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MAIBULAK – FIRST STRATIFIED PALEOLITH SITE IN ZHETYSU (KAZAKHSTAN)

УДК 903.904(574).632

В статье освещена материальная культура стоянки первобытного человека, обнаруженная археологами в 2004 г в районе с. Каргалы (Фабричный) в Алматинской области.

Мақалада Алматы облысының Қарғалы аймағында (Фабричный) 2004 жылы археологтармен табылған алғашқы адамның тұру мәдениеті жайлы жарықтанған.

Keywords: Palaeolithic period, stratigraphy, artefact, flint, absolute

Kazakh National University named after Al-Farabi is one of the leading centres of archaeology of Kazakhstan Republic. Archaeology and Ethnology Department carries out prospecting and stationary works in monuments of the Stone, Bronze, Early Stone Ages and Medieval Period. Particularly, specialists of the Department, collaborating with colleges from Institute of Archaeology named after A.H.Margulan, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of Siberian Department of Russian Academy of Science (Novosibirsk city), carry out conjoint researches of monuments of the Stone Age of Kazakhstan.

Field archaeological seasons of 2004-2007 years on area of Kazakhstan have turned to be rich in archaeological discoveries. The implementation of the Scientific State Programme “Cultural Heritage”, intended for 2003-2006 years, advanced it. Programme envisages the prospecting and excavation works on perspective archaeological projects, introduction of new materials into scientific turnover. Restoration and conservation of Kazakhstan more significant monuments is one of the parts of “Cultural Heritage” Programme activity.

In the frameworks of realization of the Programme by expedition of Kazakh National University named after al-Farabi, archaeological works were carried out in the South Kazakhstan in Koshkurgan I and named after Ch.Valihanov settlements. Works included the cleaning of sites from crumbling, as well as extra excavations with purpose of getting information, required for more precise definition of concrete dating.

Since 2004, expedition had been carried out research works in the southeast Kazakhstan. From the geographic position, this region bears the Jetysu (Semirechye) by existence of seven larger rivers of the region. Balhash Lake is the western geographical bor deriine of this area: Saryyesik-Atrau Plain, merged with sub mountain of Tarbagatay, Jungar, Alatau, Zaili Alatau to the southern part from the and in the lake and in the west-Chu-iliysk Моuntains and valley of the Chu River, Alakol hollow with located in it Alakol and Sarykkol Lakes, as well as the eastern branches of Jungar Alatau mountain ridge form the eastern frontier of the region. Ketmen and Zaili Alatau mountain ranges edge Semirechye from the South.

Till recent time, the area of Semirechye has represented the white sport in archaeology of Palaeolithic period of Kazakhstan that firstly, is connected with palaeographic conditions, existing in territory of the region. From open site it is possible to mark out the surface finds (in total 187 exhibits) of Ak-Togay deposit 1-4 in the valley of the Charyn River. It should be noted that from the beginning of 1990-s, the information has come from local specialists of local history and archaeologists about presence of monuments with buried cultural remains in region of Fabrichniy village (Kargaly). In summer of 2004, prospecting of locality was carried out and decision on starting of stationary studying of the monument was adopted.

Maybulak site is located in the territory of Almaty province (Jambul Region) in 44 kilometers distance to the western part from Almaty and 1,5-2 kilometers to the south-west part from Fabrichniy village (Kargaly) on “bottom level” of the northern slope of Zaili Alatau mountain range (Figure 1). Monument is located on loessial outlier (the absolute height is 1040 meters above the sea level) on the right bank of the submontane Maybulak River, in the place, where it flows out from the gorge of the same name. Site is located in zone of active site development. If earlier, till discovery here of the site, loam of outlier has been chosen for building needs by local population, to the present time, after carrying out here archaeological excavations during three years (2004-2007), Maybulak monument practically was completely levelled by building machinery. Cultural remains of the site have been preserved, perhaps, only in the lowest sediments of outlier.

Till the time of starting of archaeological works in site, the geomorphologic and stratigraphic situation of the region had the following characteristics.

