VITA ANTIQUA, ISSN 2522-9419 (Online), 2519-4542 (Print)
Center for Paleoethnological Research
VITA ANTIQUA 10, 2018, Prehistoric Networks in Southern and Eastern Europe, 38-42
An overview of the osteological mammal material from the archaeological sites of the Surska culture in the context of its tribes’ adaptation to the environment
National Museum of Natural history at the NASU
The concentration of archaeological sites in the Middle Dnieper area indicates that that region used to be attractive for settlement at different times. In particular, favorable conditions of the Dnieper River with its tributaries and forests in the coastal part, contributed to development of settlements of communities, where seizure played the leading role in the economy.
The paper considers the osteologic mammal material belonging to the Sursk Culture, which existed from the beginning of V - IV to III millennium BC. It occupied territories of the Dnieper Rapids, the modern territories of Dnieper and Zaporizhzha regions. The osteological mammal material was selected and described on sites of Vovnigi (1929-1931), Sursk Islands (1946) and Shulayev Island (1931). These sites were located in the territory of modern Dnieper and Zaporizhzha regions. They represent the seasonal settlements of the prehistoric population. Today, chronological limits of the Sursk Culture have been clarified and supplemented, so the middle stage of the Culture development accounts for 6150 – 5650 BC and the later stage for 5650 – 5200 BC.
The species composition in all sites represented of mostly wild animals, which lives in the wooden territory around the Dnieper banks. The selection contains a large number of fish, bird and fresh-water turtle bones. They were an auxiliary element of hunting. Large hoofed animals were essential to survival of communities, namely bison or bos primigenius, deer, horse, and roe deer, which inhabited the coastal forest areas. Location of settlements on the island territories allowed communities to use in full the natural resources. Hunting was the basis of survival of the Surska communities. The role of bone as a material for making tools significantly increased in that period. This may be explained by remoteness of silicon deposits and availability of bone material. Revised materials from selected sites clearly show how the economic strategy of communities of the Surska Culture form a model of adaptation to the natural environment.
Key words: archaeozoology, Neolithic, bone tools, Surska culture, mammal assemblage