Acta Anthropologica Sinica

Special Issue: 英文专辑

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Selenga River human dispersal path in Initial Upper Paleolithic


  1. Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science, 17 Academician Lavrentiev avenue 630090 Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
  • Received:2021-05-11 Revised:2021-11-28 Accepted:2021-11-29
  • About author:Evgeny P. Rybin, Ph.D. Senior Researcher, email:
  • Supported by:
    Russian Foundation for Basic Research grant No. 19-59-44010 Mong_t

Abstract: Here, we consider earlier Upper Paleolithic sites in the Selenga River Basin, the main fluvial input of Lake Baikal that flows through northern Mongolia and the southwestern Transbaikal region of Russia. Lithic industries from these sites can be attributed to the laminar Initial Upper Paleolithic (IUP) technocomplex, widespread in southern Siberia and Central Asia. IUP industries appear in the Selenga Basin about 45,000 cal BP. Aspects of regional typological variability and the transport of exotic raw materials over long distances indicate that these populations participated in developed exchange networks and employed high mobility targeting the acquisition of necessary raw materials. Two site types are present: quarry-workshops in northern Mongolia and generalized activity settlements in the southwestern Transbaikal. Although faunal data are limited, we interpret available information as indicating a specialization on hunting, focusing on migrating steppe game species. The distribution of sites in the mid-altitudes and landscapes of the Selenga-Orkhon geographical region and the geomorphological homogeneity of this territory also supported interregional human moves during the IUP. 

Key words: Central Asia, Initial Upper Paleolithic, migration, raw material transport, hunting strategy

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