Only the eastern slope, the length of which to the direction of north-south was 150 meters, has kept outlier. The height of outlier above the adjusting locality reached 4-4,5 meters.

Pit was put in the central part of the outlier. Within three years of research, the area of works covered 128 square kilometers. The maximal depth of trench at the eastern wall of excavation was 9 meters. Stratigraphy of the cut of the eastern wall includes:

• 0,25 m - sod stratum;

• 0,25-1,6 m - humus loam with mole cast and single stone detritus;

• 1,6-2,5 m-pale - yellow loam of porous, fissured texture;

• 2,5-8,0 m-pale - yellow loam, in some places of dense composition, including carbonate salts.

The upper part of the western side of outlier was demolished by construction works, stratigraphy of the lower bundles of sediments along the western wall has the following characteristics:

• 3,5-4,5 m - contemporary redeposited layers (sand with admixture of pebbles, humus loamy deposits, detritus, ceramics and human beings’ bones from ruined burial places of the Early Iron Age are met);

• 4,5-8,1 m - pale yellow loam with carbonate inclusions, contains cultural remains;

• 8,1 -9,0 m - pale yellow loam, gradually transferring into clay sand with admixture of small gravelled pebbles.

Visual study of stratigraphic cuts of the deposit did not make it possible on the initial stage to mark out in composition of pale yellow loam, containing undisturbed cultural strata, more fractional lithological units. Layering of loams, on which the Maybulak site is located, was not noted. Monument is situated on outlier, geomorphologically corresponding to the Maybulak River’s first terrace above the flood plain, belonged for Zailiysk Alatau to the Late Pleistocene period. Processes of double nature, perhaps, took part in formation of outlier. The lower part (pale-yellow loam with admixture of pebbles and covering it loam, does not containing the stone elements is connected mostly with dealluvial deposits. Overlying loam includes cultural remains in undisturbed shape (in situ), which were covered by Aeolian sediment load.

In the result of researches, three cultural horizons were pointed out.

THE FIRST HORIZON

In spite of the fact, that the first single finds of stone artefacts are fixed in humus loam, the relative concentration of goods was traced in depth of 0,7-2,1 meters in the range of which the cultural horizon is pointed out. Apparently, cultural strata of horizon were destroyed in the Bronze Age and more later. The fragments of inexpressive ceramics of the Bronze period and early Iron Age with geometrically and vegetation ornaments, found here, proves it. Besides, in squares B1, D1, E1, and ZH1 the remains of stone laying outs of burials of the Bronze epoch and Iron Age are met. The character of bedding of artefacts as well as periodically met the accumulation of coals from bonfire sites tells about long-term settlement of habitants of this cultural horizon.

In total, the collection of the first cultural horizon amounts 77 exemplars. Raw stuff for production of artefacts has mainly local origin and does not differ by good quality. They are porphyries of dark-brown, black, grey, green or red colour from the Maybulak Riverbed, as well as green, red and black siliceous rock of perfect quality, which is better yielded to treatment and evidently was delivered to the site from other places.

Pre queen cell sub prismatic, two prismatic queen cells for microplates, gallets, plates, queen cell-like chips, small microplates are among the collection of the horizon. The group of plates is not expressive. Tools’ collection includes knife, end scraper of side-cut, scraper of high form and fragment of end scraper. In the bounds of horizon, the coals from bonfire sites were found. Collection of this horizon is typologically characterized by Holocene Period.

THE SECOND HORIZON

The present horizon is rich in finds and presents the great interest for research. In fact, this horizon includes powerful cultural sediments and without overstatement it is culture, containing layer of the Palaeolithic epoch. The depth of its bedding is 3,5-4,8 meters.

Peculiarities of bedding of the stone stock of the 2nd cultural horizons confidently show that articles are in undisturbed condition and bed in situ. Relatively big accumulation of the worked stones, which are the working grounds of ancient human being, testify it. Working grounds are fixed on different depth in the range of cultural horizon in squares D-1, D-2, V-3, V-4, B-4 (4, 0-4,1 m), A-2 (4,15 m), B-2, G-2 (4,0-4,2 m), A-11-12 (photo 8), 3-9, 3-1, E-10 (depth 4,2-4,8 m) and so on. In square B-2 (depth 4,0-4,1 m) (artefacts) with working ground contain big Levalloisian double-area monofrontal queen cell and number of apostates. Laboratory tests made it possible to carry out the partly remounting of core on the basis of existent articles.

