Northern Hunter-Gatherers Research Series Volume 1

The first volume of Northern Hunter-Gatherers: Research Series is dedicated to Hunter-Gatherer Culture Change and Continuity in the Middle Holocene of the Cis-Baikal, Siberia.

From about 9000 to 3000 years BP, the Baikal area was successively inhabited by two major groups, the Kitoi, who date back to the Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic, and the Serovo-Glazkovo, who date from the Middle through Late Neolithic to Bronze Age. A distinct feature is a discontinuity separating the Kitoi from the Serovo-Glazkovo groups; the comprehensive examination of biological and cultural characteristics of these two groups and the explanation of the discontinuity phenomenon has become the main focus of the Lake Baikal Archaeology Project.

This volume, a product of the project’s start up conference during the Canadian Archaeological Association meetings in May 2001, is both a reflection of our current state of knowledge and a research outline. The assembled papers highlight the interdisciplinary and international nature of the Baikal Archaeology Project. The eleven papers review current research, or present preliminary field or laboratory work, or do a little bit of both. The theoretical and empirical program of work for the Baikal Archaeology Project is laid out. The papers contributed by Russian collaborators provide an important introduction to Russian perspectives on this research including theoretical approaches, model building, and data analysis and interpretation. Some of these approaches inevitably differ from those developed by the rest of the team which, of course, is not entirely homogenous in this regard either. Such differences can only be viewed as creative stimuli in this collaborative project.

While not nearly exhaustive of the research being conducted, the papers represent the general direction in which the project is heading. We look forward to following up on this research in future volumes as well as introducing other aspects of the project that could not be included here. Together, the studies comprising the Baikal Archaeology Project promise to contribute to a better understanding of the lives of northern hunter-gatherers, both in the Cis-Baikal and worldwide.

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