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Hweinlant
2012-11-26, 00:06
General info

This post will discuss about material from the Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov cemetary, which is located at Kola-peninsula. Kola-peninsula is at the northeast of Fennoscandian Shield. Area is maritime part of the arctic tundra zone. Russian archeologists discovered the cemetary in early 2000's. I've been aware of the site for few years now. Recently the bones from the site have also been aDna tested (there exists also organic material, such as hair, so there is more to come from this site). Site is c14-dated to approx 2000 BC or 4000 years old. Site was "only" in use for few ~200 years.

There is another site, also called Oleni Ostrov, which is at Karelian Republic, 1000km south from the Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov, and 3000 years older. These two sites should not be mixed since they belong to two very different timeperiods (mesolithic vs bronze age) and to very different archeological cultures.

Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov part of larger arctic world

Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov belongs, surprisingly, to very wide spread NORTH SIBERIAN cultural horizon known as Ymyakhtakh (also in literature: Ymyyakhtakhk and Ymyiakhtakh). Ymyakhtakh is very large late neolithic archeological horizon. It's origins seem to be somewhere in between the upstream, southern, Lena-river at Yakut Republic (Sakha) and river Yenisei , both of Russian Siberia (note that these run from upstream-south to downstram-north). From there is spread far and wide, even reaching farwest at the Fennoscandian shield. Eastern extreme (or actually western) lies in the arctic Americas. Over the time this large cultural horizon split to local traditions and daughter cultures.

Ymyakhtakh culture is associated with Yukaghiric people and languages in the literature. In this post I will compare the Ymyakhtakh material culture to that of Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov and myths&traditions of the Yukaghiric people.

Yukaghiric language

There are currently two existing Yukaghiric languages, Odul and Wadul. Both of the languages are at the terminal stage and it just might be that they dead at the time you read this post. They are spoken at the northeast part of Siberia, at the river Kolyma. Another one near the the downstream of the river, where is meets the arctic sea and other at the southern end where the river originates. Yukaghiric is considered as language isolate, while it is sometimes groupped together with Uralic languages, and sometimes with Eskimo-Aleutic languages. General agreement seems to keep Yukaghiric as language isolate. Recently Jaakko Häkkinen has concluded that similarities between Uralic and Yukaghiric are due the loans from Uralic to Yukaghiric. These loans seem to have happend from Para-Uralic to Proto-Yukaghiric, rather than from proto-Uralic. Location and date of the this newly discovered Ymyakhtakh cemetary fits the time and geography for that contact.

Yukaghiric languages were once spoken in much wider area. When the Russian conquest of Siberia begun we would meet Yukaghir tribes as west as Lena-river, spanning far to east. Russians brought diseases and violence which led to destruction of ancient Yukaghir culture, which it was never able to bounce back. Literature (which is narrow) considers the Yukaghiric urheimat / ethnogenesis happening at Taymyr peninsula, inside the widespread Ymyakhtakh cultural horizon.

http://i49.tinypic.com/xc57h3.png


Yukaghir people

Yukaghir people are physically arctic paleo-Siberians. They are generally short, have dark hair and eyes and medium pigmentation. They have pronounced arctic mongoloid features which are thought to originate from northern Baikal-lake mongoloid anthropological group. These physical features also exist in nations such as Koryaks, Yakuts, Nganasans and Nenets. Many of the forementioned groups also coming from Ymyakhtakh sphere due the substrata elements.

Modern Yukaghirs follow the Russian christian rite. Conversion to christianity caused large scale mixing between Russain newcomers and Yukaghirs during the 17-18th centuries. Old Siberian Russians were infact varying mixtures/mestizos between Yukaghirs and Europeoid Russians (including Komis and other European Finno-Ugric speakers).

Yukaghirs also had large contacts with other arctic people at east , such as Koryak and Chuckhi. At west Uralic speaking Samoyeds had contacts with them and infact some tribal Samoyedic groups derive heavily from Yukaghir genepool. Nganasans, inhabitants of Taymyr-peninsula, are mixture between incoming Samoyeds and local Yukaghirs. Evens, Evenks and also Sakha (Yakut) have both genetic, anthropological and linguistic ties with the Yukaghirs.

Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov and Ymyakhtakh culture

Cemetary was found in early 2000's by Russian archeologists. This is the westernmost location of cemetary inside the Ymyakhtakh horizon. It is dated to approx 2000 BC. Ceramic associated to the late neolithic North Siberian cultuer are found even further to west and south.

Examples of Ymyakhtakh material culture
http://i50.tinypic.com/6xyzkk.png

Sorsele ceramic from northern Sweden:
http://i45.tinypic.com/2zhmm9l.png

Vardöy ceramics from northern Norway:
http://i45.tinypic.com/e222t.png

Ceramics from the Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov cemetary:
http://i50.tinypic.com/n4tw1d.png

Physical anthropology and genetics of the Bolshoy Oleni ostrov

Site has been recently examined by physical anthropologists and geneticisist. Both have independently come to conclusion that the buried people were mainly of arctic Asian stock and not of the local population.

Vyacheslav Moiseyev and Valery Khartanovich from St. Petersburg Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography concluded that the bones found from the site belonged to Asian people. Clio Der Sirkassian, geneticist, concluded that the maternal dna (mithocodrial dna) of the bones belonged to mainly arctic Asians and minor part was of local west Eurasian ancestry.

Skull from grave 14
http://i47.tinypic.com/352lyf9.jpg

Anthropological archeology

Burials at the site had strong maritime arctic association. Most (all?) of the material artifacts were made of bone, which is typical for arctic Eurasian cultures. Graves were modelled after canoes, which is typical Siberian fashion, derived from the Yukaghir culture. Sometimes the canoe is replaced by the sledge. Many Siberian people, including the Yukaghirs, call the drum of the Shaman as "Soul Boat". Shaman can travel between different worlds, world of the living and the world of the dead. Graves of the boat-shape are not thus so much connected with function of water-travelling but rather with spiritual aspect of the boat.

Canoe-grave from B.O.O
http://i46.tinypic.com/11uf9yx.png
"A man’s grave was often made of his own twig-like canoe: Yukaghirs cut the boat aslant and joined planks using wooden nails (Yukaghirs, 1975, p.77)"

Yukaghir canoe
http://i46.tinypic.com/bjzox.jpg
" A grave made of a cut boat could have another possible meaning –from the mythological pragmatics: to leave the departed the things necessary for his eternal life (similar to his life on Earth), but to ruin them, so that they would die too and go to the last home with the departed. Both Yukaghirs and Tungus people purposely break and ruin things left at the grave. They make recesses in the burial clothes."


Testimony of maritime hunters (all made of walrus or whale bone!)
http://i45.tinypic.com/16aa3d1.png
http://i48.tinypic.com/ke8zmx.jpg

Egg shell in the childs (baby) grave (grave 19/3):
http://i48.tinypic.com/2v1akyf.jpg
"At the time when she was little and didn't speak, any child who didn't speak was fed with raven's eggs. That's why they understood the language of the ravens when they wanted to speak it. Now there are people like that who live in the forest.They say that some people can understand it. It is like this here.This is the end."

Conclusions

Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov cemetary can be identified with larger Ymyakhtakh archeological horizon, originating at Siberia during Late Neolithic period. Physical anthropology and genetic evidence points out the North Asian origin of the burials. Recent linguistic discoveries point out that Uralic speakers and Yukaghiric speakers had contacts, these were mainly one-way, loan words from Uralic to Yukaghiric. This is logical outcome if Yukaghiric speakers were living on the marginal extreme of Uralic speaking sphere. Arctic Kola-peninsula fits this requirement. Cultural anthropology of the site, boat/canoe graves and gravegoods are typical for arctic Siberians and especially the Yukaghiric people.

sources:
Encyclopedia of the Arctic By Mark Nuttall 2005, ISBN 0-203-99785-9
http://arctic-megapedia.ru/yukagir/en/index.php/General_information
The Pottery of the Late Bronze –Early Iron Epoch of the Site Red Jar II(Northwestern Coast of Lake Baikal). Dmitry E. Kichigin 2011
A Circumpolar Reappraisal:The Legacy of Gutorm Gjessing(1906-1979). Christer Westerdahl 2010.
Contact in the prehistory of the Sakha (Yakuts):Linguistic and genetic perspectives. Brigitte Pakendorf 2007
http://www.sgr.fi/yukaghir/
Early cultures of northeastern Asia. Nikolai N. Dikov 2004.
Mithocondrial DNA in ancient European populations. Clio Der Sarkissian 2011.
Ancient Human Migrations from Siberia to Fennoscandia: Cranial Evidence. Vyacheslav Moiseyev and Valery Khartanovich 2012
http://kae.rekvizit.ru

Hweinlant
2012-11-26, 09:52
After dwelling into Northeast Asia/Arctic Eurasia's past I'm really surprised about the homogenity of the material culture spanning huge distances in the high arctic.