The existence of hearth and hearth spots is also the most notable that by itself is characterized as rare phenomenon for the Stone Age of the arid zone of the Central Asia. Heath is fixed in square A-1 in depth of 3,5-3,7 m. and presents laid in shape of circle pebble and stone flag. Size of stones is 0,08-0,32 m (in all 14 exemplars). Stones have fragile, cracking during the impact texture, which is the result of long thermal effect. Stone laying is located in the centre of burning (ignition) of the brown-ish-bricky colour with 0,9 meter diameter. Besides, 10 hearth sports relating not large sizes have been discovered in horizon. In square V-2, in depth of 3,8-3,9 m., the subright-angled shape burning (0,5x0,3 m)of red-black colour has been fixed.

Collection of the second horizon amounts 930 specimens. Levalloisian (6 specimens), prismatic (9 specimens), multi-area (2 specimens), butt-end atypical (3 specimens), gallet (358 specimens), plates (52 specimens), plate splint (46 specimens), microplates and their fragments (13 specimens) are presented in collection of horizon. Numerous scrapers (25 pieces, end, side, round, high-shaped), scraping knives (mainly, cross-shaped ones), dentate, emarginated tools, shaped spearhead of levallois spearhead, piercing, rods, chisel-shaped implements, plates and gallets with retouch, hammer-stones are distinguished among tools. Absence of typical cutters is characteristically. Highlighting here of the marked collection of high-form scrapers is the important peculiarity of the second cultural horizon, forming the complete technical-typological look of the whole industry of site. In all, 8 pieces of suchlike goods were revealed here.

THE THIRD CULTURAL HORIZON

The depth of horizon bedding is 5,2-6,6 m. The distinct borderline between II and III cultural horizons were not revealed. The conditional sterile interlayer, marked in depth of 4,8-5,2 m. in lithologic aspect presents the identical upper and lower lying loams. But, the compact accumulation of stone artefacts and remains of Palaeolithic layer (burnt parts, hearths) are absent here. The distinctive peculiarity of the horizon is discovered big bonfire sites. In squares B-Dz-6-9, in depth of 5,4-5,5 meters 3,8x2,9 size bonfire site was discovered. Bonfire site has drawn to the north-south shape and its frontiers are defined thank to red-black burnt parts, presence of carbons and small (d = 0,01-0,03 centimetres) heavily burnt bonelets. The central part of bonfire site was situated in square D-E-8-9, where the great number of carbons was concentrated. Stone artefacts (wastes of production) are met in the range of bonfire site, stone laying from 6 unwrought porphyrit stones and two exemplars of coarse pebbles with traces of chips. Large by size but less intensive bonfire site was discovered in squares V-E-11-14 in depth of 5,4-5,5 meters. Sizes of bonfire site is 3,3x3,1 meter, it is also slightly drawn to the north-south direction. The visible concentration of calcined parts was noticed in depth of 5,8-5,9 meters in the western part and in depth of 6,0-6,5 in the eastern bounds of excavation. Stone artefacts of horizon are met in rarefied shape all over the excavation, but more often, in form of clusters. These clusters are nothing short of working grounds of ancient masters on treating stones, more often there is one of several queen cells, wastes of production in the shape of chips, fragments, scantlings, the rare-plates, sometimes weapons are discovered.

Thus, the total collection of the third horizon amounts 1029 exemplars Levallois (7 specimens), prismatic (3 specimens), multi-area and complex (4 specimens), butt-end atypical (13 specimens), queen cells, gallet (471 specimens), plates (68 specimens), plate splinters (22 specimens), microplates and their fragments (84 specimens) are among artefacts of the third horizon. Collection of instruments includes scraping knives (3 pieces), knives (2 exemplars), pebble and bifacial tools, scrapers (13 exemplars, end and highshaped), gallets, plates, chips, and fragments with retouch are among artefacts of the third horizon. The characteristic feature of the third horizon is distinctly distinguished here the microplate complex, which includes numerous butt-end, microprismatic queen cells, as well as microplates and tools from them.

