Chabai Viktor P. DISCUSSION // Kabazi II: Last Interglacial occupation, environment and subsistence / V. Chabai, J. Richter, and Th. Uthmeier, eds. Simferopol, Cologne: Shlyakh, 2005. P. 22.

     It can be concluded that the actual sedimentation rates which led to the accumulation of the entire Kabazi II sequence were not very impressive. Over a period of roughly 90 thousand years, only eight metres of in situ sediments accumulated, four metres of which were deposited during Stage 5, one metre formed in the course of Stage 4, and three metres accumulated during Stage 3. However, even this gradual accumulation of sediments still prevented bone material from weathering and artefacts from becoming patinated. At the same time, the human visits to the site were not frequent, and the, intensities of the visits were extremely low. Layers comprising human occupation are separated by pronounced sterile sediments, which often, but not always (Patou-Mathis, Chabai 2003), prevent the appearance of palimpsests. The number of levels was the result of single economic (hunting) episodes (Patou-Mathis 1999).

     The industrial variability of Kabazi II is represented by Western Crimean Mousterian and Mi-coquian. The former was found in the deposits of Stage 3, while the latter was discovered in the sediments of Stages 3, 4 and sub-stages 5a, 5b, 5c and 5d. Some time ago, it was claimed that "Taubachi-an" industry was present in Unit IV (Stepanchuk 1994a, 1994b, 1998). However, it would now appear that Unit IV "Taubachian" is actually a redeposited collection of naturally damaged artefacts.

     During the time of Units A, II, IIA and III accumulation, that is, from the end of the sub-stage 5d to the end of Stage 3, the site area was used as a butchering station. No traces of any other kind of fauna exploitation were observed. During the same time, the patterns of raw material exploitation differ significantly. On-site flint reduction was characteristic in levels A3A to IIA/1, while during the earlier period of the same Stage 3, the pattern of flint exploitation was based on off-site reduction with further import of tools and blanks to the site area. In other words, the Western Crimean Mousterian sequence is represented by 20 occupations for butchering: 19 occupations used on-site flint reduction and the inhabitants of one occupation of level IIA/2 preferred to use tools and blanks imported to the site.

     The 35 occupations with Micoquian assemblages were based on imported tools, preforms and blanks to the site, during the time span from the sub-stage 5d to Stage 3, inclusively. Such a significant change in the raw material supply strategy was due to topographical changes. Stage 4 and the beginning of Stage 3 correlate with the regression of the Black Sea basin, which caused the incision of riverbeds and the erosion of slopes. It is likely that all of these factors resulted in the exposure of the Mount Mylnaya flint outcrop, situated on the same elevation as the 3rd terrace of the Alma River - about 300 m above sea level. According to Gerasimenko the disappearance of the alder at the beginning of Stage 3 (pollen zone VIII) might be connected with the Alma River incision (Gerasimenko 1999, Chapter 2, this volume). Thus, the appearance of the local flint source led to changes in the strategy of raw material supply.

     During the most part of sub-stage 5d, the inhabitants of Units V and VI occupations continued to use tools, blanks, preforms and cores imported to the site. However, the pattern of faunal exploitation changes radically. The occupations of Units V and VI show some evidence of primary butchering. The faunal exploitation demonstrates a much more complex character (Patou-Mathis, Chapter 5, this volume). All levels of Units V and VI produce some burnt bones and artefacts. In level V/3 the fire-place was studied, and in level V/6 the ashy cluster was excavated. The site was used as a short-term camp. The environmental studies suggest that this camp was situated in the vicinity of the river bank (Chapters 2, 3, 4, this volume).

     To conclude, the occupations of Kabazi II belong to two technologically and typologically different industries which demonstrate two different patterns of raw material supply and two different modes of faunal exploitation. No clear connections can be made between the industrial type, the raw material used and the exploitation of fauna.

©Victor P. Chabai
14 2010 .
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