Animal Bones from the Stone Features of the Sagan-Nuge Cove, Litle Sea Area of Lake Baikal
This paper offers new data on the use of animals by the Late Holocene pastoralists of Priol’khon’e based on the analysis of faunal remains found among the stone features of the Sagan-Nuge III site located in the Little Sea area of Lake Baikal in Siberia. Here, we provide results of the species identification, abundance of animal bones, their skeletal element representation, and age determination of some individuals. Furthermore, we suggest that these animal bones are remains left after sacrifices similar to those of horse, sheep, and cattle practiced in this region during the ethnohistoric period. However, analysis of the material found among the Sagan-Nuge III stone features also shows that besides domesticated animals, wild species, such as Baikal seal, fox, and fishes, and remains of human feet were also used in these ritual practices. In general, this zooarchaeological analysis provides new insights on how domesticated and wild animals were used by the Late Holocene pastoralists during their sacrificed practices. In addition, based on the AMS radiocarbon dating of ungulate bone, our research also gives a better understanding when these stone features were made. Usually, their appearance in Priol’khon’e broadly refers to the chronological diapason between 5th to 14th centuries AD. Radiocarbon dating from Sagan-Nuge III allows narrowing the period of the making of the stone features at this particular site to the 13–14 centuries AD.