This is from one of the burials at B.O.O
http://i45.tinypic.com/301ko45.jpg

These are dentalion shells (tusk shells). Using them as jewellery has wide spread all the way to arctic new world. Some other Amerindian groups likely use them aswell but my knowledge about them is too limited to go into specifics.

Picture is from some Alaskan wedding, note the "beads":
http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/files/2011/10/hw_alaska_beaded-necklace-and-feather.jpg

Jaska
2012-11-27, 01:06
Very nice summary!


Recently Jaakko Häkkinen has concluded that similarities between Uralic and Yukaghiric are due the loans from Uralic to Yukaghiric. These loans seem to have happend from Para-Uralic to Proto-Yukaghiric, rather than from proto-Uralic. Location and date of the this newly discovered Ymyakhtakh cemetary fits the time and geography for that contact.
- -
Recent linguistic discoveries point out that Uralic speakers and Yukaghiric speakers had contacts, these were mainly one-way, loan words from Uralic to Yukaghiric. This is logical outcome if Yukaghiric speakers were living on the marginal extreme of Uralic speaking sphere. Arctic Kola-peninsula fits this requirement.

If you are suggesting that Uralic-Yukaghir contacts took place in Kola peninsula, that is utterly absurd!

1. The spread was from Asia to Europe, as both archaeology and genetics prove, so your model cannot explain the spread of the assumed Uralic loanwords from the west to the east, to the present-day Yukaghir area.

2. The loanwords are not Para-Uralic, but the older layer is very similar to Proto-Uralic AND the second layer to East Uralic. Because Late Proto-Uralic was a European phenomenon, the archaic Uralic layer in Siberia before East Uralic must have been Pre-Proto-Uralic.

3. Your assumption cannot explain the East Uralic layer, either - it certainly cannot be located in Kola Peninsula!

4. Once more: cultural continuity cannot prove about linguistic continuity. Therefore, even though Ymyakhtakh culture is "native" in the north, it cannot tell anything about the origin of the Yukaghir languages.

I know that you are blind and biased towards your own fantasies and refuse to understand arguments, but all the more objective forumites, who understand the scientific argumentation, can see that your model is impossible. Intriguing science fiction, yes, but far from credible hypothesis. :)

Hweinlant
2012-11-27, 11:47
Very nice summary!


Thank you



If you are suggesting that Uralic-Yukaghir contacts took place in Kola peninsula, that is utterly absurd!


Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. I would like to add that not only at Kola-peninsula but on pretty much all of the arctic seaboard from Kola to Arctic Urals.

http://i49.tinypic.com/20952za.png



1. The spread was from Asia to Europe, as both archaeology and genetics prove, so your model cannot explain the spread of the assumed Uralic loanwords from the west to the east, to the present-day Yukaghir area.


Yukaghirs spread later to where they are (hopefully) living now. They originated from Taymyr-peninsula where they expanded into Lena-river and Kolyma-rivers systems from north-to-south (ie. upstream).

People from Kola-peninsula, Vaygach island etc were arctic maritime hunters (see the harpoons in burials, canoe-like graves etc.) so they surely were shuttling between different sites with their canoes.

Just look at the distribution of Eskimo-people and languages. I'm saying that the area now empty of Eskimos was inhabited by similar (and genetically related) people who spoke Proto-Yukaghiric-language at the central-west end of distribution (and possibly something akin to Koryak at the east).

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/Inuit_conf_map.png



2. The loanwords are not Para-Uralic, but the older layer is very similar to Proto-Uralic AND the second layer to East Uralic. Because Late Proto-Uralic was a European phenomenon, the archaic Uralic layer in Siberia before East Uralic must have been Pre-Proto-Uralic.

3. Your assumption cannot explain the East Uralic layer, either - it certainly cannot be located in Kola Peninsula!


These loanwords are clear proof that the early contacts happened near the arctic seaboard, perhaps on the river networks starting from the White Sea or even at place at White Sea. Volosovo culture influences are known from the region. U4 and U5 mtdna lineages found at B.O.O site might be from Uralic speaking people.

