Translated by the author from: Zhilin M.G. Stoyanka Okaemovo 4 na Sredney Dubne. In: Problemy_izucheniya epohi pervobytnosti i rannego srednevekovya lesnoy zony Vostochnoy Evropy. Vyp. 2, Ivanovo, 1995, pp 23-32.

M. G. Zhilin

The site Okaemovo 4 on Middle Dubna.

A large number of sites was discovered and excavated at the Upper Volga region. But the most part of them is situated on dunes and terraces, lacks relieble stratigraphy and datings by pollen and C-14.That is why, publication of each, even small scale excavations of well stratified peat site is still of much interest. The autor is greatful to L.D. Sulerzhitsky for C-14 dating, and to V.P. Daniltchenko and E.A. Tsepkin for osteological investigations. 

The site with several cultural layers Okaemovo 4 is one of them. It is situated in the middle  flow of the Dubna river, right tributary of Upper Volga, at the western part of a vast peat bog, named "the Dubna massive" (about 100 km to the north from Moscow). The western part of the peat bog is a flat boggy lowland with very slight inclination towards the modern bed of the Dubna river. The surface is partly rushy, with nettle and decayed forest growing there, or cleaned and occupied by pastures near villages. The bed of the Dubna and its tributaries is artificially deepened, and at some parts straightened, water-meadows are covered with the open or hidden drainage net. The shores of the peat bog are composed by loams and sandy loams, overlaying morraine or fluvioglacial sediments. The thickness of peat is different, at some areas it is bedded by hyttia and marl - ancient lake sediments. Streaks of peat and hyttia, overlaying each other, indicate fluctuation of ancient lake level. The mineral bottom of the peat bog is composed by lake sands, loams and clay. Terraces of the Dubna are practically not pronounced at this area, flat water-meadow almost everywhere is changed directly by high morraine shores. Small sandy elevations - remains of the first terrace - either washed, or not entirely formed, are, as a rule, overlayed by later peat sediments. The same concerns ancient embankments and small lake islets. Field reconnaissance, carried out by the author in 1989-1991 produced about 40 Stone and Bronze age settlements. Cultural layers of the majority are connected with lake and bog deposits [1]. Many of them are connected with buried islets and embankments of ancient lakes and straights, linking them. The site Okaemovo 4 is situated at 3,8 km to the north-east from the village Okaemovo, inside the water-meadow of the left bank of the artificial bed of Dubna (in 50 m upstream from a buried gravel island). It is not pronounced in the modern relief, but it was established, that the site occupied a small islet, the most part of which was destroyed during the digging of the artificial river bed. An area 11 x 4 m was excavated at the edge of the bank in 1989-1990. The following stratification was observed: 1. Modern embankment - up to 30 cm thick;  

2. Brown forest peat - up to 34 cm;

3. Grey clay with iron oxid admixture - up to 80 cm;

4. Brown peat severely decayed - 18-32 cm thick;

5. Thin streaks of pale sand and dark-olive hyttia - 20-37 cm, in

the central part of the excavated area lense of broken small shell up

to 10 cm thick was observed;

6. Red-yellow sand with shells, is met in lenses up to 28 cm

thick; in the eastern part of the excavated area two lenses of this

layer are divided by a streak of hyttia 6 cm thick;

7a. Red-yellow sand, is met only at the water level in the cent-

ral part of the excavated ground, up to 10 cm thick;

7b. Grey sand with thin streaks of hyttia, shells and forest rub-

bish (leaves, small branches etc.), fine pebble and tiny clay frag-

ments; the upper part contains peat, and the lower part near the sout-

hern wall of the pit contains a streak of hyttia up to 10 cm thick.

