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European Kingdoms

Early Cultures

 

Anetivka Technology (Upper Palaeolithic) (Eastern Europe)
c.11,700? - 8000? BC

The Upper Palaeolithic and Upper Mesolithic Epigravettian culture was one which emerged in Southern Europe shortly before the Solutrean was succeeded across much of the north by the Magdalenian culture. To its west was the Azilian, with these all forming some of the last of Europe's major Palaeolithic cultures.

On the Eastern European fringe of these advances there appeared a number of more or less contemporaneous Epi-Palaeolithic and early Mesolithic cultures. This mainly took place in the steppe zone across the northern Black Sea region. Each was somewhat limited in the territory it encompassed (perhaps the first time such varied localisation had appeared), but each used similar chipped-stone forms of industry, and each emerged by transforming local Epigravettian complexes.

The Dryas III-Preboreal period in the north-western Black Sea region was characterised by aridisation - a general drying out and a resultant decrease in plant life. Human groups in the centre of this region were part of the Epigravettian-led Anetivka flint-knapping technology of the late Palaeolithic. They were broken up by the changes, forced to disperse to more habitable locations. Groups around the edges were far less notably affected.

Their partial outwards migration allowed the people of the Tsarina to move into swathes of their territory. They would go on to create the Grebiniki culture and, in time, the people of the Anetivka would exist on the same territory as those of the Grebeniki. Both would exploit the north-western Pontic region with no clear separation between their settlements.

However, the adaptive strategy which was being used by the Anetivka people when they were forced to be highly mobile appears to have been so effective that in the following period - during the Holocene's Boreal period from about 7100 BC - their population became the substrate for the formation of a new culture, that of the Kukrek tradition.

It should also be pointed out that some groups from this flint-knapping tradition moved to the north as they followed their main hunting species (Bison priscus). Some of them probably also penetrated into the steppe areas of the Crimean peninsula (the north and centre) in search of new foraging territory. There they would have rubbed up against people of the Shan Koba culture while becoming more versatile foragers as they also hunted for fish and gathered fruits.

It was the archaeologist V N Stanko (1937-2007) who in 1978 first investigated the type site, the village of Anetivka in the valley of the Bakshala river (a tributary of the Southern Bug in Ukraine). He and S P Smolyaninov somewhat controversially referred to materials from the 'Anetivka 2' site as being part of a specific Anetivka culture, along with those from 'Anetivka 1', Volodymyrivka, and other sites.

At various stages of its development, Anetivka's sites may have been in contact with people of the Aurignacian, and some sites have been stated as containing potential Aurignacian-like influences. The finds from 'Anetivka 1' are significantly different from those of 'Anetivka 2' so clearly one of them was being influenced from somewhere, or they were developing in different directions.

This ambiguity and lack of clarity when it comes to properly defining the Anetivka is largely why others still classify it as a local demonstration of the Epigravettian rather than an outright culture.


Homo Neanderthalis

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from The Magdalenian Settlement of Europe, Quaternary International Volumes 272-273 (2012), and from External Links: Cultural resilience theory as an instrument of modelling human response to global climate change. A case study in the north-western Black Sea region: on the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary, Olena Smyntyna (Odesa I I Mechnikov National University, January 2016, and available via ResearchGate), and Monuments of the Stone Age Near the Village of Anetivka: 40 years from the Beginning of Research, Igor Pistruil (Odessa Archaeological Museum, published by Eminak Scientific Quarterly Journal, Vol 3 No 3 (23), 2018), and Topography of Stone Age Sites of the North-West Black Sea Region, Igor Pistruil (Odessa Archaeological Museum, published by Eminak Scientific Quarterly Journal, No 1 (29), 2020), and Early Mesolithic (Indo-European.eu).)

c.11,700 BC

With its type site at the village of Anetivka in the valley of the Bakshala river (a tributary of the Southern Bug in Ukraine), the people of the Anetivka stone-working technology emerge out of the weakening regional domination of the Epigravettian culture which eventually centres itself on the Carpathian basin to the west.

Anetivka stone tools
Representatives of the Anetivka late Palaeolithic flint-knapping technology managed to survive and progressively evolve during the Dryas III-Preboreal with no substantial changes to their traditional basis of tool production

c.8000 BC

The Tsarinka-Rogalik tradition or culture emerges in the early Mesolithic period (potentially as part of the Shan Koba), although no direct dates are currently available. The Dryas III-Preboreal period in this region above the Black Sea is characterised by aridisation - a general drying out and a resultant decrease in plant life.

Human groups in the centre of this region, part of the Anetivka late Palaeolithic flint-knapping technology, have been broken up by the changes, forced to disperse to more habitable locations which may also include Shan Koba territory in Crimea.

The people of the Tsarinka are able to move in to make the most of the extra hunting space (perhaps as the less numerous people of the Bilolissya have already done so), while the highly-mobile Anetivka people are themselves quickly developing.

Map of Mesolithic Europe 8000 BC
Although culturally and technologically continuous with Palaeolithic cultures, Mesolithic cultures quickly developed diverse local adaptations for special environments, as this map shows (click or tap on map to view full sized)

c.8000 BC

The people of the Anetivka have been broken up by the Dryas III-Preboreal changes, with some perhaps still interacting with people of the Shan Koba in Crimea. Others have proved so highly adaptive that they now form a substrate of the Kukrek tradition.

 
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