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Stratum plus. 2010. №2

D. L. Gaskevych (Kiev, Ukraine)

North-Pontic Impresso: Origin of the Neolithic Pottery with Comb Decoration in the South of Eastern Europe




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Pages: 213-252


Archaeologists so far have connected appearance of ware with pointed and rounded bottoms and comb decoration on the northern part of the Black Sea area with spread of inhabitants of northern and northeast regions to the south. Large series of absolute dates of Neolithic sites of Eastern Europe have been received in the Kiev radiocarbon laboratory recently. They have shown that such pottery appeared in the northern part of the Black Sea area earlier than on the Upper Dnieper region, the Volga river region, the Kama river basin and the Trans-Ural area. These data suggest incorrectness of existing hypotheses. Alternatively to these, the author proposes to regard North-Pontic Neolithic with comb decorated pottery as a part of the area of Mediterranean Neolithic cultures with Impresso ware. The possible Mediterranean prototype of the North-Pontic pottery with comb decoration could be ware of the North Africa Neolithic known as the «Saharan Sudanese Complex» or the «Khartoum Mesolithic». Formed in 9—8 thousand сal BC, in the middle 7 thousand сal BC it could diffuse to the Near East, and further — to the Northern Black Sea coast. Radiocarbon dates show high speed of this process. It corresponds to concept of «leapfrog colonization» founded on a coasting (model of «maritime pioneers» by J. Zilhᾶo). Occurrence of the Neolithic pottery in the region only aſt er formation of the Bosporus Strait which has united the Black Sea with the Mediterranean supports possible maritime colonization of the Northern coast of the Black Sea too. Sites left by the Mediterranean migrants with full «Neolithic package» have not been found in the northern part of the Black Sea area so far. It can result from their position on nowadays flooded fertile lowlands along the coast of the sea, the level of which rose more than 10 m over the last 8.5 thousand years. On the other hand, one fragment of the vessel with Cardium decoration was found on the Savran’ site of the Bug-Dniester culture. It suggests settlement here of some Mediterranean makers of Cardium ware in the northern part of the Black Sea area, or of their contacts with local population. Availability of ware with comb and linear decoration, all attributes of which are met in ceramics of Impresso-ware zone, and also specific «Neolithic» flint implements, bones of domestic animals, polished stone artifacts, found on Neolithic settlements of the North-Pontic area, also can be evidence of contacts of the local population with Mediterranean migrants who lived on the Black Sea coast.


Keywords: Neolithic, North-Pontic area, Mediterranean area, comb decoration, Impresso ware, Cardium ware, maritime colonization


Information about author

Dmitry Gaskevych (Kiev, Ukraine). Candidate of historical sciences. Archaeology Institute of Ukraine National Academy of Sciences.
E-mail: [email protected]

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