Total thickness of the lyer is 4-22 cm;

8. A layer of shell, characteristic of waters with no current, or

very slight current, with admixture of sand and forest rubbish, it is

represented in the south-western part of the excavation pit, htickness

up to 57 cm;

9. Gyttja mixed with peat, with large amount of forest rubbish,

seeds of the yellow water-lillies, most clearly is seen in the central

part of the excavation ground, at the south-western part is slowly

changed by the layer 8, composing streaks inside the latter, total

thickness is up to 16 cm;

10. Grey sand with thin streaks of hyttia - 7-20 cm;

11. Greyish-blue sand or greyish-blue clay - the lake bottom.

Layers 1-4 contained no finds. Layer 5 produced a small fragment of pit-and-comb pottery of Lyalovo culture, half-finished needle-like bone arrowhead, and three small bones. Most probably, a train of a small Lyalovo culture site was touched. The lower part of layer 6 produced two fragments of comb-pit pottery, one of which stood vertically, the other - at an angle about 45` An edge of a site, transitional from early to middle Neolithic, was situated here. The layer 7a is an undisturbed mesolithic cultural layer, deposited at the islet. It is very slowly replaced by layers 8-10, which represent the synchronous train of the former, which was formed in the shallow water near the shore of a boggy lake during the occupation of the mesolithic site at the islet. The layer 7b is a layer 7a, which was washed from the top of the islet during lake transgression, and redeposited upon its train near the shore. Finds from layers 7 a and b, 8-10 are identical, except for one small fragment of the comb ceramic, belonging to the late phase of the early neolithic Upper Volga culture, coming from layer 7b. This fragment dates redeposition of this layer. It is worth to note, that trnsgression is observed at this time also at other peat bogs [2]. Thus, finds from layers 7-10 belong to the same site, consist of lithic and bone artifacts, mammals' fish and bird bones.

The finds are planigraphically spread rather equally, not making any compact clusters. Their number is slightly larger in the central part of excavated area, the nearest to the shore of the islet. No traces of constructions was found, except for two vertical pole pits 8 cm in diameter. The ends of both are conical, they were driven from layer 8, through layers 9 and 10 and are driven into lake bottom at the length of 10 cm. These are, probably, traces of fishing constructions near the shore. Most part of wooden remains, among which worked wood is met, was found in the western part of excavated area. These are rubbish, which came from the site and was drowned in the shallow boggy water near the shore.

454 lithic artefacts were found in the lower layer. Cores are represented by 7 exemplars, two of them are wedge-like or handle cores (fig. 1: 15,16), one from blades, which were removed from both lateral sides, the striking platform is horizontal with retouch trimming, one striking front is in initial stage of core reduction. The second also served for obtaining blades, the striking platform is oblique and trimmed. One more core, which had one striking platform, was broken along the long axis. Two subprismatic cores with two opposite striking platforms served for removing of blades and flakes from 2/3 of the perimeter of trimmed striking platforms. They are both oblique at the first one; the other has one platform horizontal, and the second - oblique (fig. 1; 13). Two more cores are amorphous for production of flakes. Two core-like pieces of flint supplement this group.


Fig. 1. 

Flint artefacts from Okayomovo 4, lower layer. 


Blades are represented by 81 exemplars (including tools) - 17,8% of all lithic artifacts. 43 are irregular, 26 - regular, the rest undeterminable. Narrow blades (7-8 mm wide) prevail. There are 17 tools with secondary trimming, 6 are made of blades, 8 - of flakes, 3 - of other blanks. Collection includes three scrapers: one endscraper with a convex working edge is made of flake (fig. 1: 5), two others are represented by small fragments of working edges. One microscraper was also made of a flake. All 8 burins have narrow working edges (fig. 1: 6-10); 6 are made on flakes, one - on blade and 1 on small pebble. A fragment of a bladelet with one side, sharpened by small-faceted ventral retouch (fig. 1: 2) was found together with a bladelet withthe end, obliquely truncated by steep retouch (fig. 1: 1). A half-finished arrowhead is also made of a blade (fig. 1: 4): the point is sharpened by small-faceted ventral retouch along two sides, and by flat dorsal retouch along one side; the base is unretouched. Two knives - irregular blades with one side, sharpened by almost flat ventral retouch (fig. 1: 11,12); one concave scraper, made of flake with irregular retouch (fig. 1: 14); small fragment of a working edge of a polished flint adze; two small flakes from polished slate tools supplement the collection. Combined tool is single - a burin with narrow working edge on a blade with the end, obliquely truncated by steep ventrl retouch (fig. 1: 3). Besides these, collection includes two blades, two blade fragments and ten flakes with irregular retouch. The rest lithic artifacts are flakes without any secondary treatment. 12 bone tools and their fragments were found. 



