8. Krizhevskaya L.Y., The Late Eneolithic time in the South Urals // Problems of archeology of the Urals and Siberia. - Moscow: Publishing House "Nauka", 1973.

9. Krizhevskaya L.Y., The Early Bronze time in Southern Trans-Urals. L., 1977.

10. Starkov V. F., The Shapkul I encampment and the features of the Chalcolithic in the Forested Trans-Urals // the archeology questions of Priobye. – Tyumen: Tyumen State University, 1976.

11. Starkov V.F., The Mesolithic and Neolithic of the forested Trans-Urals. - Moscow: Nauka, 1980.

12. Starkov V.F., The Culture of early metal in forested Trans-Urals // VAU. - Sverdlovsk, 1981.

13. Chernetcov V.N., The ancient History of the Lower Priobye. MIA, № 35, 1953.

14. The Eneolithic ​​of the USSR. Archeology of the USSR. Ans. Ed. Volume: V.M. Mason, N.Y. Merpert. -M.: Publishing house "Nauka", 1982.

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