Raw material is analogous to that what is happened from overlying horizons.

TECHNO-TYPOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTIC OF INDUSTRY OF MAYBULAK SITE

It can be drawn number of conclusions on the basis of studying of materials of Maybulak Site in 2004-2007 years, characterizing the primary and secondary treatment of industry of the location.

The great number of primary chips, gallets, plates, queen cells, finds of impingement plates and anvils tells that the primary and secondary splitting and production of tools were carrying out on area of the site. Abundance of porphyrit raw stuff in bed of Maybulak River, as well as its low technical properties shows how carelessly and uneconomically it was applied. Overwhelming prevalence of technical wastes of production from porphyrit (chips, fragments, pieces, splinters and so on) make it possible to judge about it. At the same time, the more striking specimens of stone tools (12%) are made of non-local raw materials. They are silicificated porphyrit of black colour, greenish, black and red siliceous rocks, which are better and easier, cracked for getting half-finished materials of required size and shape. Prevailing physical properties of siliceous racks were shown directly in work on carrying out different operations: retouching by flat, semi-sharp and sharp under working form the blade of required size, edge angle, facet width and so on. Besides, porphyrit working land is substantially crumbled by impacting on it. With it, collection from these two main types of raw stuff presents that single complexes of cultural deposits of site. Consequently, to study collection of Maybulak and similar materials from other monuments is necessary as comprehensive whole and taking into consideration the physical properties of raw stuff.

There were special working grounds in Maybulak Site. Accumulation of pebbles, nodules, tablets of different sizes and beddings of stone artefacts in situ in some squares. Thickness of cultural deposits of all three horizons shows that site was inhabited during long period. Unfortunately, in the course of works it was not success to discover other kinds of cultural remains in the form of dwellings, dust holes, accumulation of bones and son on, so peculiar for other Palaeolithic monuments of this circle. All above men¬tioned make us confident that the present settlement was the permanent site-workshop.

Thus, the technical characteristics of industry of Maybulak Site have the following peculiarities. In primary splitting the Levalloisian technology of treatment of core got the particular development. The group of levallauz queen cells; defined by similar strategy of getting half-finished materials, shape as well as thorough under working of cores and percussive grounds (in total 16 exemplars). Two queen cells of levallua characterize transference to protoprismatic shearing. Disc shaped core with radical principle of splitting are presented in collection to a little degree. It is 1 exemplar of micro queen cell, reminding transitional form from disc-shaped core to scraper of high form. Prismatic equipment takes significant place in industry (19 exemplars of queen cells and 5 exemplars of pre-queen cells). Queen cells of this group are characterized by various subtypes: macro queen cells for large plates, small prismatic ones for plates of medium size, prismatic queen cells for micro-plates. Notable peculiarity is the existence of micro plate complex (14 exemplars butt-end queen cells, 2 exemplars of queen cell scrapers, micro-plates, and micro-piercing) in composition of the third horizon. Micro-plate splitting of industry in site is appeared before us in enough developed form and is the first the most ancient evidence of new kinds of stone treatment in Late Palaeolithic age of Kazakhstan. It clashes with fact that article, made in this progressive technology, is deposited directly under more archaic by typology, but chronologically younger finds of the second horizon.

Reviewing wastes of primary splitting it is important to stress out that the major part of chip is presented by gallets, technical chips, fragments, debris, and so on. There are several exemplars of plates and levallois spearhead. Technological methods connected with getting of right prismatic plates with symmetric side faces did not get wide development in technology of splitting. Set of few in total, but typologically uniform specimens of symmetrically right triangular plates with size from 8 to 3-4 centimeters, though there is practically no queen cells from which suchlike work materials can be pinned together. The major part of suchlike plates are broken, few specimens have signs of repeated treatment.