Fig. 2. 

Bone artefacts from Okayomovo 4, lower layer.


 In parallel to technico-morphological analysis they were studied with the help of stereomicroscope MBS-9 with magnifications 8-56 times. As a result, traces of manufacturing and use-wear were observed and analysed. There are seven arrowheads and their fragments. The first has regular biconical head with relief belt, underlined by grooves in the widest part of the head; the stem is short, with a thickening at the place of transition into the conical tang (fig. 2: 1). The latter is rather carelessly longitudally scraped, while the rest surface is longitudally planed with a knife. The relief belt was first marked by grooves, running along the perimeter of the head, and then planing was done in two opposite directions from the belt, i.e. towards the point and the tang. No use-wear was observed at the point, it is quite probable, that this arrowhead is unfinished, what is supported by unusually careless treatment of the lower part of stem and the tang. The second arrowhead is represented by a flattened head of irregular biconical shape with a vertical shelf towards the point and a thin, rather short stem; the tang is broken off (fig. 2: 2). The tool is longitudaly planed with a knife, the shelf was first marked by a groove, running along its perimeter, and then upper part of the head was planed from the point towards the shelf. The point is broken, a flat facet runs from the point towards the tang; the latter is obliquelly broken towards the point. Erosion of the surface did not preserve microwear traces, but similar breakage usually occures, when an arrowhead hits the target. The third arrowhead is one-winged, with a barb at the end of the wing, the opposite lateral side is blunt, rounded.. The stem is long, short tang is conical, slightly edged (fig. 2: 6). Several groups of short longitudal cuts are seen at the beginning of the tang. The tool is accurately longitudally planed and polished after it, except for the tang, which is not polished. No use-wear traces observed. Only willow-leaf shaped blade with rounded lateral edges, broken off at the place of transition into stem is preserved from the fourth arrowhead (fig. 2: 7). It is longitudally planed with a knife, the surface of the point eroded. The fifth arrowhead is represented by a fragment of flattened conical tang, longitudally planed (fig. 2: 3). The tang of the sixth is similar, very thin and shallow groove runs along 2/3 of the perimeter of the stem at the place of its transition into tang (fig. 2: 4). The stem was split as a result of a strong blow. Long flat facet and a series of shorter facets with hinge termination run towards the tang. Such breakage is very characteristic of arrowheads, which hit some hard target, being shot from a short distance. The last arrowhead is represented by a small fragment of a blade with rhombic cross-section, severely split at the moment of hitting some hard target: one edge is almost entirely removed by a longitudal facet, the other bears one long and several short facets with hinge terminations, running in the same direction. The tool was accurately longitudally planed, the preserved part of the edge was polished. A fragment of a large one-sided barbed point or a harpoon-head with sparced beak-like teeth was found (fig. 2: 10). The artiact is broken at the base of the sixth barb from the point. The surface is longitudally planed, bases of barbs were first marked by a thin shallow transversal groove, which was later cut off during longitudal planing of space between teeth. The surface is slightly polished, there are 15 short thin shallow transversal cuts between the third and fourth barbs, 17 cuts between the fourth and fifth, and 9 between the fifth and sixth. The point displays small flat facets, running from the tip along both ventral and dorsal sides of the tool, dull polish, within the limits of which short thin striations, running from the tip along the tool axis are observed under the microscope. Such traces are typical of projectile heads and indicate hittings of some animal target, one of which resulted in the breakage of the tool. The breakage facet begins from the base of a barb and ends with a hinge termination at the opposite side. Also interesting is a waste from production of intact fishing hook (fig. 2: 5) - a bone plate, flattened partly by bifacial retouch, partly by bifacial planing with a knife. A small portion of a wall of a hole, perforated from both ventral and dorsal surfaces, is seen at the point of the artifact. From this portion of a hole two bifacial cuts start - one is longer, runs straightly along one side of a plate; the other is shorter, obliquely truncates the end of the plate. The long cut formed a stem of a hook, while the shorter one formed its point. Hooks, made with emploiment of this technology, are widespread in the Mesolithic of the forest zone of Europe, but, as far, as I know, investigators did not pay attention at waste, corresponding to this technology. Besides this, two pendants were found. The first is made from elk insisor, a grove runs transversally along 2/3 of its perimeter near the end of the root (fig. 2: 9). The second is made of a flake, struck from bear fang. Cuts are made on lateral edges near one end of a flake (fig. 2: 8). The flake was struck transversally from the convex side of a fang. External surface of the flake is crushed, deep pronounced scratches, left by edges of flint tools, run from the crushed spot perpendicular to original edge of a fang. Such use-wear is characteristic of pressure flakers, made of bear fangs. These tools are oftenly met at peat sites on Upper Volga. 

