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    The Russian-American 'Zbokhov-2000" project made it possible


    resume integrated


    chaeo1ogid and naturaI-science research in 2000. Supported by the Rock Foundation under
    Edmond Carpenter, the range of the research could have been considerably diversified and wid-


    T w e d o g M and t e h n d o g i d reseaFch
    Tmceological and technological research of the Prokhov site materials are of particular importance primarily due to the necessity of a fuller reconstruction of ancient production activities
    occurring on its territory.
    For lithic industries of the Stone Age, technology of blades and bladelets production to be used
    as inserts makes a unique example of a repeated we of one complicatd h p p i a g tschnique complex at the Zhokhov site.
    This technology is meant to exclusively produce medial hgments of straight profile bladelets
    and a very high degree of other pmmters identification. Description and record of all the hap
    ping products relatbd to the context of their production at the Plokhov site makes it possible not
    only to estimate specification of *'puren tachnological complex quantities, but also to evaluate the
    level of the Mesolithic production.
    Multiplicity, variety and an exceptionally good condition of insert tools with survived handles
    enable us to r w h more accurately define traces of use; they also allow comparing them to similar
    items originating from other sites, where handles did not survive.
    Now we can be positive in saying that Zhokhov materials allow defining and widening our
    ideas of the ways the insert composite tools were used on rhe whole, and the knives in particular.
    Preliminary results show they were used not only in butchering, but also for wood,ivory and wider
    treatment. We are offered a unique chance to examine a question of a possible poIyhnctiona1 use
    of some of them.
    Examining these items under microscope of small magnification (MBS 10 and MSPEl up to
    1Wpower) revealed deliberate, though very fine retouch -on a number of items.
    The retouch found on Zhokhov bladelets is mostly obtuse, but not abrupt. Some retouch scars
    are so fine, one cannot often see them with a naked eye. So far, the way the retouch is made is not
    quite clear.
    In the overwhelming majority of cases, the edge retouch is one sided, one row, sufficiently
    regular (Picture 1:A).
    The most part of the fttow:hed items arc inserts of composite tools. All of them are made form
    medial parts of stmight profile bldelets. A non-working lengthwise edge meant to be inserted in a
    f k m was retouched. More rarely retouch is found on the ends of inserts.
    Some other tools whose function is to be defined were made with the help of microretouch.
    Among these Ieast of a11 studied forms, there is a group of bladelet hgments with two retouched
    edges and a preserved proximal end. Micro-burin spalls, a rwadbd edge and pobhbg often occur
    on the broken distal end that most likely presented a working part. A few similar items with a
    pointed end, bearing alternate edge retouch were found. Most ~ k c l ya, part of these items wih retouch on two lengthwise sides was used as tools for cutting grooves in frames, others have similar
    loddng traces due to their being wed as perforators.
    Hence, one can s u m h e that only adaptation tool elements were retouched in the plokhov
    cultural tradition. A sharp edge of a non-treated blade-& flake was used as the principal working



    In the Zhokhov industry, apart from retouch, one more kind of a secondary treatment was used
    to manufacture tools from flint blradelets: grinding. This is a technology fundamentally new for the
    Stone Age archaeology, presently, it has not my analogues. Tram of treatment of this "exotic"
    kind occur on various parts of b l a d e l ~for
    , insmcc:

    grinding of lengthwise sides of proximal fragments of bladelets to blunt them at the right angle
    (Picture 2: A, B).
    grinding of ridges on proximd and d i d dorsal fragments of bladelets (Picture 2: C; 3; 4);
    So far, the purpo~eof tha treatment of tbis kind is not completely clear to us. What is obvious,
    it is diverse and ambiguous. Possibly, it both makes the inserts thinner to facilitate their putting
    into a p v e and forms wo-g
    and -on
    elements of some took: fine trimming of working
    parts (sharpening &or blunting).
    Practically all the imerh in frames and many inserts found without them have a very special
    damage of the cutting edge: IdiIisation w
    h (Picture 1: B,C, D)&me main difference between
    this particular kind of the edge of Madelet d f i c a t i o n and that of delihate retouch is as follows:
    its bigger h,
    lesser degree of its regularity;
    position on both sides of one edge;
    more p r o n o u d number of rows,
    Most of all, this kind of damage reminds of classicai traces of bard mamials sawing/cutting.
    Cutting edges of inserts show micro traces of use wear typical for the Stone Age sites:
    of maat carving (Picture 5);
    meat raw hide;




