CAES Vol. 7, № 1


Editor’s foreword

Think pieces:

Northeast Caucasian languages and the Ainu-Minoan stock

Alexander Akulov

The hypothesis that Northwest and Northeast Caucasian languages are related was proposed by S. A. Starostin, however, the methodology used by Starostin (comparison of the so-called basic vocabulary) cannot resolve the question of whether the compared languages are related. The only tool that can detect the relatedness of certain languages is the comparison of grammar. Previously it was proved that the Northwest Caucasian family is a part of the Ainu-Minoan stock. In this paper the question of whether Northeast Caucasian languages are related to the Ainu-Minoan stock is resolved by Verb Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI): Tabasaran is compared with Kabardian. If the value of VGCI is about 0.4 or more then compared languages are related. VGCI of Tabasaran and Kabardian is 0.39, so they belong to the same family, and due to the transitivity of relatedness Northeast Caucasian languages belong to the Ainu-Minoan stock.

Keywords: Northwest Caucasian languages; Northeast Caucasian languages; Caucasian languages; Tabasaran language; Kabardian language; Verb Grammar Correlation Index


The etymology of the hydronym Syas

Alexander Akulov

The hydronym of Syas has no well-proved etymology. It is supposed that the hydronym originated from Finnic roots: sääski (or sääksi) that means “osprey” or “mosquito”. Both versions look like folk etymologies: in the territory of the Leningrad region any river can be named “Mosquito river”; the second version looks too poetic to be realistic. The hydronym Syas correlates well with Southern Ket śaś “rivers” and Arin sat “river”, and thus the hydronym could have originated from the language of so-called Paja Ul Deˀŋ. The hydronym could be borrowed through the Sami language: in Kildin Sami there is the word čad’z’ – “water” that has no Uralic etymology, but can be correlated with Southern Ket śaś “rivers”. Yet in the 13th century there was a compact Sami population on the southern shore of Lake Ladoga not far from the Syas river.

Keywords: Syas river; Paja Ul Deˀŋ; Sami language; substrate hydronyms


Whether there were wars in the Stone Age?

Alexander Akulov, Tresi Nonno

It is incorrect to consider any conflict/violence as war. War is violence performed by a special group of people according to a special plan and with the use of special tools intended to kill people; such tools differ from household/hunting tools. The existence of wars is detected by the existence of weapon: no weapon – no war. The territory of the Japanese archipelago is one of the best-excavated regions, so Japanese data can be used as a standard. In Japanese prehistory Jōmon corresponds with European Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, and Yayoi corresponds with European Chalcolithic/Aeneolithic period. One of the main differences between Jōmon and Yayoi is the absence of warfare in Jomon and the existence of it in Yayoi. The scheme derived from the Japanese material is universal: the same can be seen in the East European plain where weapon appeared in the Chalcolithic period and was unknown in Neolithic.

Keywords:  Stone Age; Neolithic period; Chalcolithic period; Jōmon; Yayoi; Fatyanovo technocomplex; war; historical reenactment


Social networks, messengers, and mobile phones as evil

Yelena Kolesnikova

Social networks are usually considered as something extremely positive and the most optimistic forecasts and expectations are associated with them. The reality, however, is slightly more complicated, and social networks have negative aspects. The first negative aspect is a tendency to escape meaningful content. Another negative point can be conventionally designated as stereotypization and artificial segregation of ideas.  Also social networks serve the standardization of mind and behavior. And also a very negative aspect related to social networks and messengers is the obsession with mobile phones. The fact that there is such a large demand for brainless content is a sign that in modern society there are a variety of crises. People should pay more attention to real life and should not hesitate to be unsocial, ‘unmodern’ and complicated.

Keywords: social networks;modern society;mass consciousness; ethnography of contemporaneity


A simple method that allows comparing forms of pots

Tresi Nonno

When archaeologists deal with ancient pottery often appears a need to compare forms of pots. Often the comparison of forms of pots is speculative, in some cases, on the contrary, very complex equipment is used to get a description of a shape of a pot. If the question is to compare forms of vessels then there is no need to compare the actual concrete vessels, should be compared formalized descriptions of forms of vessels. In the current paper is represented a system of notation that allows describing/representing different parts of a vessel in a highly formalized way, any particular shape can be described in the terms of this formalized notation, and these formalized descriptions can be compared just like usual sets.

Keywords: mathematical semiotics; shapes of pots; comparing of pottery; semiotics


CAES Vol. 6, № 4


Editor’s foreword

Think pieces:

Interpreting the proximity values of potsherds collections received by the Monte Carlo method

Alexander Akulov

If we are going to learn to what degree the collection of potsherds x belonging to the technocomplex X is close to the collection y belonging to the technocomplex Y, then the degree of proximity of x and y should be compared with that of y and yn (yn is a random collection belonging to Y). If the degree of proximity of x and y is the same or higher than that of y and yn, it means that x and y are related. If the aim is to compare different subgroups that have been singled out within a certain collection of potsherds then a standard set of collections can be used as a source of thresholds. A standard set of collections should contain several collections in order to be representative; also collections of the set should have originated from sites that have been proved to be related.

Keywords: comparing collections of potsherds; mathematical semiotics; Neolithic pottery


Whether the site of Hepojarvi is a settlement of repeated settling?

