MATERIALS FROM RESEARCH OF O. G. SHAPOSHNIKOVA AND D. YA. TELEHIN IN THE STAROBILSK DISTRICT, LUHANSK REGION
In 2016 during the inventory and transportation of the archaeological finds from temporary archaeological storage at Pheophania to the present-day storage facility of the Institute of Archaeology, the materials of the excavations of the expeditions of 1980 and 1985 were selected and processed. The excavations and surveys were conducted by expeditions under the lead of O. G. Shaposhnikova and D. Ya. Telehin on the territory of the Starobilsk district of the Luhansk region. The surveys in 1980 were conducted at only two locations located close to each other — the settlements of Aidar-Bila and Pidhorivka.
Aydar-Bila. Because the location plan is missing (it is also missing from the 1986 report), it was not possible to locate the settlement on the map. However, it can be assumed that the multilayered settlement of Aydar-Bila is located in the eastern part of the village Pidhorivka of the Starobilsk district of the Lugansk region, on the low floodplain terrace of the right bank of the river Bila (the right tributary of the Aydar river). At the location of the settlement, the width of the valley of both rivers is 2.23 km. In 1986, additional research was conducted and the site was named Hyrlo Biloyi. In fact, this name is more common and widely used in the scientific literature. The settlement is multilayered, as indicated by the code on the finds. The largest number of finds is associated with layer 4. Given the vertical distribution of the finds, it can be assumed that there are at least three episodes of occupation in the history of the settlement, two of which, given the peculiarities of the finds, occurred in the Neolithic Period and one in the Late Bronze Age.
Pidhorivka. The multilayered settlement of Pidhorivka is located on the off-shore terrace of the right bank of the Aydar River, at the point where the coast recedes to the west, thus forming a sufficiently wide floodplain, on which the depressions of the old-aged lakes are noticeable. In total, about 10 different settlements were found within the specified floodplain, 5 of which are known from the research of S. O. Loktushev in 1939. In 1963, the Pidhorivka settlement was investigated by V. M. Gladilin, however, no report or publication on the results of the research appeared, as correctly pointed out by Y. G. Gurin in 1998. It is only known that the expedition V. M. Gladilin cleaned up the coastline of the Aydar River, where the Neolithic materials were discovered. Some findings revealed by the expedition led by V. M. Gladilin appear in the monograph V. M. Danilenko as an example of the material culture of the Azov culture he identified. In 1980, the expedition of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR under the direction of O. G. Shaposhnikova laid out an excavation area on the Pidhorivka settlement. The results of these studies are unknown (missing report, field documentation, and findings). In the same year an expedition led by D. Y. Telegin excavated a trench with a total area of 5 m2. Later (in 1984), the site was explored by an expedition under the general guidance of K. I. Krasilnikov and Y. G. Gurin.
The total number of findings revealed as a result of the research by O. G. Shaposhnikova reached 295 units. The material analysis demonstrates the settlement is multi-layered. The upper horizons with the Middle and Late Bronze Age materials being the latest. In the conditional horizon of 0.8/0.9 m, a rather informative fragment of the Late Copper Age vessel was found, and at the same time, it is accompanied by a flint complex, which has the appearance of the Early Copper Age or Neolithic. The artifacts found in the conditional horizons of 0.9/1.0—1.1/1.2 m appear to be relatively «pure» in that the cultural and chronological terms clearly define their affiliation with the Early Neolithic Period and allow them to be associated with the Lower Don culture/Nizhnedonska culture of the Mariupol Cultural and Historical Area. At the same time, the presence of earlier artifacts, such as a conical single-platform core and multiple-truncated burin, makes one more cautious to interpret the complexes. Both the core and the burin look more logical in the flint complexes of the lower horizons of the site. In this sense, it is important to pay attention to the description of the stratigraphic section of the excavation area 2 of the settlement Pidhorivka, presented by Y. G. Gurin in a monograph about the Early Copper age sites of the Siversky Donets Basin. It states that, at a depth of 1.7/2.0 m and below, the layer of floodplain alluvium contains «Mesolithic materials». Y. G. Gurin did not publish the materials themselves that he claimed were from the Mesolithic era. In 2006, O. F. Gorelik issued a publication dedicated to the interpretation of the materials of the lower layer of Pidhorivka. In this work, he linked the affiliation of the flint complex with the early stage of Donetsk culture, and considered the site one of the centers of the Mesolithic industries with the yanishlavitsa type of projectile points. This conclusion is based on the similarity of the materials of the lower layer of Pidhoryvka with the flint complex of the site Shevchenko hamlet, one of the features of which is the presence of a yanislavitsa type of projectile point. In 1999, the materials of the site Zelena Hornitsa 5 were published, which is located on the second floodplain terrace of the lake on the left bank of the Siversky Donets River. In the material culture of this site, even if there are multiple elements, they in no way affect the overall situation. The complex of projectile points of the site consists of trapezes, a yanislavitsa type, points with truncated edges, and so on. The presence of the collapse of the stucco vessel along with these flint products, gave rise to criticism of the idea of O. F. Gorelik about the Mesolithic character of complexes with a yanislavitsa type of projectile points. Later V. O. Manko, in a more detailed form, questioned the theory of O. F. Gorelik. To the present day we can state that there has been some stagnation in this issue.
The surveys in 1985 were conducted at the valley of Aidar river from v. Lyman to v. Losovivka. In this area, sites lots have been found, which in chronological terms date back to the Paleolithic—Medieval times. For this reason, we believe that the introduction into scientific circulation of even a small amount of archaeological materials, allows the creation of a more complete picture of the processes that took place in the basin of the middle stream of the Siversky Donets River during the Neolithic—Copper Age.
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