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Radiocarbon-based chronology of the Paleolithic in Siberia and its relevance to the peopling of the New World.

Sergey A Vasil'ev, Yaroslav V Kuzmin, Lyubov A Orlova, Vyacheslav N Dementiev

Abstract


The territory of Siberia is of crucial importance for the study of early human dispersal and the peopling of the New World. A Siberian Paleolithic Radiocarbon Database has been compiled. The Database allows us to compile a chronological framework for human colonization of Northern Asia. There are 446 (super 14) C dates for 13 Middle and 111 Upper Paleolithic sites older than around 12,000 BP. Seventeen percent of the dates were obtained by the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) technique, and the remaining 83% are conventional. From the viewpoint of the spatial distribution of the (super 14) C-dated sites, the majority of these are located at the Yenisey River Basin, Transbaikal, and the Altai Mountains. The general outline of the Upper Paleolithic colonization of Siberia is given here. The earliest traces of modern human occupation are dated to around 43,000-39,000 BP in the southern part of Siberia. It seems that by around 13,000 BP, almost all of northern Asia, including the extreme northeastern Siberia had been colonized by modern humans. We discuss some controversial problems that have provoked heated debates in current Russian archaeology. Notable among these are the surprisingly early AMS dates for the Early Upper Paleolithic, the age of the Dyuktai culture of Yakutia, the problem of human presence in Siberia at the time of the Last Glacial Maximum (20,000-18,000 BP), and the timing of the initial settling of the Chukchi Peninsula and northeastern Siberia.

Keywords


Beringia;Yenisei River;Altai Mountains;Lake Baikal;Stone Age;Paleolithic;migration;glacial environment;artifacts;paleoenvironment;archaeology;microfossils;miospores;palynomorphs;pollen;paleoclimatology;Pleistocene;Russian Federation;Siberia;upper Pleistocene;Commonwealth of Independent States;bones;Asia;Cenozoic;Quaternary;C 14;carbon;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;absolute age

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