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Stratum plus. 2022. No1

V. N. Stepanchuk (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Probable Evidence of Magical Practice from Layer I of the Upper Palaeolithic Site of Mira

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Pages: 41-53 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.55086/sp2214153

The Mira site is a stratified Upper Palaeolithic site in the Dnieper valley. The stratigraphic sequence includes three layers with archaeological finds from the period between 31,000 and 28,000 cal BP. The upper layer (layer I) yielded the remains of a seasonal autumn-winter settlement of horse hunters. The composition of flake tools suggests analogies with the Gorodtsovskaya culture of the Middle Don. The presence of bifacial tools and Aurignacian forms points to the Szeletian and, possibly, Micoquian analogies. Remains of a surface frame structure, production areas and hearths were revealed in the layer. The structure of the inhabited space is not complicated by a reorganization of the inhabited area, which allows identifying the specificity of particular features of the layer with greater reliability. The article gives a detailed description of an unusual feature from the upper layer of the Mira settlement. The feature is a pit located within the contour of the dwelling. There are grounds to think that the pit was dug at the beginning of the occupation, and shortly after that backfilled. Charcoal, bone and tooth fragments and a piece of a stone artifact made of an exotic raw material were found at the bottom of the pit. The composition of the finds and the circumstances of their placement suggest that we are dealing here with possible traces of some magical practice, namely the so-called “building offering”.

Keywords: Eastern Europe, Upper Palaeolithic, magical practices, building offerings

Information about author:

Vadim Stepanchuk
(Kyiv, Ukraine). Doctor of Historical Sciences. Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Heroiv Stalingradu Ave., 12, Kyiv, 04210, Ukraine
E-mail: [email protected]

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