Early pottery function in NE Siberia investigated through organic residue analysis


The use of pottery by the hunter-gatherer cultures of Northeast Asia is a topic of increasing interest. Recent studies have highlighted that early pottery in Japan, the Russian far east, and Alaska was used to process aquatic resources. The location of most early pottery sites on major river systems in Northeast Siberia hint at a similar use. This is the first study to investigate the characteristics of pottery function in Northeast Siberia using direct methods. Through lipid residue and stable isotope analysis we aim to identify the function of pottery from 34 archaeological sites ranging from Yakutia, to the Upper Kolyma River, Kamchatka and Chukotka. We will investigate patterns in pottery function in this vast region throughout the past 6,000 years. Furthermore, by modelling radiocarbon dates of pottery sites in Northeast Siberia we hope to shed light on the dispersal of ceramic technology and the role of the environment and vessel function for pottery dispersal.

Syalakh Culture. Siktyakh I site


This project is funded by the University of Groningen – Faculty of Arts and led by Marjolein Admiraal of the University of York and Peter Jordan of the University of Groningen – Arctic Centre.

Project partners

Marjolein Admiraal BioArCh, University of York, UK
Peter Jordan Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University, Sweden
Oliver Craig BioArCh, University of York, UK
Harry Robson BioArCh, University of York, UK
Hans van der Plicht Isotope Centre, University of Groningen, NL
Hirofumi Kato Centre for Ainu and Indigenous Studies, Hokkaido University, Japan
Irina Ponkratova North East State University, Magadan, Russia
Viktor Diakonov Institute for Humanities Research and Indigenous Studies of the North, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yakutsk
Elena Nikolaevna Solovyova, S.A. Fedoseyeva Museum of Arctic Archeology of the Arctic Research Center of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha, Yakutsk.
Shelby Anderson Anthropology Department, Portland State University, USA
Fabio Silva Archaeology Department, Bournemouth University, UK