Stable trade connected medieval residents of Yamal with Novgorod
14:38 2 сентября 2020
Категории: News in English
Two Novgorod keys to chests of the first half of the XII century, a copper pot from the Pre-Urals, traces of copper smelting and many other things were found on the Yamal Peninsula within excavations of the monument “Ngarka-Yedyotayakha 2”. The finds confirmed assumptions of archaeologists from the scientific center for study of the Arctic about existence of the northern trade route connecting inhabitants of the Peninsula with major centers of the middle ages and neighboring regions.
The research on the monument “Ngarka-Yedyotayakha 2” was conducted under the guidance of a senior researcher of the history and archeology sector at the scientific center for study of the Arctic Andrey Plekhanov. The scientists discovered the settlement in 2019 within the archaeological survey at the confluence of the Ngarka-Yedyotayakha River with the Zyryanskaya Ob River on the Yamal Peninsula. A kilometer away from it there is the settlement “Ngarka-Yedyotayakha 1” studied during the previous field season. People lived there from the X century BC up to the XIII century.
The settlement “Ngarka-Yedyotayakha 2” is also multilayered, as the scientific center for study of the Arctic informs. Fragments of pottery of the X-VIII centuries BC (late Bronze Age) belonging to Khe-Yakha culture (named after the Khe-Yakha River), stone arrowheads and their fragments were found in the 100-square-meter excavation site. Culture of ancient semi-sedentary fishermen-hunters is well known to the scientists of Yamal from monuments of the Lower Ob region, including “Settlement Salekhard 4”, which was excavated by the scientific center for study of the Arctic in 2017 and 2020.
The other finds are dated to the IV-VI (Karym stage named after the ancient settlement Karym) and IX-XII centuries (Tiutey-Salye stage named after Tiutey Cape). The most interesting and rare artifacts belong to the XII century. The copper pot from the Pre-Ural region has the best state of preservation of all previously found in Yamal. Before the excavations on “Ngarka-Yedyotayakha 2” only one Novgorod key was known from the settlement “Nakhodka Bay”, which was excavated in 2007. Finding of two other keys clearly indicates that the population of medieval Yamal had private property and stable trade relations, for example, with Novgorod.
“We do not claim that Novgorod merchants came to the territory of the modern Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Most likely, there were marketplaces on neighboring territories, from where goods in the chain were delivered to the Polar Urals and then to Yamal. Constant contacts between the Pre-Urals and the Trans-Urals speak about presence of trade routes, and, therefore, about possible encampments in passes of the Polar Urals, in places, where modern nomads live and travel. We plan to search for such encampments with help of archaeological surveys in the coming years”, Andrey Plekhanov explained.
According to the archaeologist, the set of the discovered artifacts from “Ngarka-Yedyotayakha 2” is similar to other collections from famous tundra monuments of the middle ages – “Yarte VI”, “Yur-Yakha III”, “Nakhodka Bay” and “Tiutey-Salye”. Registered bone remains of the reindeer indicate existence of large-scale reindeer husbandry already in the XII century that allowed the population to move easily over long distances, what, in its turn, provided constant contacts with neighboring peoples. Bone remains of the arctic fox found in “Ngarka-Yedyotayakha 2” are well preserved and indicate fur trade.
The scientists of the scientific center for study of the Arctic also found confirmation of existence of metal production among the inhabitants of medieval Yamal. Slag was present in the settlement “Ngarka-Yedyotayakha 2” in large amount. A part of metal left after casting and also manufactured items were found on the excavation site. Copper was a subject of import in tundra, thus, it was used sparingly. Excess metal was not thrown away, and old items were melted down to manufacture new ones. Metal hooks and a set of items representing a kind of chisel with a handle made of reindeer antler were found. A rounded stone was used as a weight for it.
The monument has traces of a medieval building with floor covering made of the mixture of wood chips and ash. Whether it was a dwelling or a production workshop being used directly for copper smelting, scientists will establish in cameral conditions. The archaeologists of the scientific center for study of the Arctic believe that it is necessary to preserve the monument for the next generation of researchers, who will have more advanced technologies in their arsenal for new conclusions and discoveries.
All the finds of “Ngarka-Yedyotayakha 2” will be added into funds of the regional Museum and Exhibition complex named after I. S. Shemanovskiy.
Photos can be found here: https://sever-press.ru/2020/09/02/srednevekovyh-jamalcev-svjazyvala-stabilnaja-torgovlja-s-novgorodom/