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Hunter-Gatherer Pottery and Charred Residue Dating: New Results on Early Ceramics in the North Eurasian Forest Zone

Sönke Hartz, Elena Kostyleva, Henny Piezonka, Thomas Terberger, Natalya Tsydenova, Mikhail G Zhilin


This article discusses 18 accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates from the peat bog sites Sakhtysh 2a, Ozerki 5, and Ozerki 17 in the Upper Volga region. The aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the emergence and dispersal of early ceramic traditions in northern Eurasia and their connection to the Baltic. With 1 exception, all dates were obtained from charred residue adhering to the sherd. A possible reservoir effect was tested on 1 piece of pottery from Sakhtysh 2a by taking 1 sample from charred residue, and another sample from plant fiber remains. Although a reservoir effect was able to be ruled out in this particular case, 4 other dates from Sakhtysh 2a and Ozerki 5 seem too old on typological grounds and might have been affected by freshwater reservoir effects. Considering all other reliable dates, the Early Neolithic Upper Volga culture, and with it the adoption of ceramics, in the forest zone of European Russia started around 6000 cal BC.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.v54i3–4.16162

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