There are few ancient Palaeolithic types of articles in collection of tools. Existing exemplars are typologically belong to the Mustier Epoch, but do not form distinct series, and undoubtedly, the part of presented collection, chronologically do not go out from bot¬tom level of Upper Palaeolithic Period. Single scraping knives on gallets and plate-type splinters, knives, dentate-cut, bifacial and pebble implements. Cut tools, tips are manufactured from prismatic plates. The most diversified group from morphological viewpoint is scrapers of high form (in all 12 specimens), particularly for the second cultural horizon (8 exemplars). The rest subtypes include end scrapers-on plates and gallets, with retouching along perimeter, with half-round blade, with double blades, multi-blade ones. Cutters are not numerous (side cutter) in industry of Maybulak, which is characteristic to other Palaeolithic monuments of the Central Asia. Bifacial treatment of stone articles did not get wide spread among inhabitants of the site. Thus, the following features are distinguished in technology of primary and secondary working indus¬try of Maybulak Site:

1. Development of Levalloisian technology of stone, queen cell treatment, mainly, under-quadrangle and round shape for getting gallets (raw stuff base is porphyrits from the Maybulak River bed.

2. Prismatic technology for getting 4-10 centimetre right plates did not get proper development in industry of site.

3. Fact of origin and development in Late Palaeolithic epoch of micro-plate splitting on basis of butt end chipping and production from microplates of tools was fixed on area of Kazakhstan for the first time. The similar technology is wide¬ly presented in several sites of Siberia, mainly dated to the second half of the Late Palaeolithic Era.

4. Before-high-Palaeolithic forms of implements (scraping knives, dentate, cut, pebble and bifacial tools) and typically high- Palaeolithic articles (scrapers, piercing, rods, micropiercing, cutter, and plates with retouching), that is generally characterized for Siberian-Chinese zone of the Late Palec Era.

5. Scraping knives: end on gallets and plates, double-end, with retouching along perimeter, multi-blade are the most typically manifold group of tools. Displaying here, particularly, in the second cultural horizon, collection of scraping knives of high form, are important technical-typological characteristics of Maybulak’s industry. In total, the image of stock of this horizon displays significant “Aurignacian” signs.

Thus, for the time being, the Maybulak site is the single investigated studied stratified monument of the Palaeolithic epoch on vast area of the South-East Kazakhstan. Besides, monument demonstrates that multilayer cultural deposits (with capacity above 3 meters) are included in loessial strata of outlier and bedded in undisturbed condition (in situ), i.e. in that shape they were left by primitive man. According to tentative dating, based on technical-typological and comparative methods, monument belongs to Late Paleolithic epoch, most probably, to its middle period. It should be noted that definite parallels to inventory of Maybulak are observed in Late Paleolithic sites of the central Asia (Samarkand, Shugnou), Siberia (Shestakovo, Afontovo), and Gorny Altai (Anuy-1-3, Tyumechin-4, Ust-Karakol-1-2).

The number of radiocarbon dating was got on the basis of testing, taken from site for the first time for Paleolithic of Kazakhstan.

The earliest date, got according to carbons of the third horizon (5, 8 meters), equals to 34970+/-665 years ago. Tests, selected in the second horizon from depths of 4,8 m., 4,4 m., and 3,8 m. have corresponding dates 30062+/-415 years ago, 29116+/-329 years ago and 27880+/-280 years ago. And dating in 24330+/-190 years ago was got for the first horizon. In whole, the received absolute dates confirmed conclusions about periodical habitation here of primitive people and development of the Late Paleolithic industry of Maybulak. Radiocarbon dating confirm the technical-typological characteristic of stock of the site and corroborate the relative dating, got by comparative-historical method by correlation with materials of sites of adjacent areas.

The main directions, requiring additional study on Maybulak site, are elabora¬tion of geomorphology of site’s region, stratigraphy, and palynological data. But, taking into consideration the recent building works, the major part of site turned out to be destroyed and in the nearest future will be developed. It should be said that bottom cultural layers of the monument will be remained, perhaps, undisturbed. Though, Maybulak has already entered into the history of the Paleolithic epoch of Kazakhstan as one of the most interesting and perspective monuments for disclosure of many issues of the Stone Age of the Central Asia.