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Zamostje 2

Zamostje 2 – unique multi-layer peat-bog site of ancient hunter-fishermen in Central Russia
Site Zamostje 2 is situated in the northern part of the Moscow district on the Dubna River. The site has yielded cultural layers of the late Mesolithic and early Neolithic with pottery and dated to the time between the beginning of the 7th to the middle of the 6th millennium cal BC (the beginning of the Atlantic period). According to the paleoecological reconstructions the site was situated on the shore of the lake in conditions of periodical changes in water level and lake size. Hunting and fishery were the basis of the economy both in the late Mesolithic and early Neolithic. The main prey were elk and beaver along with fur game (pine marten, badger, otter, fox); in the Neolithic period the role of wild boar increased. Eleven kinds of fish were identified, among which the most important were northern pike, carp family fish and European perch, pikeperch and catfish.

Fish-trap with paddle (excavations 2011, Lozovski, Lozovskaya).

During excavations a large series of different bone and antler tools were collected. They represented by arrow and spear heads, awls, antler axes and adzes, tools with working edge 45° , knives from elk ribs etc. The objects which undoubtedly were linked with the spiritual life of the ancient people and personal decoration are represented a special interest. Artistic items fall into three categories: pendants; elk, bird and snake figures and bird-shaped and incised decoration on ordinary tools. The most interesting finds are represented by two elk heads made from the base of elk’s antler. Another specific group of objects is represented by large series of stone pebbles with geometric decoration on one or both surfaces (around 100 finds).

Sculpture of elk head made from elk antler (photo P.Cattelain).

There is a large diversity of the fishing tools in the collection. Harpoons or barbed points were found in all layers. The finds of wooden paddles show wide use of boats. The fish hooks (53 items) are also represented in all layers. Use-wear analysis of fish hooks discovered differences in traces of teeth from different kinds of fish (perch, pikeperch and catfish/trout). Stationary wooden constructions – fish traps and fish fence were also found at site Zamostje 2. Fish traps represent conic-shaped baskets made from pine splinters with length 2 and 2.5m. Thin (1cm) splinters were closely bound by fibrous rope. The first C14 date for fish traps is 6550±40 BP (Beta-283033), 5560-5470 cal BC, and corresponds to the early Neolithic. The remains of fish fence were found close to the traps in the first year (1989) of excavations. In 2010 during the underwater prospection of Dubna river bed close to the excavation zone 150 new piles were discovered.

Fish-hooks made from bone (photo Lozovskaya O.V.).