We agree that Late Proto-Uralic was spoken allready on very wide area, spanning atleast Volosovo and Garino-Bor culture. Naturally the Garino-Bor sphere is the pre-East Uralic. Garino-Bor culture influenced the arctic cultures on the far-northern Urals.



Recent data indicates - within certain limits of reliability - the emergence of elements of a maritime subsistence system in the second half of the second millennium BC. Specifically referred to in this connection are the Maliy Bolvanskiy sites I and II in the northeastern part of Vaygach Island; the topographic locations of 25 these sites can only be explained by tbe utilization of maritime resources (Pitul'ko 1988). Maliy Bolvanskiy I and II are linked to the Ortino culture of the circumpolar Trans-Ural area, which in its final stage was influenced by the Garin-Bor culture (Khlobystin 1973). There is also evidence of earlier settlement on the island, but its connections with maritime hunting are still problematic.

Fennoscandia archoeologica VIII (I991)
V. Pitul'ko

ARCHAEOLOGICAL DATA ON THE MARITIME CULTURES OF THE WEST ARCTIC

http://www.sarks.fi/fa/PDF/FA8_23.pdf


Thats where the initial contacts between East Uralics and Yukaghirs happened.

So we have either early Uralic or Para-Uralic contacts at White Sea and East Uralic contact at arctic Urals.



4. Once more: cultural continuity cannot prove about linguistic continuity. Therefore, even though Ymyakhtakh culture is "native" in the north, it cannot tell anything about the origin of the Yukaghir languages.


- Ymyakhtakh is associated with Yukaghiric by specialists
- B.O.O burials show both physical and genetic similarity to northeast Asians
- B.O.O burials show cultural anthropological connection to Yukaghirs
- Loanwords strata at Proto-Yukaghiric indicates contacts with Northeast European proto-Uralic language

Multiple disciplines pointing into same, one conclusion.

I think the case is pretty damn solid.

Jaska
2012-11-28, 00:03
I repeat:

- Cultural continuity cannot tell about the linguistic continuity. Unfortunately many archaeologists are still ignorant about this fact, so you shouldn't believe if an archaeologist says that some culture is connected to some language. All languages are POSSIBLE to connect to many different and contradicting cultures, and archaeologists can only GUESS which one is the right connection - and guessing is not a scientific method.

- You just imagine that the Uralic-Yukaghir contacts occurred in the Arctic coast - there is no evidence supporting your imagination. Archaeologically everything is possible, but nothing is certain. You must take the linguistic results as the basis when you try to locate the linguistic contacts.

- As I said, the culture spread from east to west, but you still suppose that the loanwords spread from west to east. That is very improbable.

Samoyedic has adopted many Yukaghir loanwords, and Proto-Samoyed originates in Sayan region. Also the East Uralic (= Pre-Proto-Samoyed) and Pre-Proto-Uralic loanwords in Yukaghir were most probably delivered there. You cannot locate the Uralic-Yukaghir contacts in the Arctic coast.

Besides, there were no Uralic speakers in Kola Peninsula before the Saamis spread there during the Roman Iron Age. The presence of Samoyeds in the Tundra zone is even later incidence. Uralic language was for thousands of years spoken further south, in the southern part of the taiga zone.

The case is indeed very clear for everybody who can understand scientific argumentation and are not blinded by their own fantasies. :) From now on I won't waste my time in repeating this all for you year after year, so I only answer if someone else asks something about the arguments. Have fun on your fictional science planet! :)

Hweinlant
2012-11-28, 09:26
- Cultural continuity cannot tell about the linguistic continuity.


Have I argued so ? I fail to see what you are commenting here. I've presented a full cemetary (which was in use for 200 years or so), with archeological+physical anthropological+cultural anthropological+genetic results. It's not like I'm speaking about some pottery fragments here.



You must take the linguistic results as the basis when you try to locate the linguistic contacts.


I just did that, and not only that but also multiple different disciplines. You must be only one who didnt understand it.



- As I said, the culture spread from east to west, but you still suppose that the loanwords spread from west to east. That is very improbable.


