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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2015 year, number 2

STUDYING THE EARLY HOLOCENE ARCHAEOLOGICAL COMPLEXES IN WESTERN CENTRAL ASIA: CONCEPTS REVIEW

S.V. SHNAIDER1,2,3
1Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography SB RAS, Novosibirsk
2Novosibirsk State University National Research
3Altai State University
Keywords: western Central Asia, Mesolithic, Epipaleolithic, history of research, culture, geometric microliths

Abstract

The article’s objective is to review the existing cultural-chronological concepts explaining the diversity of lithic industries in Western Central Asia. Currently, there are several main contradictory hypotheses on the development of lithic industries in western Central Asia in the early Holocene. For instance, A.P. Okladnikov, V.A. Ranov and T.G. Filimonova argued that two technological complexes had existed in this region during the early Holocene. These two Mesolithic and Epipaleolithic complexes originated from different traditions with diverse features of stone tools. G.F. Korobkova, U.I. Islamov and F. Brunet suggested to attribute the whole early Holocene archaeological industries to the Mesolith. The situation requires a thorough analysis of proposed interpretations of the early Holocene industries development and chronological assessments in the region. The research is based on the following approaches: comparative-historical, historical-genetic and sources criticism. These approaches make it possible to compare various viewpoints on the archaeological developments and identify common and specific features in the evolution of the lithic industries; to examine the process of development of theoretical concepts and approaches concerning the Central Asian archaeology. The paper presents a detailed review of proposed hypotheses main points. The author highlights the problem topics in western Central Asian Mesolithic studies: 1. Elaborating a common and uniform terminology; 2. Detecting possible interrelations between the local synchronous lithic industries and different technical-typological features attributed to different development trends (Mesolithic and Epipaleolithic) of the early Holocene; 3. Clarifying the local early Holocene industries genesis and their subsequent development; 4. Developing a more representative base for absolute dating of the early Holocene complexes in the region.