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Earth-dwellings and occupation floor structures in the context of Kostenki-Avdeevo culture.
Sergey Lev  1@  
1 : Institute of Archaeology RAS  (IA RAS)  -  Site web
Stone Age Department, Institute of Archaeology RAS, St. Dm. Ulianov, 19, Moscow, 117036, Russia -  Russie

The typical site of Kostenki-Avdeevo culture looks like an oval-shaped area with a central row of hearths and large number of different features, including storage pits, cash-pits, etc. But the simultaneous (or not) functioning of different features need to be proved in each case. An average area of such a camp is about 800 sq. m, number of hearths varies from five to eight. Large elongated pits (about ten per site) classified as an “earth-dwelling” (poluzemlyanka), are interpreted as small semi-subterranean dwellings. They surround this area characterized by the increase of cultural deposits thickness in its central part. Their entrances are oriented towards the line of hearths, they have their own living floors clearly marked with ocher spot at the bottom. Beyond the rear part of earth-dwellings the intensity of cultural deposits visibly decreases (from 40 cm near the central hearths up to 5-1 cm). Such sites as Kostenki 1, layer 1 and Avdeevo contain two complexes of this type each. They were excavated for a long time period starting from 1930-th by different researches with diverse methodological approaches.

The original approach of Zaraysk site researches was to detect occupation levels on the multilayer site Zaraysk A. The idea was to identify the real level of inhabitation for each cultural layer. Absence of sterile interlayers made this task a bit complicated. Though a number of methods were used, including stratigraphic and spatial analysis, geomorphological and pollen analysis, AMS, C14 dating and cryo-stratigraphic method (based on interstratification of frost-wedge formations and artificial profound features). The frost formations contain features (“cryo-stratigraphic markers”) that permit assignment of the cultural remains to specific occupation episodes. The vertical distribution of cultural remains at Zaraysk A was subdivided into several levels representing separate occupation episodes or, in other words, stratified living floors. Two of them were identified as typical Kostenki-Avdeevo living structure. Excavations of 2016-2017 added two new sites (Zaraysk E, F) of the same type that gives a wide perspective for future investigations with applying of modern methodological approaches.

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