Silly argument. Spanish spread from Iberia to Latin America, thus the Iberian-Spanish language can not have the following words: la patata (from Carib 'patata'), el tomate (from Nahuatl 'tomatl') and certainly the Iberian-Spanish can not have the word la cocaina (from Quechua 'cuca' + ine Latin medical suffix).

Reason why Iberian-Spanish language can not have these words is because Spanish spread from Iberia to Latin America (from East to West, and even having ocean in between!). No loanword has ever _spread_ inside linguistic zone. If you ever see any of those words in any Iberian-Spanish dictionary, please ignore them, they dont exist.



Samoyedic has adopted many Yukaghir loanwords, and Proto-Samoyed originates in Sayan region. Also the East Uralic (= Pre-Proto-Samoyed) and Pre-Proto-Uralic loanwords in Yukaghir were most probably delivered there. You cannot locate the Uralic-Yukaghir contacts in the Arctic coast.


Proto-Samoyedic, per definition, must be younger layer than the East Uralic spoken at Garino-Bor. Garino-Bor had contacts with arctic coast on the arctic Urals. Proto-Samoyedic contact may indeed have happened in the Sayan-region, this doesnt anyhow disqualify the East Uralic-Yukaghir contact at arctic Urals. They remain chronologically correct. Anyhow, the most likely Samoyed-Yukaghir happened on the Yenisei-river system, which obviously empties it's waters via Taimyr-peninsula to the arctic sea.

Let's have a small repeat:


Brigitte Pakendorf, Contact in the prehistory of the Sakha (Yakuts)
Linguistic and genetic perspectives, 2007[/B]

The origins of the Yukaghirs

Not much is known about the origins of the Yukaghirs, but in general it is
assumed that they represent the descendants of peoples inhabiting northeastern
Siberia since at least the Neolithic (Gurvig & Simgenko 1980: 144, 146). According
to the scenario proposed by Alekseev (1996: 39), the ancestors of the Yukaghirs
originated in the Taimyr Peninsula in neolithic times, with a mixing of cultures from
Western Siberia and Yakutia. Approximately in the middle of the second
millennium BC the Yukaghir ancestors spread from the Taimyr Peninsula to the east
under pressure of immigrating groups (rather speculatively identified by Alekseev as
Yenisseic-speakers) and reached Chukotka about 1,000 years later. In the first half
of the second millennium AD the expansion of Evenki groups to the northwest cut
off the Yukaghirs from Samoyedic-speaking groups in the west and forced them
even further to the east, where they ended up surrounded by Chukchi, Koryaks,
'vens and the ancestors of the Sakha.

http://www.lotpublications.nl/publish/issues/Pakendorf/index.html


Another look at the map:
http://i49.tinypic.com/20952za.png

Yellow star = Taymyr peninsula, where Yukaghirs were residing during late neolithic period, as part of the very large Ymyakhtakh horizon.

Orange star= Vaygach-island, where we can see contacts between Garino-Bor (East Uralic) culture and Yukaghirs

Green star = Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov, where we have physical+genetic+archeological evidence of these same people, around year 2000BC.

Then around 1.500BC the Yukaghirs move from Taymyr towards east, under pressure from other groups. This is also the ~youngest timing when the B.O.O cemetary became desoleted.

These people were very mobile arctic maritime hunters (see the harpoons in cemetary material from B.O.O, and also evidence from Vaygach-island). They moved around with canoes, they burried their dead in canoe-like graves. There absolutely 0 reason to assume that they staid put, no sir, they moved around, a LOT. Their home was the arctic coastal waters between Kola-peninsula and Taymyr-peninsula. Then around 1.500bc they moved eastwards and penetraded southwards (upstream) through the Siberian river networks (Yenisei, Lena, Kolyma).



Besides, there were no Uralic speakers in Kola Peninsula before the Saamis spread there during the Roman Iron Age. The presence of Samoyeds in the Tundra zone is even later incidence. Uralic language was for thousands of years spoken further south, in the southern part of the taiga zone.


Loanword strata in Yukaghiric prooves otherwise. Uralic had indeed allready spread (even if it was seasonal trips) to northernmost part of Europe at that time.



Have fun on your fictional science planet! :)

There is nothing fictional in what I written here. I do understand that you are walking on a thin ice here and rather not discuss about the topic. If you would look at the case I've presented here, with both eyes wide open, you would understand that I'm spot on correct.