IRP NORth (2020-2023)

The Eastern European model of Neolithization contrasts with that of the West, in terms of modes and chronology. In the central Russian plain, the beginning of the Neolithic is dated between the second half of the 7th and 6th millennia BC, depending on the region considered, and is defined by the emergence of sedentarism and the appearance of ceramic technology. Despite occasional contacts with mixed farming groups, local populations maintained a lifestyle based on hunting, fishing and gathering. It was not until several millennia later that a real production economy was adopted and became widespread in the area (3rd and 2nd millennia BC). Based on the duration and the breakdown of events recorded in the Russian plain, we can follow the history of communities in the process of Neolithization in a very original way.

Coordinators: Yolaine Maigrot (UMR 8215 Trajectoires, CNRS-Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Andrey N. Mazurkevich (Department of East European and Siberian Archaeology, Hermitage Museum)

Partners and participants:

In France : UMR 8215 Trajectoires (Yolaine Maigrot, Laurence Manolakakis, Laurent Aubry, Louise Gomart, François Giligny, Charlotte Leduc and Maxime Danger), UMR 7264 CEPAM (Sylvie Beyries et Martine Regert), UMR 7209 Archéozoologie et archéobotanique – sociétés, pratiques, environnements (Aurélie Salavert et Marie Balasse), UMR 6566 CREAAH (Vincent Bernard), UMR 6249 Chrono-environnement (Emilie Gauthier et Céline Maicher).

In Russia: Hermitage Museum Department of East European and Siberian Archaeology (Andrey Mazurkevich, Ekaterina Dolbunova and Maria Polkonikova), Russian Academy of Sciences Laboratory of Theology of the Zoological Institute (Mikhail Sablin), Russian Academy of Sciences – Laboratory of Experimental Traceology of the Institute of History of Material Culture (Evgeny Gyria, Olga Lozovskaya and Anna Malyutina), Russian Academy of Sciences – Moscow Department of Archaeology (Nikolai Krenke), Herzen University – Department of Physical Geography and Environment (Dmitry Subetto, Yuri Kublitcki, Marina Kulkova).

The Eastern European model of Neolithization contrasts with that of the West, in terms of modes and chronology. In the central Russian plain, the beginning of the Neolithic is dated between the second half of the 7th and 6th millennia BC, depending on the region considered, and is defined by the emergence of sedentarism and the appearance of ceramic technology. Despite occasional contacts with mixed farming groups, local populations maintained a lifestyle based on hunting, fishing and gathering. It was not until several millennia later that a real production economy was adopted and became widespread in the area (3rd and 2nd millennia BC). Based on the duration and the breakdown of events recorded in the Russian plain, we can follow the history of communities in the process of Neolithization in a very original way.

In Russia, sedentarism with no farming or livestock breeding can generally be explained by environmental factors. Indeed, the natural resources available in these forested areas were sufficiently abundant to meet the needs of local communities. The paleo-environmental frameworks of these regions have been partially documented, but a great deal of work remains to be conducted on material culture, in order to shed light on the technical, economic and social characteristics of these populations. This theme is the main focus of this IRP.

– on the one hand, to point out the economic and social changes brought about by the adoption of pottery and sedentarism,

– on the other hand, to evaluate the consequences of the transition from a predatory economy to a productive economy on the organisation of populations.

This project focuses on a systemic investigation of the components of material culture in their environmental context. It is carried out in an interdisciplinary perspective and integrates both paleo-environmental approaches, which highlight the available natural resources, and in particular, those used by humans, and approaches targeting production, which focus on how those resources were used.

The IRP is organised into work groups defined by major categories of materials (plant resources, animal resources, lithic tools, pottery productions, etc.) which, at a second level of analysis, interactively supply data for three comprehensive workshops:

1. Workshop 1 “Exploited resources”: defining the evolution of methods of acquiring plant, mineral and animal resources.

2 . 2. Workshop 2 “Transformation and consumption”: to analyse the changes observed in the cultural traditions of material production and in eating habits.

3. Workshop 3 “Territoriality”: to define territorial models and their variability, in terms of the establishment of settlements, the appropriation and exploitation of environments or their involvement in more or less long-distance exchange networks.

See also in «Current projects»

Chalcolithic lithic industries of Sultana My research focuses on the lithic industries of the Chalcolithic sites of Sultana, thanks to new excavations led by C. Lăzăr, and includes training a Romanian student in lithic technology. Autour du grand tell daté du Gumelnița et fouillé en 1924 (Andrieșescu 1924), se trouvent des sites plats et des cimetières couvrant l’ensemble du Chalcolithique : Boian pour l’étape ancienne et Gumelnița pour l’étape récente. Les sites sont installés dans la grande plaine loessique roumaine, sur la rive droite du Moștistea, affluent du Danube, et aujourd’hui au bord du lac artificiel de Moștistea. Contribution to the monograph on the Varna Necropolis Three bilingual (German, English) volumes dedicated to the necropolis of Varna, Das Varna Gräberfeld, will be published by Philipp von Zabern, in the DAI Eurasian Series, edited by V. Slavčev. I am in charge of the lithics, which I comprehensively reviewed after the recent revision of the funerary inventories. The multidisciplinary approach will combine technological and typological data, in connection with raw material supplies and types of production, as well as the functional analysis carried out by M. Gurova. L. Manolakakis in V. Slavčev, Dir. (2020, à paraître) MEAE Archaeological Mission: 2NOR (2018-2021) The archaeological mission 2NOR Neolithization of Northwest Russia, supported by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, is a Franco-Russian collaboration between the CNRS (coordinator Y. Maigrot) and the Hermitage Museum (coordinator A. Mazurkevich).