Alexander Akulov

The site of Hepojarvi is the first excavated Neolithic settlement in the south of the Karelian Isthmus, in the immediate vicinity of Saint Petersburg. The pottery of the site has been subdivided into three types: Sperrings pottery, Comb-Pit Ware of the developed stage of the Neolithic period, and the late Neolithic pottery. The site was supposed to be a settlement of repeated settling. In order to clarify: whether population shifts really took place on the site in this paper three subgroups of pottery are compared by the method of Monte Carlo. Within the pottery of Hepojarvi can be distinguished three subgroups, but they are separated from each other no further than collections of pottery of related local groups. The tradition of pottery was maintained and it is possible to say that there were no population shifts on the settlement during the Neolithic period. 

Keywords: Comb-Pit Ware; Pit-Comb Ware; Neolithic pottery; Hepojarvi settlement; ornaments of pottery; mathematical semiotics  


Historical reenactment in modern Russia as a subculture

Yelena Kolesnikova

The so-called historical reenactment in Russia is a special subculture with its own ideology. Usually reenactors are adherents of different conservative worldviews (they are adherents of so-called ‘traditional family values’ and sexism; demonstrate negative attitudes toward feminism and LGBT, and also toward liberal ideas). Also historical reenactors consider things as more important than semiotic systems. This tendency serves the devaluation of history as semiotics. Semiotics should be the backbone of any historical research and any experiment/reconstruction: one should not simply reconstruct a certain item, but should first of all understand/reconstruct the role of the item inside the corresponding culture. Under the influence of this historical reenactment the importance of semiotics in historical sciences is subjected to devaluation, and experimental archaeology is converted into a cosplay show. Serious historians should distance themselves from movements of such kind, and oppose something to such movements or at least not hesitate to criticize them.

Keywords: historical reenactment; modern Russia; subcultures; ethnography of contemporaneity


Problems of the Aleut language education

Rodion Kosorukov

Aleuts are the indigenous people of the Alaska Peninsula. They speak the Aleut language, but only 96 fluent speakers remain anywhere, with the largest concentration on the island of Atka in the central Aleutians. On Atka and Bering Islands is spoken Western or Atkan dialect. The differences between Western and Eastern dialects are not fundamental. There are some differences in the lexical composition, syntax, and some morphological differences. The Bilingual Education Act of 1967 opened up the possibility of teaching in American schools on languages other than English. The Alaska Native Language Study Center, initiated by Michael Krauss at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, produces textbooks and other literature in the Aleut language. However, since the 1980s, there have been no new Aleut language textbooks for the Alaskan school system. And in recent years the Aleut language was excluded from the school curriculum. 

Keywords: Aleut language; Atkan dialect; Aleut language education


How to compare different systems of ruling represented in different societies

Tresi Nonno

Any particular aspect of a society can be represented as an ordered pair of the following view: <A; Ω> where A is the set of members of society, and Ω is the set of relations defined upon A. In the case of the system of ruling the Ω set can be formed by the following two relations: direct communication with the center of decision making and immediate influence on the center of decision making. And thus, any system of ruling can be represented as a 3D vector (x, y, z) where x is the number of people belonging to the considered society, y is the proportion of people who can directly communicate with the decision-making center, and z is the proportion of people who can immediately influence on the decision-making center. The degree of resemblance of two systems of ruling is the degree of resemblance of the corresponding vectors.

Keywords: social structures; mathematical semiotics; systems of ruling


CAES Vol. 6, № 3


Think pieces:

Substrate lexis of Kildin Sami interpreted through languages belonging to the Western branch of the Ainu-Minoan stock: some notes on the language of Paja ul deˀŋ

Alexander Akulov

In Kildin Sami there are about 30 words which have no convincing Finno-Ugric/Uralic (or any other) etymologies. 8 of them can be interpreted through languages belonging to the western branch of Ainu-Minoan stock: čacke “to throw” correlates with Proto-West Caucasian *ʒ́V; čad’z’ “water” correlates with Ket śaś, Arin sat “river; k’ed’d’k “stone” correlates with Arin kes; kut’t’k  “heart” correlates with Proto-Yenisseian *koqtV (~g-) “inside”; murr “tree” correlates with Proto-West Caucasian maźV “pines-tree”; piŋŋk “wind” correlates with Proto-Yenisseian *bej and with Hattic pezil, pizel, pizilsejjd – “deity”correlates with Hattic šail – “lord”; vuntas “sand” correlates with Arin finńaŋ, Pumpokol pínniŋ, Ket hʌnǝŋ5, and with Yug: fʌnɨŋ5. These words are supposed to have originated from the language of so-called Paja ul deˀŋ. Thus, it is possible to say that within the Western branch of Ainu-Minoan stock the language of Paja ul deˀŋ is the juncture of Yeniseian family with Hattic/West Caucasian.

Keywords: Pre-Finno-Ugric substrate; Paja ul deˀŋ ; Yeniseian languages; Hattic; Ainu-Minoan stock


What we know about beliefs of Paja ul deˀŋ?

