A MIS 3 Kill-Butchery Mammoth Site on Buor-Khaya Penninsula, Eastern Laptev Sea, Russian Arctic

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An assemblage of Pleistocene faunal remains was collected by a field party of «Eastern Laptev Sea - Buor Khaya Peninsula» expedition (Strauss et al., 2011) from Orto-Stan River, Buor-Khaya Peninsula. The bones were sampled from a concentration located next to the edge of a thermokast lake (N 71° 36,120' E 132° 15,597'). Two mammoth bones with human impact and a horse bone were dated directly. The site age is estimated at 27,000 – 27,600 14C yrs BP, which corresponds to the end of MIS 3, or slightly older if the horse bone belongs to the same level. These dates indicate that the mammoth remains were accumulating for at least 500 years. Mammoth remains constitute two thirds of the yield. There are at least five mammoth individuals, both adults and juveniles. Two pelvic bones have identical blind holes near the coxofemoral articulation on the bones’ caudal sides., Bone cracks caused by such damage loosened the joint and facilitated disarticulation during the butchering process. Multiple lines engraved by sharp lithic tool are visible on caudal surface of a right pelvic bone. Lines are 1.2-2 mm wide and ~0.7 mm deep. Except for the butchery marks, the Buor-Khaya/Orto-Stan mammoth site provides evidence for killing these animals. Finds from Yana RHS site (Nikolskiy, Pitulko, 2013) suggest that people applied a «spear-fall» hunting strategy, similar to that practiced by African hunter-gatherers. For example, Kulik (1971) describes a specific coup de grâce method practiced by Pygmies to cut important arteries and cause mortal bleeding by trusting a spear into the elephant’s trunk . The position of the cut-marks on the edge of the nasal opening of the mammoth skull fragments at the Buor-Khaya/Orto-Stan, i.e. near the trunk, suggests that they were caused by the same action. Therefore, Buor-Khaya/Orto-Stan contains sufficient evidence to be accepted as a kill-butchery mammoth site, and currently the northernmost Paleolithic site in the world, which sheds light on human dispersal through the Arctic at the end of MIS 3. References Kulik, S.F., 1971. Safari. Travels in Eastern, Central, and Soutrhern Africa. Moscow, Mysl (in Russian). Nikolskiy, P., Pitulko, V., 2013. Evidence from the Yana Palaeolithic site, Arctic Siberia, yields clues to the riddle of mammoth hunting. Journal of Archaeological Science 40, 4189-4197. Strauss, J., Schirrmeister, L., Yakshina, I., 2011. Appendix 3. List of collected mammal bones. Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung 629, 91-94 (http://hdl.handle.net/10013/epic.37743).

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VI International Conference on Mammoths and their Relatives, 05 May 2014 - 12 May 2014, Grevena-Siatista, Greece.
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Pitulko, V. , Yakshina, I. , Strauss, J. , Schirrmeister, L. , Kuznetsova, T. , Nikolskiy, P. and Pavlova, E. (2014): A MIS 3 Kill-Butchery Mammoth Site on Buor-Khaya Penninsula, Eastern Laptev Sea, Russian Arctic / D. Kostopoulos , E. Vlachos and E. Tsoukala (editors) , In: Abstract Book of the VIth International Conference on Mammoths and their Relatives, Grevena - Slatista, (Scientific Annals, School of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, Speicial Volume ; 102), Thessaloniki, University of Thessaloniki, 248 p. .

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