In September of the past year, Russian scientists made sensational findings on the famous mammoth burial site Lugovskoe in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area. Particularly, about 300 human-shaped stone objects and a mammoths vertebra pierced by a spear or javelin head were found. The pierced vertebra is the first indisputable proof that men hunted mammoths. A site of human settlement that functioned about 14 000 years ago is discovered by the researchers. This is the northernmost settlement known in the West Siberia.
Although fiction writers dont hesitate to describe ancient men as mammoth hunters, scientists have doubted until very recently, whether our forebears could kill those giant animals by their simple weapons or they just picked up mammoths that died because of other reasons. A sensational finding made by Russian scientists on the largest mammoth burial site in the West Siberia (Lugovskoe, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area) has put an end to the doubts. Diggings on this site have been conducted since the 1960s. By 2002, the number of bones of mammoths and other mammals of the Late Pleistocene reached 4.5 thousands.
In September 2002, the Regional State Museum of Nature and Man in Khanty-Mansiisk organized an expedition, where worked specialists from the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow), Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Novosibirsk), and Tomsk State University. On the Lugovskoe site, they found many stone instruments made in the Late Paleolith and a mammoths vertebra pierced by a spear head. The findings and results of their subsequent study are reported by Evgeny Mashchenko (member of the Mammoth Committee Bureau at the St. Petersburg Science Centre and expert palaeontologist of the Ministry of Culture) at the 3rd International Mammoth Conference held in Canada in May 2003. The Conference materials are published in the Internet and in journal "Geologist" of the Geological Association of Canada (vol. 32, no. 2, p. 16); further publications will appear in journals of the Tomsk State University, Novosibirsk Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, and in French magazine "Dossiers dArcheologie". By the way, at that Conference scientists of the world expressed their concerns about conditions of storage and display of unique paleontological collections of the Glaciation Epoch, especially, in Russia. But we will better not discuss that sad subject.
Sergey Komarov | Informnauka
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