Alexander Akulov

Paja ul deˀŋ [padʒaul’deˀŋ] “People of big water” is a conventional name of Neolithic inhabitants of the territories of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region in their hypothetical reconstructed language. They spoke a language that was a juncture between the Yeniseian family and Hattic. It is possible to reconstruct some aspects of their beliefs. Paja ul deˀŋ most probably had no notions about supreme deities, but definitely had notions about tutelaries (spirits/deities of rivers, forests, and sea). One of the appeals to the deities could be the word *sheyd/*sheyl/*sheyr [ʃejd]/[ʃejl]/[ʃejɾ]. This word has been reconstructed from the Kildin Sami word sejjd [sejd] – “spirit”, “tutelary”, “a stone of unusual shape”. This word has no Uralic etymology, but is much like the Hattic word šail [ʃail]”master”, “lord”. It is possible to say that the cult of stones widely spread in the Northwest of Russia originated from Paja ul deˀŋ.

Keywords: Neolithic religion; Paja ul deˀŋ; cult of stones


The cultural production of gendered space

Natacha Kennedy

Drawing on the different ways that different societies have constructed transgender people in the past, with particular reference to the Ainu people of Northern Japan, this paper argues that different ways of understanding trans people in different societies evidenced through remaining cultural material today demonstrate a greater sophistication in terms of including trans people than in European-based societies historically as well as at present. Although these named groups represent the categories of trans people accepted in other cultures, it is argued that this probably conceals more gender diversity in these societies than it reveals, the diversity that was erased by colonial oppression. Consequently, it is argued that trans people need to be fully engaged in defining and encouraging the many different possibilities for gendered existence.

Keywords: Identification; colonialism; transgender; epistemic injustice


Some notes on regionalism and ethnic separatism in modern Russia

Yelena Kolesnikova

In the last decade we can see a notable rise of ethnic separatist and regionalist movements in Russia. These movements can be conventionally subdivided into two types: ethnic separatist movements and regionalist movements. These movements have the following characteristic features: 1) negative attitude toward Russian culture 2) ignoring facts of history/ethnology/linguistics and inventing an ideal history of an ethnic group/a region, 3) adherence to Nazi like ideologies. Such movements aren’t well organized yet; most often they are just clubs of interest, and also such movements have little impact on the current cultural, social landscapes. However, the existence and fairly widespread distribution of such movements is a sign of a deep economic, social and ideological crisis that exists in Russian society. To solve this problem, a set of measures is required. I suppose that the anthropological community could watch the situation and could come up with some recommendations.

Keywords: regionalism; ethnic separatism; right-winged ideologies; anthropology of contemporaneity; Russia


How to estimate the degree of resemblance of different concepts

Tresi Nonno

If we are going to estimate the degree of resemblance of two concepts, then, first of all, concepts should be represented in forms which can be compared. Any concept can be represented as a set of statements describing its characteristic features. Set of statements describing a certain concept can be formed by answering a questionnaire; in each comparison a local questionnaire can be used. And now if we want to compare a pair of concepts we should find intersection of corresponding sets of statements, i.e.: to find congruent answer, and then take the ratio of number of statements belonging to the intersection to the total number of standard statements, the received fraction is the degree of resemblance of compared concepts.

Keywords: comparing of concepts; semiotics; mathematical semiotics  


CAES Vol. 6, № 2


Editor’s foreword


Buyeo group and Manchu

Alexander Akulov

In this paper the question of relatedness of the Manchu language and Buyeo group is resolved by Verb Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI). The method supposes a direct comparison of really existing/existed languages. The method is based on the idea that language is ordered pair <A; Ω> where A is set of grammatical meanings and Ω is set of positional distributions defined upon A, and VGCI is a superposition of indexes of correlation of both sets. If the value of VGCI is about 0.3 or lower then languages aren’t related. If the value of VGCI is about 0.56 and higher then compared languages belong to the same group, but not just to the same family. VGCI of Japanese and Manchu is 0.39; VGCI of Korean and Manchu is 0.46, i.e.: Buyeo and Tungusic languages form a family, not a group; Manchu is closer to Korean than to Japanese.

Keywords: comparative linguistics; Buyeo languages; Manchu


Think pieces:

A general outline of the technology of manufacturing of the logboat found by A. A. Inostrantsev on the southern coast of Lake Ladoga

Alexander Akulov

The paper represents a general outline of the technology of manufacturing the logboat found by A. A. Inostrantsev on the southern coast of Lake Ladoga. The logboat was made of oak, its length is 362 cm, and its maximum width is about 70 cm. Its dating varies from 5000 to 2000 BP. Neolithic people seldom made logboats of oak; they mainly made boats of such wood as linden, aspen, or poplar. That’s why aspen or poplar is going to be used in the future reconstruction of the logboat. It is supposed that first the trunk was cracked into two halves lengthwise by wooden or bone wedges, and then the logboat was made of half of the trunk.

Keywords: logboat; Neolithic boat; Neolithic people of Lake Ladoga; Neolithic technology


Paja ul deˀŋ

Alexander Akulov

Paja ul deˀŋ [padʒaul’deˀŋ] “People of big water” is a conventional name of Neolithic inhabitants of the territories of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad oblast in their hypothetical reconstructed language. In order to be able to speak about a certain ethnicity, it is necessary that this ethnicity would have a convenient designation. It is possible to state that these people spoke a Yenisseian language since upon the territory of East European plain there are some Yeniseian hydronyms. Also in the Sami language there are some words of Yeniseian origin. When an ethnicity known only by archaeological data acquires currently existing and well-described relatives – it is a remarkable fact. It is possible to reconstruct the worldview of Paja ul deˀŋ on the base of related cultures.

