A Zoomorphic Figurine from the Multilayer Site of Ust’-Yodarma II
The article contains the results of a study of a zoomorphic figurine (a head of an elk) from the 6th cultural level of the Ust`-Yodarma II multilayer site. Ust’-Yodarma II is considered to be a defining site for the Holocene of the Northern Angara region. Elk depictions are among the most widespread forms of mobile art in the taiga and tundra forest zones of Eurasia. During the Holocene, elk became the main game animal in Siberia, playing a decisive role in the economic development of ancient societies. The specific place of elk in the lifestyle of ancient societies was represented in culture, worldview and beliefs, forming what might be called “the cult of the elk.” This also led to the creation of petroglyphic and sculptural depictions of elks from horn, bone, stone, ceramic, wood and metal. All previous sculptural portrayals of elks were found in association with human burials. In contrast, the zoomorphic figurine from the Ust`-Yodarma II was found in a multilayer site, and likely held a sacred character. The finding of a sculptural portrayal of an elk in this context is unprecedented.