Faunal exploitation, subsistence practices and Pleistocene extinctions in Paleolithic Siberia
Deinsea , Volume 9 - Issue 1 p. 513- 556
The vast territory of Northern Asia attracted the attention of the students of prehistory for a long time. This area is of crucial importance for the study of Pleistocene extinctions. The paper summarises the available data from 29 Middle and 321 Upper Paleolithic faunal assemblages (only large mammals are included in the analysis) arranged in chronological and geographical order. Subsistence activities of the Middle Paleolithic were based on hunting of ungulates, mostly horse, wild goat, bison, deer, wild ass. It should be added that Okladnikov Cave witnessed also a prominent role of bird hunting and fishing. Meanwhile it is unlikely that specialised hunting took place and we need additional information to reconstruct subsistence behaviour. The Upper Paleolithic inhabitants of Siberia relied heavily on bison, reindeer and horse hunting, while the role of mammoth and woolly rhinoceros (except the Eastern Trans-Baikal) decreased. Different adaptations to periglacial steppe, forest-steppe, forest and mountain environments could be discerned. The end of the Pleistocene witnessed changes in subsistence behaviour as evidenced by an increasing role of fishing and gathering.