Keywords: Paja ul deˀŋ; Neolithic period; Yeniseian languages; Pit-Comb ware


A preliminary attempt to compare ornaments of Jeulmun and Jōmon

Tresi Nonno

Jeulmun and Jōmon potteries coexisted in time and in space, and look pretty much alike. In this paper a precise method is applied to the comparison of ornamentation of both potteries to avoid speculative reasoning/conclusions about their closeness/proximity. The scheme of comparison is the following: 1) should be estimated the correlation index of two sets of ornamental elements; 2) should be estimated the correlation index of positional distributions of common elements (elements of a certain ornament can be localized in the top, middle and/or bottom of a vessel); 3) the proximity index of two ornaments is a superposition of proximity index of sets of ornamental elements and the proximity index of positional distributions of common elements. In the current paper a very small selection has been considered, but it is clear that some Jeulmun vessels demonstrate more resemblance with certain Jōmon vessels than with other Jeulmun vessels.

Keywords: Jōmon; Jeulmun; pottery ornamentation; semiotics; mathematical semiotics


Topological method of comparing plans of archaeological sites

Tresi Nonno, Alexander Akulov

The plan of any settlement/site can be represented as a set of elements/zones in which is determined the relation of adjoining. And thus, the plan of any settlement can be fully described by the following sets: the set of elements and by sets of interconnections of each element. And then the index of correlation of plans of settlements is a superposition of two indexes of correlation: the index of correlation of sets of zones/elements and the index of correlation of sets of interconnections.  The higher is the index of correlation of settlements, the more similar are compared settlements, i.e.: they consist of more similar sets of elements, and interconnections of the common elements are more similar.

Keywords:  comparing of settlements; mathematical semiotics; semiotics


CAES Vol. 6, № 1


Think pieces:

An attempt to compare the logboat found by A. A. Inostrantsev with some logboats of Neolithic and Early Metal Ages found in Europe

Alexander Akulov

As far as a the logboat found by Inostrantsev in the southern coast of Lake Ladoga has not been dated properly yet by carbon-14 method, so in the current paper is made an attempt to make some preliminary conclusions about the dating of the boat by comparing it with undoubtedly dated boats found in the territory of Europe. Unfortunately, much information on Stone Age boats of Europe is unavailable, so a proper comparison isn’t possible now. The logboat found be Inostrantsev looks much alike medieval logboats, on the other hand, it was found in the layer containing stone tools and pottery of the Neolithic period. However, in the site of Broksø (Denmark) was found a logboat dated to 3500 BCE which structure seems to be much alike, but photos of the Broksø boat aren’t available so it isn’t possible to make any conclusion. Anyway, researches should be continued.

Keywords: logboats; dugout canoe; Neolithic period; dating of logboat


The origin of inaw

Alexander Akulov, Tresi Nonno

The origin of inaw is generally still vague. N. G. Munro pointed on the connection of inaw and Jōmon dogū and the possible connection of inaw and dogū with human sacrifices. M. M. Dobrotvorskii on the base of data collected on the island of Sakhalin stated that inaw are relics of human sacrifices and that Ainu used to practiced cannibalism. Chiri Masiho found out that Ainu had an experience of disemboweling human bodies. The question of whether inaw and dogū are connected with human sacrifices is still open. However, it seems to be very possible that inaw originated from dogū. It seems that with the decay of pottery the practice of clay figurines was first transformed into wood figurines and then into the carving of inaw.

Keywords: inaw; dogū; Ainu religion


Neolithic fishing lures: new interpretations of some amber bijou of Okhta 1

Nadya Efimova

Among amber items that have been found upon the site of Okhta 1 there are some which are usually interpreted as bijou (i.e.: as pendants), but actually, look much alike fishing lures and fishing plugs. Also, it is notable that amber items which can be interpreted as lures are usually found upon the sites located near the sea or near rivers/lakes. For instance, amber lures much alike those of Okhta 1 have been found upon such Neolithic sites of Latvia as Sarnate and Dzedziekste (the first one is located near the sea and the second one was located near a river/lake). Also, alike item has been found upon the site of Putkinskaya (located near the coast of the White Sea).

Keywords: Neolithic fishing lures; Neolithic amber items; Okhta 1


On phonetic and grapheme transformations in linguistics

Anton Kiseliov

Transformation is an important mathematical concept that may also be applied to linguistics. Transformation is defined as an invertible function f that maps a set X to itself; but also transformation can map the set X to any other set. In the case of phonetic transformations elements are letters (signs of transcriptions) or sounds. In the current paper are considered mathematical principles of transformations and some related concepts (domain, codomain, image, range, kernel, invariant), and also are considered different types of transformations (surjection, injection, bijection). Examples of different phonetic and grapheme transformations (transliteration, transcription, alternation, misspelling, misprinting) and their peculiarities are given.

Keywords: transformation; transliteration; transcription; alternation; misprint; surjection; bijection; mathematical linguistics


How to single out basic elements of pottery ornamentations in the context the Monte Carlo method

Tresi Nonno

To estimate the degree of correlation of two collections of randomly selected potsherds should be done the following procedures: 1) estimating the degree of correlation of sets of represented imprints, 2) estimating the degree of correlation of percentages of common imprints, 3) taking a superposition of two degrees of correlation. The closer are certain collections the higher is the corresponding degree of correlation. However, appears the problem of determining the basic elements of ornaments; this point can seriously influence conclusions about the index of correlation. The following recommendations can be offered: each potsherd has a certain set of imprints; if this set consists of homogenous/similar elements only then the whole set is a basic element of ornamentation. If this set consists of several groups of heterogeneous elements that have no intersections then each of these groups is a basic element.

