January 16, 2016

Humans in the central Siberian Arctic ~45,000 years ago

The lack of such northerly sites prior to 45,000 years ago makes it quite likely that this mammoth kill was made by modern humans (it would be quite a coincidence if it was made by Neandertals at the same time as the expansionary Homo sapiens make their appearance all over the rest of Eurasia). If this is right, it's quite remarkable that by the mid to late 40,000s, modern humans were at ease from the equator to the arctic and from Europe to the remotest parts of Asia.

Science 15 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6270, pp. 260-263

Early human presence in the Arctic: Evidence from 45,000-year-old mammoth remains

Vladimir V. Pitulko, Alexei N. Tikhonov et al.

Archaeological evidence for human dispersal through northern Eurasia before 40,000 years ago is rare. In west Siberia, the northernmost find of that age is located at 57°N. Elsewhere, the earliest presence of humans in the Arctic is commonly thought to be circa 35,000 to 30,000 years before the present. A mammoth kill site in the central Siberian Arctic, dated to 45,000 years before the present, expands the populated area to almost 72°N. The advancement of mammoth hunting probably allowed people to survive and spread widely across northernmost Arctic Siberia.



batman said...
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batman said...

Already a decade ago we had several, well-documented discoveries of 25.000 to 45.000 years old sites - from England to Fenno-Scandia and northern Russia - proved that we had a continous populations within the Eurasian arctic from a minimum of 20.000 years.

Today most people know about Bilzingleben, Dolni Velistoce, Sunghir, Kostenki, Mal'ta, Kapova, Denisova and Ust-Ishim. What many seems to have missed is the northern row of discoveries from late Paleolithic - like Orsa in Sweden, the Wolf Cave in Finland and Onega in Carelia - as well as Byzova (71 N*) and Mamontaya Kurja at the NW Russian shores of the Arctic Ocean.



Alvah said...

Just the path Amerindians would have taken if they, after exiting the Americas (OoAm), were looking for another door back into the Americas. They, the newly arriving and first “Old” World Homo sapiens sapiens/Amerindians, were exploring, for the first time, a new (Old) World in more directions than just across the Arctic; as they apparently hurried into Australia as some early dates suggest. These early dates from the Arctic point to the colonization of Eurasia from the northern and eastern extremes by way of the Bering Sea and/or Land Bridge out the backdoor from the Americas.

Were the spear points made of bone or ivory? The American pre-Clovis scene suggests “bone before stone” and hints these arctic hunters came from the Americas. Might we also reference the relevance of Richard E. Morlan’s finds from the Yukon at an equivalent date?

Morlan, Richard E., 1980. Taphonomy and Archaeology in the Upper Pleistocene of the Northern Yukon Territory: A Glimpse of the Peopling of the New World. National Mus. of Canada, Mercury Series, Arch. Survey of Canada Paper 94.

Morlan, Richard E., 1983. "Pre-Clovis Occupation North of the Ice Sheets" in Early Man in the New World, edited by R. Shutler, Jr., pp. 47-63. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills.

Morlan, Richard E., 1987. The Pleistocene Archaeology of Beringia. In The Evolution of Human Hunting, Edited by M.H. Nitecki And D.V. Nitecki, pp.267-307. Plenum Press, New York.


Bonnichsen, R., Young, D. 1980. Early Technological Repertoires: Bone to Stone. Can J Anthropol 1:123-128.
and also William N. Irving;

Irving, William N. 1987. New Dates from Old Bones: Twisted Fractures in Mammoth Bones and Some Flaked Bone Tools Suggest that Humans Occupied the Yukon More than 40,000 Years Ago. Natural History. 2/87