The Early and Middle Neolithic in NW Russia: radiocarbon chronologies from the Sukhona and Onega regions


  • Henny Piezonka Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel
  • Nadezhda Nedomolkina Vologda State Museum for History, Architecture and Art, Vologda
  • Marina Ivanishcheva Child and Youth Centre ‘Lider’, Vologda
  • Natalya Kosorukova Cherepovets State University and Cherepovets Museum Association, Cherepovets
  • Marianna Kulkova Russian State Pedagogical University ‘A. I. Herzen’, Sankt-Peterburg
  • John Meadows Leibniz Laboratory for Radiometric Dating and Stable Isotope Research, Christian Albrechts University Kiel



Northern Russia, hunter-gatherer-fishers, Early and Middle Neolithic, radiocarbon chronology, stratigraphy, 7th-5th millennium cal BC


The onset of the Neolithic period in the Russian North is defined by the emergence of pottery vessels in the archaeological record. The ceramics produced by mobile hunter-gatherer-fisher groups in the north-eastern European forest zone are among the earliest in Europe, starting around 6000 cal BC. After the initial mosaic of local styles in the Early Neolithic, including sparsely decorated wares and early Comb Ware, the Middle Neolithic period, starting in the 5th millennium cal BC, saw the development and spread of larger, more homogenous typological entities between the Urals and the Baltic, the Comb-Pit and Pit-Comb wares. Absolute chronologies, however, are still subject to debate, due to a general lack of reliable contextual information. Direct 14C dating of carbonised surface residues (‘food crusts’) on pots can help to address this problem, as it dates the use of the pottery; but if aquatic foods were processed in the vessels, the respective radiocarbon ages can appear to be too old due to the freshwater reservoir effect. In this pa­per, we discuss the radiocarbon chronologies of four important stratified archaeological complexes in the region between Lake Onega and the Sukhona basin, Berezovaya Slobodka, Veksa, Karavaikha, and Tudo­zero. A growing series of dates, including AMS dates, sheds new light on the onset and further periodisation of the Early and Middle Neolithic in this important area between Eastern Fennoscandia, Central Rus­sia and the Far North-East of Europe, although problems concerning the absolute chronology of the initial Neolithic remain.


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27. 12. 2017




How to Cite

Piezonka, H., Nedomolkina, N., Ivanishcheva, M., Kosorukova, N., Kulkova, M., & Meadows, J. (2017). The Early and Middle Neolithic in NW Russia: radiocarbon chronologies from the Sukhona and Onega regions. Documenta Praehistorica, 44, 122-151.

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