Keywords: mathematical semiotics; ornaments of pottery; semiotics


CAES Vol. 5, № 4


Editor’s foreword


Stone adzes and axes found by A. A. Inostrantsev on the southern coast of Lake Ladoga in the context of the stone industry of some other Neolithic sites in the neighborhood of Saint Petersburg

Alexander Akulov

Visiting the location where the New Syas and New Svir canals were being dug A. A. Inostrantsev found many stone axes and adzes. The present text is aimed to summarize information about stone axes and adzes found by Inostrantsev; and also to consider stone axes and adzes from some other Neolithic sites of the neighborhood of Petersburg, such as Ust-Rybezhna, Okhta 1, Tarkhovka, and Hepojarvi. Most of axes and adzes from these sites have been made of shale as well as axes and adzes from the collection of Inostrantsev. Thus, it is possible to state that the adzes and axes collected by Inostrantsev correlate well with axes and adzes of other Neolithic sites of the region.

Keywords: stone adzes; stone axes; Neolithic stone industry; Russian Northwest; Lake Ladoga


A regularity of change of the error that takes place when randomly selected sets of potsherds are compared by the Monte Carlo method

Tresi Nonno

The Monte Carlo method estimates the correlation index of two random sets of potsherds. For estimating the potential error of the method set A (20 potsherds) is compared with set B (15 potsherds). The number of elements of B is gradually decreased by one element and variants of each new B are compared with A. Results are the following: if the ratio of the numbers of elements of two compared sets is 1 – 0.7 then the potential error is 1% or less; if the ratio of numbers of elements is 0.65 – 0.6 then the potential error is 4 – 5%; if the ratio of numbers of elements is 0.55 – 0.5 then the potential error is 7 – 8%; if the ratio of numbers of elements is 0.45 then the potential error is 14%; if the ratio of numbers of elements is 0.4 and less then the potential error is about 19%.

Keywords:  mathematical semiotics; ornaments of pottery; semiotics; Monte Carlo method; measurement error

Nonno_Monte Carlo_error

Think pieces:

Hydronymy of Yeniseian origin in the basin of Oka river

Alexander Akulov, Nadya Efimova

In the basin of Oka river there are some rivers which names end with –ul/-ur: Chistur, Dandur, Mokshur, Nasmur, Ninur, Pynsur, Shersul. These hydronyms look much alike hydronyms of Yeniseian origin which exist in Siberia (for instance: Agul, Langur and so on). The ending of -ur/-ul looks much alike Yeniseian root “water” that has the following forms in different Yeniseian idioms: ul/ūl/ūr/kul. In Uralic and Indo-European languages there is no such root. Thus, it looks like the territory of the East European plain was inhabited by a western branch of Yeniseian people in the Neolithic period. Also the fact of good preservation of hydronyms of Yeniseian origin in the basin of Oka correlates well with the fact that the traditions of Neolithic pottery (Pit-Comb Ware) were maintained much longer in the basin of Oka than in other territories of East European plain.

Keywords: Yeniseian languages; substrate hydronymy; Neolithic period

Akulov_Efimova_Yeniseian hydronymy


Alexander Akulov, Tresi Nonno

Inaw is an inseparable item of any Ainu ritual. Usually inaw is a little stick with shavings. Usually inaw are made of willow.  Inaw has been rather well described in ethnographic literature; however, its meaning/functions and the etymology of the word inaw still remain to a certain extent unclear. According to our data the word inaw originally is a compound of two morphemes: i “something” and naw “to curl, and thus i-naw” means simply “shaved”, “curled”. Inaw is a universal ‘pure’ item that can hold and transmit ramat. In the system of Ainu religion inaw is a universal sacrifice, i.e.: a bridge between the world of people and the world of kamuy, a bridge through which ramat can flow from the world of kamuy to the world of people.

Keywords: Ainu; Ainu religion; inaw; Ainu folklore; ethnosemiotics


Some preliminary notes on the Neolithic textile of the territories of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad oblast

Nadya Efimova

The question of reconstruction of clothing is one of the most important parts of reconstruction of everyday life of Neolithic people of the territories of Petersburg and Leningrad oblast, but we have no evidence of textile manufacturing in these territories. And therefore it is possible to turn to the material of Narva culture that had regular contacts with people who lived in the territories of Petersburg and Leningrad oblast in Neolithic epoch (for instance, in the site of Okhta 1 have been found amber adornments originated from Narva culture). In Narva culture existed textile manufacturing: upon the sites of Šventoji and Sarnate have been tools which can be interpreted as textile tools and a fragment of textile made of linden. Thus, it is possible to state that Neolithic people who lived upon the territories of Petersburg and Leningrad oblast could regularly see textiles and very likely could manufacture it.

