Variable behavioral and settlement contexts for the emergence of ceramic vessels in eastern Siberia

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Anthropology and Museum Studies

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The early, ephemeral adoption of pottery arose under different circumstances in both the Transbaikal and Russian Far East regions, however in both instances it was likely used to intensify extraction of more nutrients from resources already heavily in diets focused almost exclusively on riverine environments. In the Transbaikal, earliest ceramic use is correlated to an increase in residential mobility with no other technological or subsistence change. Ceramic vessels may have allowed more extensive processing of these food sources, including small mammals and fish, already in the foraging diet. In the Russian Far East, however, earliest ceramic use is correlated to higher rates of sedentism and ground stone technology, with intensification of land mammals in the Middle Amur Basin, and fish and C3 plant extraction in the Lower Amur Basin. Furthermore, it is clear that early on ceramics were incorporated ephemerally into behavioral systems throughout a relatively long period of time, thus the use of terminology such as “Final Late Paleolithic” and “Initial Neolithic” may only be descriptors of whether individual sites contain pottery, not a meaningful description of “cultures” or “time periods”. Thus, during the late Pleistocene, pottery may have been incorporated by hunter-gatherer-fishers into one behavioral system that initially comprised locations with and without ceramic use depending on the specific behavioral and environmental circumstances of the given region.


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Quaternary International


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