News

BAP Sighting

May 17, 2011

BAP was recently profiled in Bryan Hanks' article, Archaeology of the Eurasian Steppes and Mongolia, in the October 2010 issue of Annual Review of Anthropology.

Here is an exerpt of the relevant section:

Mesolithic to Early Neolithic Hunter-Forager Societies (10,000 to 6,000 b.c.)

The relationship of early Holocene hunter-forager groups in Europe to the appearance and diffusion of early Neolithic technologies such as pottery production and domesticated plants and animals has been a strong focus of research within European prehistory (Cavalli-Sforza 1996, Harris 1996, Price 2000). However, such developments within the larger northern Eurasian and Eurasian steppe zones were little known to foreign scholarship during the Soviet Period. A large international project in Lake Baikal, the Baikal Archaeology Project (BAP), has recently added significantly to understandings of regional change in the southern Siberian region of Russia.

The BAP project, which is a multi-institution, multidisciplinary research program, has generated substantial data and numerous publications on the development of early Holocene communities and the nature of economic and social change that occurred during this period (see Weber et al. 2010, 2007; links to the project's Web site may be found on the University of Alberta Department of Anthropology's Web site). Research has focused intently on the excellent preserved habitation sites and large cemeteries, including the well-known Lokomotiv cemetery, which was first discovered in 1897 and subsequently excavated during the Soviet Period. This cemetery is considered to be the largest Neolithic cemetery in northern Asia and has produced well-preserved human remains with a variety of grave goods including fishing and hunting tools, other domestic artifacts, and personal adornments (Mooder et al. 2005). A major component of BAP research has focused on the detailed physical and chemical analysis of human remains from Lokomotiv and other cemeteries, including genetics, associated grave goods, and chronological phasing of burials. The picture that has emerged from this research suggests that two main groups of hunter-gatherers occupied this region of Lake Baikal: first, the Early and Late Kitoi phases from the Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic (6,800-4,900 cal. b.c.), and second, the Serovo and Glazkovo phases from the Middle-Late Neolithic and later Bronze Age (4,200 to 1,000 cal b.c.). A period from which no graves have been recovered occurred between 4,900 to 4,200 cal. b.c. (Weber et al. 2002, 2005) and represents an important temporal lacuna of cemetery use that is likely connected with a transition in social organization and ritual activity. Results from the BAP project continue to uncover important trajectories of hunter-gatherer adaptations in the region including the role that social identity, status, and kinship played in the emergence of social complexity.

In addition to the highly successful fieldwork and publications stemming from the project, numerous undergraduate and graduate students from North America and Russia have taken part in the project, and they have subsequently produced several theses and dissertations. The BAP stands as one of the most successful initiatives of its kind operating in the northern Eurasian region and illustrates the effective role that multidisciplinary research can play in the study of hunter-gatherer social complexity and the complex array of adaptive strategies that were connected to changing social and environmental landscapes during the Holocene.

 

News Archive


2017

2016

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

September

October

November

December

2015

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

2014

January

February

March

April

May

July

August

September

October

November

December

2013

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

October

November

December

2012

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

October

November

December

2011

Bakail Hokkaido archaeology project