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Humans on the Siberian Mammoth Steppe

Author(s): Kelly Graf

Year: 2015

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The Siberian Upper Paleolithic is divided into three phases: early, middle and late. Middle Upper Paleolithic (MUP) archaeological assemblages are both lithic and osseous in nature. Most processing tools were made on blade and flake tool blanks, whereas projectile and sewing tools were manufactured from osseous materials and an astonishing array of portable art and personal adornment pieces were also made on ivory and bone. Procurement and use of faunal resources centered on a wide array of mammoth-steppe fauna. The Mal’ta site, located near Lake Baikal, was a MUP residential basecamp miraculously preserving semi-subterranean dwellings, a double child burial (one 3-4 years old, other 1-2 years old), lithics, fauna, and mobile art and dating to about 26,000-24,000 calendar years before present. Recent ancient DNA study of the human remains indicates they shared close genetic affinity with modern-day central Asians and northeastern Europeans, contributed to the genetic make-up of first Americans and shared mtDNA with their contemporaries living west of the Urals. The genetic relationship of these dispersed late Pleistocene populations has interesting implications for their behavior. In this paper, I will focus on the Siberian MUP and how this population responded to late Pleistocene conditions on the Eurasian mammoth steppe.

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Humans on the Siberian Mammoth Steppe. Kelly Graf. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394952)


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America