The PalaeoChron team is working in the field as well as in the Lab. In collaboration with Kostya Gavrilov and Sergey Lev of Moscow University, we are renewing excavations at the site of Sungir, near Vladimir, in Russia.
The Sungir site is important for revealing unique aspects of early modern human burial behaviour around 35,000 years ago. The site is widely known for the presence of up to 8 human individuals, some of which were interred with a rich material culture, which included spears made of mammoth ivory, ivory beads and perforated fox teeth, along with figurines and splashings of red ochre.
The site was discovered in 1955 and excavated by Otto and then Nickolay Bader. A very large area was uncovered at the site.
We are now back at Sungir this season, and aiming to undertake a reconaissance of the limits of the previous excavations ahead of a wider dig in 2015. We dug four trenches, two of which had archaeology, and the other two were sterile or the result of backfill from the previous excavators.
Above: Kostya Gavrilov and Timur Galkin mapping one of our new trenches.
Left: Deep section at Sungir, to the bottom is the so-called Bryansk soil, which is roughly the part of the sequence in which the Mid-Upper Palaeolithic burials of Sungir were found. Final photo before filling in the section started. Hot work.