Paleobotanical materials from the Slavic site of Sverdlovske 1 in the Chernihiv region

Published: 3 February 2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/fzjv7bbn54.1
Maryna Sergeyeva


Materials of botanical origin in question come from archaeological excavations in the Early Slavic settlement Sverdlovske 1 (Chernihiv region) in 2016—2017. The settlement is dated back to the last quarter of the first millnnium AD and is attributed to the Romny culture. The data on cultivated plants and weeds as well as on charcoal were obtained. We could obtain paleobotanical data in two ways. Flotation was applied as the method to obtain more detailed collection of small-sized botanical materials. Using the flotation method, carbonized (burnt) residues including charcoal were collected. We also analyzed imprints of grains and seeds of cultivated plants and weeds on clay products found in 2015—2017. The second method is studying imprints of grain on ceramics. The paleoethnobotanical material (grain and seeds of cultivated plants and associated weeds) was identified due to its comparison with previously determined similar samples, with a wide range of publications on this topic and with modern comparative collections. Sorts of wood have been identified after characteristic microscopic features on three sections. Further, they were compared with the data in wood determinants. Wood was defined to genus. Material under study included residues of cultivated plants (proso millet, barley, emmer wheat, soft wheat, rye, peas and lentil) and weeds (field bindweed and bristle grasses) as well as charcoal (pine, oak, birch and poplar or aspen). Studying the paleoethnobotanical materials displayed high rye values together with a practical lack of weeds. It is an indication of an extensive level of farming, most likely it was slash farming. Comparative study of paleoethnobotanical materials from different sites showed a significant difference in grain production (and therefore agriculture) of the Volyntsevo-Romny culture sites in general and the specific sites of Chernihiv Polissia. It is important that these results were confirmed both by prints on ceramics and by macro-residues. A fuel wood from the Sverdlovske 1 site found in heating structures consisted of oak, pine, birch and aspen. Construction timber principally consisted of pine. The timber wood identified could be considered as traditional for forest zone. Fuel wood composition considered according to ethnographic analogies can be considered as traditional for forest and forest-steppe zones. However, the insufficient material currently complicates comparative studies of materials from synchronous sites. The importance of the data obtained is due to a scanty amount of materials of botanical origin from the Romny culture sites known to date.



Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of NAS of RA