Keywords: Neolithic textile; Neolithic period of Northwest of Russia; Narva culture



CAES Vol. 5, № 3


Editor’s foreword

Think pieces:

Comparing ornaments of Volosovo and Lyalovo potteries by Monte Carlo method

Alexander Akulov

The technocomplex of Volosovo is supposed to be a continuation of Lyalovo technocomplex. In this paper degree of similarity of potteries of Volosovo and Lyalovo is estimated by Monte Carlo method. Have been taken two sets of potsherds of Volosovo technocomplex (Chernaya Gora and Volodary) and two sets of potsherds of Lyalovo technocomplex (Biserovo Ozero and Nikola-Perevoz). Index of correlation of Chernaya Gora and Volodary is 0.19, that of Biserovo Ozero and Nikola-Perevoz is 0.46, that of Chernaya Gora and Biserovo Ozero is 0.52, that of Chernaya Gora and Nikola-Perevoz is 0.3, that of Volodary and Biserovo Ozero is 0.24, that of Volodary and Nikola-Perevoz is 0.22.  Considered sites of Volosovo technocomplex are closer to the sites of Lyalovo technocomplex than to each other.

Keywords: Volosovo technocomplex; Lyalovo technocomplex; Neolithic pottery

Akulov_Lyalovo and Volosovo

Yeniseian languages and Ainu-Minoan stock

Alexander Akulov

Ainu-Minoan stock consists of the following languages/families: Ainu, Great Andamanese, Sino-Tibetan, Northwest Caucasian, Hattic, and Minoan. In order to resolve the question: whether the Yeniseian family belongs to Ainu-Minoan stock in this paper Verbal Grammar Correlation Index (VGCI) is applied to Ket and Hattic. VGCI can completely answer the question: whether certain languages are related. VGCI is a conjunction of two indexes: grammatical meanings sets correlation index and index of correlation of positional distributions of common meanings. If a value of VGCI is about 0.4 or more then languages are related; if a value of VGCI is about 0.3 or less then languages are not related. VGCI of Ket and Hattic is 0.38, so they belong to the same stock. Due to the transitivity of relatedness Yeniseian family belongs to the Ainu-Minoan stock. Yeniseian family seems to be closer to the Western branch of Ainu-Minoan stock.

Keywords: Ainu-Minoan stock; Yeniseian family; Hattic language; Ket language; Verbal Grammar Correlation Index; comparative linguistics


Sizes and parameters of the late Neolithic logboat found by A.A. Inostrantsev in the southern coast of Lake Ladoga (preliminary notes)

Alexander Akulov,  Nadya Efimova

A fragment of a late Neolithic logboat was found by A. A. Inostrantsev during the constructing of the New Syas canal that took place in 1878 – 1880. The fragment is supposed to be a stern part. The boat was made of oak. The total length of the logboat was no less than 350 cm. For the manufacturing of such a boat is required a trunk with a diameter of at least 75 cm (without bark) and the distance from the bottom of the tree to the crown should be at least 4 m. There were two bulkheads which were carved from the same tree as the boat and were not inserted later, so they were an integral part of the boat. The middle section was intended for the rower; bow and stern sections could be used for some cargoes. The boat was intended for navigation in quiet water.

Keywords: logboat; Neolithic boat; experimental archaeology


An attempt to estimate the change of correlation index that happens in comparing ornamental traditions by the Monte Carlo method

Tresi Nonno

Monte Carlo method allows us to estimate the correlation index of two sets of randomly broken potsherds. A problem of the method is that conclusions about the degree of proximity can strongly depend on amounts of potsherds/elements in the compared sets. In order to clarify this point and to check whether a correction coefficient can be inserted into the formula of Monte Carlo some experiments of comparison of model sets have been made. Have been compared two sets modeling real sets of potsherds: one set (A) had 5 elements and another set (B) 7 elements, then the number of elements of A gradually decreased by one element upon each step and were made comparison of different variants of new A with B. Now the received results don’t represent any regularity, it isn’t possible to speak about correction coefficients and experiments should be continued.

Keywords: mathematical semiotics; ornaments of pottery; semiotics

Nonno_Monte Carlo_change_estimation

The procedure of comparison of entire vessels ornamentations

In this paper is described a procedure of comparing of ornamentations of entire vessels. Ornaments are the same systems as grammars of languages: any ornament is <A; Ω> pair, where A is a set of ornamental elements and Ω is a set of positional distributions elements of A, thus, comparing of ornaments is the same procedure as comparing of languages. The scheme of comparison is the following: 1) should be compared sets of elements forming ornaments: should be estimated the proximity index of two sets of ornamental elements; 2) should be estimated the proximity index of positional distributions of common elements (elements of a certain ornament can be localized in top, middle and/or bottom of a vessel); 3) the proximity index of two ornaments is a superposition of proximity index of sets of ornamental elements and the proximity index of positional distributions of common elements.

Keywords: ornaments of pottery; mathematical semiotics; semiotics


CAES Vol. 5, № 2


Think pieces:

Comparing ornaments of the Pit-Comb Ware from the site of Okhta 1 and the sites of Hepojarvi and Toksovo by Monte Carlo method

Alexander Akulov

The sites of Hepojarvi, Toksovo and Okhta 1 are connected by the Okhta river, so they could belong to the same local group. In order to estimate the degree of proximity of these sites Monte Carlo method of comparing ornamental traditions of pottery was applied to the corresponding sets of potsherds. The degree of proximity of Okhta 1 and Hepojarvi is 0.47; that of Okhta 1 and Toksovo is 0.49. The degree of proximity of Hepojarvi and Toksovo is 0.43, that of Razliv 4 and Razliv 6 is 0.49. Hepojarvi and Toksovo, Razliv 4 and Razliv 5 are sites evidently belonged to the same local group. Ornamental traditions of pottery of Okhta 1 and those of Hepojarvi and Toksovo demonstrate noteworthy resemblance, thus it is possible to conclude that these sites belonged to the same local group.

