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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2015 year, number 2

ARCHAEOLOGICAL CULTURES OF THE STONE AGE: THE PROBLEM OF DEFINITION AND IDENTIFICATION

K. A. Kolobova, A. I. Krivoshapkin, T. I. Nokhrina
Institute of Archaeology & Ethnography SB RAS, 17, Lavrentieva Ave., 630090, Novosibirsk
Keywords: Stone Age, archaeological culture, odontologic approach, epistemological approach, ethnos, stadializm

Abstract

The article reviews the existing historiographic approaches to definition and identification of archaeological cultures in the Stone Age. For a bout a century researchers have been using the concept of archaeological culture - a major concepts in archaeology. However, until now no unambiguous definition of this concept has been given The role of a particular archaeological culture in the archeological research practice has not been well defined either. Currently the relevant objective is systematization of the available concepts. The author of the present review applied the comparative-historical and historical-genetic methods, as well as the method of sources criticism. This approach makes it possible to compare various viewpoints on the development of archaeological ideas; to identify common and specific features in the lithic industries evolution, and to consider formation of theoretical ideas and approaches to the term archaeological culture in dynamics. The paper characterizes the most topical aspects of this problem. The definition of archaeological culture is examined based on the viewpoints of V.A. Gorodtsov, L.S. Klein, M.V. Anikovich and others. Considering the nature of archaeological culture the authors deal with two main approaches: odontological (V.M. Masson, V.P. Lubin, Y.F. Buryakov et al.) and epistemological (N.N. Kradin, A.L. Mongait et al.). The historiographic analysis shows a huge variety of scientists views on determining the place of an archaeological culture in practical archaeological studies and relationships between the archaeological cultures and ethnoses. An overview of the most debatable concepts defining a notion of archaeological culture and identifying archaeological cultures of the Stone Age shows that these problems should be addressed both from general scientific and specific archaeological perspectives.