Document


Title

Evidence of wildfire versus anthropogenic combustion features: spatial and macro-charcoal analyses of the final middle Paleolithic horizon at Orkhon 7, central Mongolia
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Daria V. Marchenko; Snezhana Zhilich; Evgeny P. Rybin; T. I. Nokhrina; Dashzeveg Bazargur; Byambaa Gunchinsuren; John W. Olsen; Arina M. Khatsenovich
Publication Year: 2022

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • analysis
  • Central Asia
  • K-means clustering
  • macro-charcoal
  • Middle Paleolithic
  • Mongolia
  • Paleolithic archaeology
  • spatial analysis
  • unconstrained clustering
Topic(s):
Region(s):
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 21, 2022
FRAMES Record Number: 66771

Description

This article examines the formation processes of combustion features at the Orkhon 7 Paleolithic site in central Mongolia, employing a new multifaceted approach that combines spatial analysis with computer learning and micro-charcoal analysis. We analyzed material from excavations conducted in the 1980s (Archaeological Horizon 3 in Pits 2 and 3) and carried out a spatial analysis. We also studied the distribution of macro-charcoal remains in samples taken from a 2019 excavation profile. The size-sorting hypothesis test allowed separating sub-horizons impacted by natural sorting of material. Spatial patterns were studied using k-means clustering and unconstrained clustering. Artifact assemblages associated with traces of combustion represented by decrepitate soil and charcoal lenses in both Pits 2 and 3 are characterized by high percentages of cores and shatter produced as the by-products of core reduction. Macro-charcoal analysis of the upper part of the stratigraphic column indicates that the presence of fire is not related to archaeological material found in proximity. These data, as well as paleoclimatic reconstructions and known analogies drawn from neighboring regions, indicate natural, rather than anthropogenic traces of combustion at the site.

Online Link(s):
Citation:
Marchenko, D.V.; Zhilich, S.V.; Rybin, E.P.; Nokhrina, T.I.; Bazargur, D.; Gunchinsuren, B.; Olsen, J.W.; Khatsenovich, A.M. 2022. Evidence of wildfire versus anthropogenic combustion features: spatial and macro-charcoal analyses of the final middle Paleolithic horizon at Orkhon 7, central Mongolia. Archaeological Research in Asia 32:100409.