Keywords: Pit-Comb Ware; Hepojarvi; Toksovo; Okhta 1; Neolithic pottery ornamentation

Akulov_Hepojarvi and Okhta

Some results of the reconstruction of the technology of firing of Neolithic pottery of Northwest Russia

Alexander Akulov, Nadya Efimova

Conditions of successful firing of pottery in a bonfire are the following: 1) dry and warm weather; 2) a dry place for a bonfire: sand is better than humified soil, forest area is better than seashore or bank of river/lake; 3) a sufficient amount of properly prepared firewood (small firewood is better than large); 4) the place of firewood and the vessels should be warmed up no less than one hour; 5) when the vessels are put upon the coals they should be covered by brushwood as soon as possible; 6) after the vessels are covered by brushwood the fire should be let to burn naturally, but not to be fanned; 7) the vessels should be constantly covered by brushwood/firewood; 8) after three hours of active firing it is possible to stop supporting the fire and take pottery out of the ashes when it cools; 9) the absence of any distractions.

Keywords: Neolithic pottery firing; Neolithic pottery; experimental archaeology


Headscarf as a marker of femininity in modern Russian culture (some preliminary notes)

Yelena Kolesnikova

In Modern Russian culture a woman wearing a skirt or dress is usually perceived as more feminine than a woman in pants. Women who wear skirts/dresses and headscarves are perceived as super feminine women. The headscarf was the traditional headdress of married women in the Russian village, where the position of the woman was rather powerless and submissive. In Russian Orthodox Church headscarf remains mandatory for women; headscarf is the sign of woman obedience to her husband and to god. After about 70 years of communist rule and forced eradication of many archaic issues of society, the headscarf is mostly an element of fashion and/or convenient item of clothing rather than a marker of social status. However, headscarf still is a kind of marker of super-femininity, super-obedience to the male world.

Keywords:  femininity; headscarf; gender stereotypes; fashion; anthropology of clothing


Ainu copula and verbs of existence

Tresi Nonno

Copula verb links the subject of a sentence with a predicate that is expressed by a noun. Copula usually is in the same time verb of existence. In Ainu the situation is rather unique since Ainu has a special verb – ne that expresses only copular meanings and can’t be used to express the meanings of existence or presence. The same situation is in Chinese, and it seems that such grammatical feature is rather characteristic for whole Ainu-Minoan stock (to which Ainu and Sino-Tibetan languages belong). Also it is possible to suppose that singular form of verb “to exist”, “to be in a place” used with animate nouns – an, verb “to dwell in a place” – un, and copula – ne can be derivatives of the same ancient form; however, now even approximate view of this form can’t be reconstructed anyhow, and it is a matter of further researches.

Keywords: copula; verbs of existence; Ainu language; Ainu language history; Ainu-Minoan stock


Whether there were kings in Minoan Crete?

Tresi Nonno

Evans suggested that the Minoan state was ruled by kings. However, there are no recordings about Minoan kings and Minoan frescoes demonstrate no figures which could be interpreted as kings unlike, for instance, Akkadian or ancient Egyptian art. Samples of Minoan languages represented in London Medical papyrus can be decoded by Hattic language, that is related with Northwest Caucasian languages, which are related to Sino-Tibetan family, that is related to Ainu. Thus, we can speak about Ainu-Minoan stock. Anarchist tendencies are rather well developed in cultures of different ethnicities speaking languages of the Ainu-Minoan stock; the most notable examples are Kaska, Natukhai, Taoist movements in China, and Ainu. Thus, it is possible to suppose that in Minoan culture anarchist tendencies also were rather well developed, and there probably were no kings in Minoan culture. However, until there are no explicit facts (sources) we can only make assumptions.

Keywords: Minoan society; Ainu-Minoan stock; Anarchism



CAES Vol. 5, № 1


Editor’s foreword


Comparison ornaments of the Pit-Comb Ware from some Neolithic sites of the Southern part of Karelian Isthmus by Monte Carlo method  

Alexander Akulov

Monte Carlo method estimates the degree of proximity of ornaments of ceramics by comparing frequencies of imprints: the higher is the correlation degree the closer are corresponding ornamental traditions. The method has been applied to the pottery of the following Neolithic sites of Southern part of Karelian Isthmus: Razliv 1, Razliv 2, Razliv 4, Razliv 5, Razliv 7, Glinyanyi Ruchei, Sosnovaya Gora, Tarkhovka, Toksovo, and Hepojarvi. All these sites belong to the same technocomplex. The average degree of similarity inside this set of sites is 0.37, while the average degree of similarity of Tarkhovka, Razliv 2 and Razliv 4 is 0.58. Also, the degree of similarity between Tarkhovka and Toksovo is 0.49. Tarkhovka, Razliv 2, Razliv 4 and Toksovo seem to be settlements belonged to the same local group/family: Tarkhovka, Razliv 2, Razliv 4 located upon seashore were summer settlements, Toksovo located in a forest area was a winter settlement.