    antler, bone, ivory.
    A combined tool for cutting hide oonsisting of a wooden base, flint insert and sinew banding
    can exemplify a surprisingly simple and rational solution for fixing an insert inside a handle (Picture 6). Judging fiom aa
    in the handle, the tool was not meant for temporary we, it was
    either suspended -where
    (eat,when using, it was secured on the hand with a loop), or worn at
    the belt and was possibly d
    d Tbe flint cutting edge of thii item shows WCU pronounced
    hide cutting hwes comp1cx. This curious highly spacialid tool is a knife for cutting hides baving
    almost "a museum item" la& ( P b m 7).
    i and macro w e w a r seat on ftagments of various kinds of large and small sledges sldd
    f d in the cultural layer can we11 bs cornpad to ethnogaphkd
    d has tto analogues
    among 0th admwIogical sites. In this case we art confronted with a d r y to work out a
    new field of twmlogical d:
    tracoology of woodare situated on the lower part of the skid, wbere they twch the grouad. They represent gmmd smoothing nut of the skid surf- and, as in most -,
    its entire polishing. Any
    rough grooves or scmchss are absent on the polished surface. It is very smmh and shining. It is
    to be f d out in the future what kind of g m d leave d tmca~



    Thanks to excqtiondy we11
    organic a d k t s , rbe rage of potentially roconrstructible kinds of activities of the ancient hhabitmts of the site is amazingly wide. These activities can
    stone h a p p i i
    stone tnatmcnt by po1ishing;
    manuand me of c o m t e toob (W,antler, ivory in combhation with stone);
    mammoth iwrty m
    t and reideer mtkr tTeatmcnt (splitting, h p h g by bewing, planing
    d cutting);
    baskmy d,pssibly, mat manufacture;

    fur dratsing;
    wood matment (splitting, shaping by hewing, planing d cutting) to build living dweIling,
    mwl faciiitk, cooking utensils, implements;
    use of travel facilities (various Id& of sledges).
    This tist is far from king compsete.
    TecbooIogical contexts comparative analysis ~
    ~ dl t b nc t y p s gof activities shows chat
    not dl of them are rcpmmted at tbe site equally well. Gntexts showing cettain kinds of activities
    are quite complete, composition of dms, on tbe contrary, is NJ of gaps.
    A technological conext of insert marmfacture for coqwdtc tools - points for hunting a d
    knives is most fully qmmtd in rhe d I a p of Zhohhov site artefats. Microblade manufacture (blanks for fKnt hut tools manufactwe) mdoubtdy took place immediately at the rite.


    A sufficiently complete technological context h r a c m k s various kinds of manufacture connected with tools for hunting. Thanks to the availability of prdcaliy all kinds of original raw
    material, wastage, Whed and a l m d item t h m are all the masons to assume that manufacture,
    use and fixing of bone, antkr, ivory and wooden toob with flint or obsidian inserts took place at
    the site. Most part of the tools points and knives - was connected with polar bear and reindeer
    hunting and their butchering. This conclusion is confumd both by n m u s animal debris and
    traces of work with m a t , hide and bone left on lithic inserts,
    The same is true concerning floatwad tmattnent. The analysis of amfacts d a t d with this
    type shows numerous Graces of splitting, shaping by hewing, planing and cutting. It is undoubted
    that the cultural layer of the site reveals practically all the possible mute of such manufacture,
    up to the smallest chips and shavings;i.e., it forms an integral w b l o g i c a l context; w i n g that
    wood treatment was taking p l w on the immediate territory of the site.
    On the contrary, some other kinds of activities, shown above. cannot k evidtntially proven as
    taking place immediately and/or only on the territory of the site due to M
    i technological context
    being incomplete.
    Few obsidian items found in thc cultural tayer a mostly presented by b1adelets and, to a -1
    degree, by small flakes. Such a composition of the splitting produce forms does not &ow us to
    state that the whole complex of actions connected with its maaufacture was taking place in siru.
    Obsidian was likely to be deliverad to the site as finished nuclei. The closest known obsidian outcrops are relatively far, in the mid-stream of the Indigirka river.
    Large blade manufacture technology cannot be recomtructed with the nectssary compietcness
    due to absence of certain forms of the technological context:
    I) them are no cotes in the assemblage from which such spdls could have k n taken;
    2) there are no p p t i o n spalh of such cores for blade removal, whost availability would
    have boen unavoidable;
    3) moreover, such large lumps of flint of adcquate quality are not available on the island of


