Radiocarbon Dating and Fauna of the Bugul’deika II Site from the Lake Baikal Region (Excavations of 2006–2008)
Radiocarbon dates and faunal remains from the 2006-2008 excavations of the Bugul’deika II habitation site on the southwest shore of Lake Baikal are described in this article. Also outlined some of the potential challenges in radiocarbon dating sites in this region, many of which related to the old carbon effect present in Baikal’s fauna. The 55 radiocarbon dates on materials from this site indicate that it was first occupied just over 10,000 years ago, but its lowermost levels are somewhat intermixed. The site continued to be used through the Middle and Late Holocene, and levels from these periods are well stratified. Remains of Baikal seal (Phoca sibirica) are dominant in almost all layers. They are present in every site layer, and are dominated by remains of yearlings or juveniles. Season of death estimations, based on seal canine thin sections, indicate most seals were taken in early spring when ice still covered the lake. A few seals appear to have been taken later in the year, perhaps when the lake was ice-free. Bones and teeth from domesticated ungulates such as horse, cattle, and sheep are present in the uppermost layers, the earliest of which dates to ~2900 cal. BP. Unusual or rare fauna for the region present in the site include trace quantities of camel and reindeer in the Late Holocene, and Bos primigenius in the Middle Holocene. Remains of deer, bird, and fish are present in trace quantities.