Despite the small number of artifacts, lithic and bone inventory clearly indicates, that the lower layer of the site belongs to the final stage of the mesolithic Butovo culture. Bone tools are most significant here. The whole set of lithic and bone artifacts finds direct analogies in the inventory of the basic site of the final stage of Butovo culture - Ozerki 5 (lower layer)[2;3]. Coexistence of bone arrowheads with biconical head and short stem; with willow leaf-shaped blade and one-winged with a barb is characteristic also of Butovo culture sites of preceeding period (for example, Okayomovo 5, lower layer)[3;4], as well, as sites of initial stage of the early neolithic Upper Volga culture (for example, Okayomovo 18, lower layer - [3;4]). This also confirms cronological position of the lower layer of Okayomovo 4. A sample of worked wood (fragment of planed plank) from lower part of layer 9, found among bones, lithic and bone tools, gave a C-14 dating. It showed 7490+-50 B.P. uncalibrated (GIN-6204), which correlates well with dating of sites, mentioned above. It is worth noting, that in Eastern Europe similar bone arrowheads are also met at final mesolithic - early neolithic sites in Eastern Baltic region [5] and southern Karelia [6], but they differ substantially from Upper Volga arrowheads. They are spread, judjing by accidental finds, from Easten Prussia to Trans-Urals region, but dating and cultural attribution of the majority of these finds is obscure. They, evidently, belong to different, but close cultures, which composed a large cultural unity at the territory of the forest zone of Eastern Europe at that time. It is important, that emergence of specific bone arrowheads within the boundaries of this zone takes place almost synchronously, which supposed existence of stable contacts. Further accumulation of well dated materials will make possible analysis of many aspects of this interesting problem.

Osteological material is rather poor, elk and beaver bones dominate, single brown bear bones are met. Bones of mice, birds and fish are met at large quantities. Pike dominates among fish bones. Such composition of bones may be explained by small-scale excavations of the peripheral part of the site. But from the other side, dominance of elk and beaver bones is traced on sites of Butovo culture scince the first third of the Preboreal period. The rest mixed forest animals give small part of faunal remains from sites of late Butovo culture. They were, probably, hunted by accident, and did not play any significant role. The same is observed at sites of Upper Volga early neolithic culture. At the same time, the role of fishing and fowling increases during the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic, but elk and beaver hunting produced the most part of meat. Food gathering is documented by large quantities of seeds of yellow water lily. Fresh water mollusks could have been consumed as food - their shells are represented in large number in layer 8, deposition of which took place during the settlement of the site. Faunal and floral remains, inventory and topography of the site indicate its seasonal occupation. It was, evidently, visited during several years, most probably, in summer or early autumn. More material is needed to study this question in detail.


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1990-1992. In: Tverskoy arheologicheskii sbornik, vyp.1 Tver 1994.

3. Zhilin M.G. Nekotoriye voprosy perehoda ot mesolita k neolitu

na Verhney Volge. In: Problemy isucheniya epohi pervobytnosty i ranne-

go srednevekovya lesnoi zony Vostochnoy Evropy. Vyp. 1, Ivanovo, 1994.

4. Zhilin M.G. Kostyanoye vooruzhenie drevneishego naseleniya

Verhnego Povolzhya. M., 1993.

5. Loze I.A. Poseleniya kamennogo veka Lubanskoy niziny: Mezolit,

ranni i sredni neolit. Riga, 1988.

6. Gurina N.N. Oleneostrovski mogilnik. Materiali i issledovaniya

po arheologii USSR, N47, 1956.

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