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Stratum Plus. 2003-2004. №1

V. V. Popov (Voronezh, Russia)

Bones of Mammoth in Construction of Dwellings of Anosovka-Mezin Type on the Station Kostenki 11 (Anosovka 2)

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Pages: 157-186

Dwellings of Anosovka-Mezin type are studied on a number of stations in Kostenki-Borshchevski area and the Dnieper region. This type of dwelling was first distinguished by A.N. Rogachev, who defined it as a round surface dwelling made of bones and earth, with 2-4 pantry pits around it. Over twenty such constructions are known today. Meanwhile, so far, a complete description of the eponymic Anosovka dwelling has been overlooked in research, while the issue of mammoth bones used in its construction is still subject of debate. This gap is bridged by geomorphological and stratigraphic representation of the station Kostenki 11, description of the remains of the first and second dwelling complexes and a detailed analysis of the role of mammoth bones as a constructive element in the Upper Palaeolithic. All this, together with the use of ethnographic records, enables the following reconstruction. A round foundation of the dwelling, about 7 m in diameter, 0.3-0.5 m deep in the earth, surrounded by an earth wall of 0.7 m high. In mounting this wall, in order to fortify it, the builders laid mammoth bones in sections, adding thereto ashes and osseous coal. The foundation of each such section was a pair of mammoth skulls, fortified by shoulders, pelvis bones and lower jaws. Vertically fixed cylindrical bones served as poles and were connected between themselves by horizontally placed cylindrical bones. The floor dug in ancient surface and the earth mound made a wall about 1 m high; wooden poles of the cone-shaped carcass either rested upon the wall or were mounted into it.


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