During the study of a unique monument - the Psytuazhe canopy - in the gorge of the Fanduko River in Kabardino-Balkaria, archaeologists discovered tools for making clothes, including skins. The age of the finds is about 11-13 thousand years, such tools have been found here for the first time, said a researcher at the Laboratory of Prehistory (St. Petersburg), head of research Ekaterina Doronicheva.
The monument, which was named the Psytuazhe canopy, was opened in 2018, its research has been carried out since 2019. "During excavations in the Psytuazh canopy, which is located on the territory of the Chegem region of Kabardino-Balkaria, archaeologists were able to find bone tools intended for making clothes. Such tools have been found at this site for the first time. The age of the layer from which the artifacts originate is estimated at about 11-13 thousand.. years ", - said the interlocutor of the agency.
So, archaeologists have found several bone punctures - bone tools, which were given a sub-circular or rounded shape with a pointed end using the grinding technique. "As a rule, they served to pierce holes in skins, which is associated with the manufacture of clothes. We cannot say for sure how the clothes looked, but there is a hypothesis that in a cold climate, it could resemble the clothes of modern peoples, primarily of the North, that is there could be capes made of skins, but in warm climates they could use, for example, loincloths, "Doronicheva explained.
An obsidian piercing was found at the parking lot, which was used to work on the hide and is associated with the production of clothing by ancient people. Doronicheva said that in the period 11-13 thousand years ago, an ancient man who lived in the foothills of the Caucasus hunted various animals, among which were wild horses, Caucasian tours, deer and wild boars. "The skins of these animals, most likely, served as material for the manufacture of clothing by ancient people. It is interesting that during the excavations carried out in this shed in the summer of 2021, archaeologists also found scales of fish, presumably sturgeon, which could also have been used as food by ancient people.", - she said.
The head of the research also noted that at this place the ancient people were also engaged in the splitting of flint. In the Epipaleolithic era, people already actively used the squeezing technique of splitting, which made it possible to use the stone raw materials to the maximum. "The places of extraction of flint and obsidian are located not far from the site. The rocks were taken from the deposits to the sites, where they were processed, these were the main materials for the tools and hunting equipment of the people of that era," Doronicheva explained.
About the expedition
This year, the emphasis of the expedition's research was made on three key transitions for human evolution, which occurred in the period from the Middle Paleolithic (the Neanderthal era) to the Upper Paleolithic (the appearance of a modern human species in Eurasia). In addition, the focus of archaeologists' attention is on the key stage of overpopulation of territories during the maximum of the last glaciation. In June, archaeologists discovered a Middle Paleolithic site called Humalan at an altitude of about 1,400 m.
Among the famous sites is the Sosruko grotto in the Elbrus region. The section of this site exceeds 12 m, accumulated over a period of about 30 thousand years. A monument similar in age - the Psytuazhe canopy - is located in the valley of the small river Fanduko, not far from the village of Zayukovo.
Research of the North Caucasian Paleolithic Expedition is supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation. For the first time, this expedition began research on the territory of the KBR in 2016, when archaeologists managed to find a unique monument near the village of Zayukovo - the Saraj-Chuko grotto, where today the most ancient evidence of the settlement of the territory of the republic in the Middle Paleolithic is known, it includes multilayer sediments from the late Pleistocene to Holocene. A characteristic feature of the structure of the area where the monuments are located is the presence of predominantly Pliocene volcanic formations.