A.E. Matyukhin and T.V. Sapelko. Paleolithic Site Biryuchya Balka-2: Geology, Chronology, and Paleoecology
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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology
of Eurasia

37 (4) 2009




Paleolithic Site Biryuchya Balka-2: Geology, Chronology, and Paleoecology

A.E. Matyukhin and T.V. Sapelko.

The current article provides a discussion of the geological, chronological, and environmental aspects of Biryuchya Balka-2, a stratifi ed Paleolithic site situated in the Seversky Donets valley of Rostov Oblast. Excavations have revealed seven Mousterian and four Upper Paleolithic horizons. Upper Paleolithic industries include endscrapers, sidescrapers, and bifacial tools. Mousterian horizons are characterized by volumetric reduction (prismatic cores and blades) as well as by traditional primary reduction techniques. The results of palynological analysis suggest that loams containing fl int tools were formed during both warm and cold periods. The Late Paleolithic horizons date to 26 and 31 ka BP whilst one of the upper Mousterian horizons dates to 40 ka. Although this date would appear too late, the break in habitation can be explained by a late cold period (34–32.5 ka BP). The emergence of new stone reduction techniques, specifi cally the blade technique appears to have resulted purely from technological modifi cation. The role of environmental factors, however, cannot be entirely ruled out.

Keywords: Seversky Donest River, Biryuchya Balka-2, Paleolithic, chronology, geology, palynology, paleozoology, paleoclimate, environment.