VITA ANTIQUA ISSN: 2522-9419 (Online), ISSN: 2519-4542 (Print)
VITA ANTIQUA 9, 2017, HUMAN & LANDSCAPE: Prehistoric Archaeology of Eastern Europe, 127-138
Landscape Changes in Kyiv Dnieper Region on the Border of Pleistocene – Holocene : archaeological evidence
Shydlovskyi P.S.¹, Lyzun O.M.¹
¹- Department of Archaeology and Museum Studies, Faculty of History, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv
One of the most important issues in the study of ecological systems is to determine the nature of the changes that occurred during the transition from the Late Pleistocene to the Holocene. Paleoecological research involves the study of interaction between the three types of environments - physical, biotic and social in different chronological epochs. Detection of continuity or discontinuity of transitional periods is possible with involving the analysis of data of several related disciplines - in this case and prehistory archaeology and paleogeography. Geological data claims the presence in the Late Pleistocene of strong watercourse of Pra-Dnieper, which was filled with water from the edge of Scandinavian glacier and fed from the northern tributaries, through Zamhlay valley (Chernihiv region), partially through Desna valley, through widely developed Trubizh valley and formed a wide floodplain south to Kaniv dislocations in the place of confluence of Ros and Rosava rivers and the mouth of Tiasmyn (Pazynych, 2004; 2012). Paleontological and arheozoological data claim that the territory of the Middle Dnieper Region belongs to mammoth zone, in which mammoth played the role of the main component in a complex of herbivorous mammals and was the basic hunting object of palaeolithic groups. Sites with a prevalence of mammoth’s remains in the cultural layer, including such basic camps with dwellings, built using bones of these animals, like Mezhyrich, Dobranychivka, Hintsi, Mizyn, located quite tightly in the defined region, except large areas formed by Trubizh, Dnieper and Desna valleys. The majority of these sites belong to Gravettian - 27-19 thousand years BP and Epigravettian – 18-12 thousand years BP culture traditions. Some sites are located almost on the perimeter of the defined area – on the native shore of Kiev plateau and high terraces of Desna, Trubizh and Supii. This may indicate unfitness for habitation in the land between the Dnieper and Trubizh rivers, in Late Pleistocene, or the destruction of sites of this region by natural factors. The upper limit of mammoth-hunters culture falls on the 13 thousand years BP and is associated primarily with the disappearance of the main object of hunting. The sharp decrease of the sites on the territory of Kyiv Dnieper Region in the Final Paleolithic is recorded with the presence of only three sites with characteristic low trapeze and federmesser-type points (Velykyi Dyvlyn E, Velyka Buhayivka and Zhurivka) traditionally dated in frames 12–11 thousand BP. The occupation of the territory between Dnieper and Trubizh rivers was on the bound of Preboreal and Boreal, proof of which are Mesolithic sites: Zahai (Zymivnyky culture, 10100-9300 B.P.) and Vyhurivschyna (Kudlaivka culture, 9500-8300 B.P.) that genetically associated with different geographical regions of Eastern Europe. This coincides with the formation of meanders and oxbow of Desna River of a modern type that occurred 9.8-9.5 thousand years BP. The spread of the sites in Mesolithic was possible only after the formation of the modern Dnieper River valley, formed by the breakthrough of Poliske Lake, which was located in the modern basin of Prypiat river at the end of the Pleistocene. According to L. Zalizniak, this breakthrough happened in Rauniss, approx. 13.5 thousand years BP (Zalizniak, 2009, 28). Changing in regime of the river drain due to the retreat of the Scandinavian glacier has led to changes in the nature of river’s meanders and release of large masses of alluvial sand, floodplain formations of which were suitable for the accommodation of Mesolithic-Neolithic population.
Key words: Landscape Archaeology, Middle Dnieper, Final Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Eastern Europe