    A very similar situstion occurs when polished chopping tools are analyzed. Most part of adzelike items with traces of grinding bears rejuvenation m.Ground adzes fragments rejuvenation
    into nuclei for mimoblades is not mThe a s s e shows
    ~ ~ =para& specimens of adze blanks, as well as n u m u s spalls from the
    finished tools of this kind. However, splitting p r o d w corresponding to the manufactured chopping tools of the assemblage is not available, neither qdiralivel y, nor quantitatively.
    Hence, we have no sufficient masons to assume that di the obsidian items, large blades and
    ground chopping tools were m a ~ l u k t w dimmediately on the island of mokhov. They were
    Iilrely to have been d d i v c d to the site as finished items w prefabs.
    The wicker-work manufacture context cannot be considered complete, either. Presently, in
    spite of the perfect -on
    of small and comparatively large fragments of mats (?) and baskets (?), the site never revealed any traces of raw material d n s , prefabs and tmls for wickerwork
    Wastage related to fossil ivory tFeatment is dso p-nt
    insufficiently. Practically all the ivory
    spalls of tht assemblage can be r e f d to the context of the &led
    Ypick-likeu item. These are
    products of breakdown and mgh treatment of ivory by a lithic dm,
    At the same time, tfie produce of finer man*
    like planing, cutting, scraping, whose traces
    am well rrackd on d n ivmy items is practically entirely a b n L What is most surprising is the
    absence of ivory shavings. Our expe-nts
    with fossil ivory make it cleat h t removing 5 cubic
    centimetres of this material by a flint plane can result in 3 cubic ckcinmtres of shaving a d more

    (Pic- 8).
    layer are in a quite
    Since wooden chops and shavings, bits of hide aad tendons of t l cultural
    satisfactory state of preservation, to explain the &em of thin ivory shavings only by their M
    prmmation does not seem convincing.
    The cultural Iayer i t t c l h n u m m u fhgments of M e with hair on it, pieces of dressed
    leather (with hair ~moved) and l e a k bits, t
    h Plolchov site assemblage has so far never rev d e d a single scraper with or without
    of use, or any other tool connected with intense
    scraping of a hide. Initial treatment and M a g of hides d w not mto take place here, '
    Every new Plokhov axcavation mson bring to light new types of arte-,
    newtbles, the
    overall correlation of diffmnt technological contexts stays prdcally invariable. T h t is why we


    have every teason to makc certain conclusions c o n d n g the chawter of activities of the ancient
    inhabitants of the site, as well as the d n g of the tatter.
    In all probability, h m we have a specidid hunters' camp meant to fulfil a definite but very
    narrow range of tasks. R-ning
    from a positive estimation of the available i n f o d o n we possess, we can r c c o m some kinds of activities taking place at the site when it was in use:
    construction of living dwelling;
    constrPction and repah of maans of transport;
    manufacture of u k d s for domestic purposes;
    manufacture and repair of huntingequipment;
    repair and alteration of worlring tools;
    butchering and preliminary pn>cessiog of hunt animals.
    Most part of rhe working tools, a part of raw material to IM happed and made tools from, separate fwil ivory item, as well as wicker-work items: baskets (?), bags (?), mats (?) w e delived
    to the site.

    Even now, in spite of tfic incomplete state of excavation and analytical work, the m l r s of new
    research on Zhokhov site are considered exclusively i n f o d v e . They give hope to further receive reliable data about d o u s kinds of ancient beams of Zokhov cultural tditiott production
    activity occurring not only immodiatcly on the sitc but around it. Discovery of new types of items
    and technologies, in particular, discovery of a new secondary -t
    technology (grinding of
    bladelets) arc likely to facilitate in the future the search for a Plokbov industry analogue on the
    continent, As mw inEomutb bccomdf~available, the functional meaning of the sitc beoomes
    more and a o ~ e
    clear. Conithuing rcsm@~of the archaeological site involved seems quite justifable since it is under the threat of Wing -had

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