Keywords: Pit-Comb Ware; Karelian Isthmus; Neolithic pottery; archaeology; Monte Carlo method


Think pieces

Comparing ornaments of pottery by Monte Carlo method

Alexander Akulov,  Tresi Nonno

If there are two randomly selected sets of randomly broken potsherds it isn’t possible to restore entire ornaments, but it is possible to conclude about the most frequent imprints only. The most frequent imprints are supposed to be the most characteristic imprints of a certain ceramic tradition. And thus, comparing the frequency of different imprints we can conclude about the proximity of ornamental traditions of pottery and then about the proximity of corresponding technocomplexes. To estimate correlation degree of two sets of potsherds we should do the following procedures: 1) to estimate correlation degree of sets of represented imprints, 2) to estimate correlation degree of percentages of common imprints (imprints belonging to each of compared sets), 3) to take a superposition of two degrees of correlation. The closer are certain traditions of ornamentation the higher is the corresponding degree of correlation.

Keywords: ornaments of pottery; mathematical semiotics; Monte Carlo method

Akulov_Nonno_Monte Carlo

Semiotic stream of communication in the era of prosumer culture    

Hsiao-Cheng (Sandrine) Han

Social media has changed how people connect and communicate with each other. Many people might think visual communication is more concrete and easier to understand because images are expected to resemble the object they represent. However, the process of visual communication may encounter conflicts when the information is abstract. Social media users are becoming prosumers: people who can view, create, and recreate visual imagery to contribute to the content of social media. In the prosumer culture, is there a certain starting point in the semiotic stream of communication? Visual communication in prosumer culture requires more studies to unfold.

Keywords: Semiotic stream of communication; prosumer culture; communicative heptad

Han_Semiotic stream

Contemporary situation of Khanty language   

Marija Launonen

Khanty language faces numerous problems and tasks relating to dialect diversity, a small number of speakers, tensions between dialects, administrative divisions, education possibilities, urbanization and use of language in the contemporary world. A way that can be proposed to overcome these problems is to follow a Saami example in a decentralized approach to dialects, implementing online long-distance learning platforms. Several Khanty dialects are vigorously used among all age groups and have undisrupted intergenerational transmission, and the question in these cases, therefore, is about strengthening the language positions, not about reviving or revitalization. But there are few other dialects, where questions of reviving and revitalization are urgent questions.

Keywrords: Khanty language; language revitalization; Surgut idiom of Khanty language


African dress: performance 

Yuliya Vorotilova

The article is devoted to the diversity of performances with traditional West African cloth. Inspired by Africa, made with a technique derived from Indonesian Batik, designed in the Netherlands, wax prints heritage and design signature is a multicultural melting pot of beauty and industrial craftsmanship. Kente cloth – is a key symbolic as well as practical significance in Ghanian culture. Original kente is a status symbol of wealth and identity as it is a luxurious and expensive fabric. Today kente cloth is worn by many people who regard it as a symbol of African pride and dignity and some people use it to express their feelings through performances.

Keywords: kente cloth; wax cloth; identity; performance


CAES Vol. 4, № 4


Editor’s foreword


Comparing Çatalhöyük with the palace of Knossos by matrix-vector method

Alexander Akulov

Çatalhöyük and the palace of Knossos look much alike: they both seem to be samples of the same architectural tradition. Matrix-vector method represents the plan of any building as a 3D vector and allows estimating degree of resemblance of any buildings: the higher is the degree of resemblance the more alike are plans of corresponding buildings. The degree of resemblance of Çatalhöyük and the palace of Knossos of the Protopalatial stage is 0.88; that of the palace of Knossos and the house of Myrtos is 0.57; that of the palace of Knossos and Villa Alpha is 0.73; that of the palace of Knossos and the palace of Pylos is 0.81. Thus, the palace of Knossos is closer to Çatalhöyük than to the palace of Pylos and to samples of earlier Minoan architecture.

Keywords: Knossos; Anatolian – Minoan connection; Çatalhöyük; Minoan architecture; topology


Think pieces

An attempt to reconstruct the technology of making of the Pit-Comb Ware

Alexander Akulov, Nadya Efimova

The Pit-Comb Ware was produced without a wheel. The potter builds up the vessel from the top to the bottom putting one coil of clay upon another. The technique of coiling allows the potter to control the thickness of the walls. When the vessel is generally formed then so-called paddle and anvil technique should be performed. The technique is a very important part of the process since it helps to remove voids and to make the vessel be more firm. Vessels which haven’t been undergone the paddle and anvil stage can easily break during firing. Next step is smoothing the surface of the vessel with shell and with fingers. And the last step is ornamentation.

Keywords: Pit-Comb Ware; coiling; experimental archaeology


An experiment of the firing of some samples of the Pit-Comb Ware in a bonfire

Alexander Akulov, Nadya Efimova

The process of Pit-Comb Ware is badly described in the corresponding literature. In order to understand the temperature and the regime of Pit-Comb Ware firing an experiment was performed. Five reconstructed samples of Pit-Comb Ware were fired in a bonfire set in a steel can for about 11 hours. The temperature varied from 800 Cº to 1500 Cº. Two of five vessels broke. The temperature during the process of firing should be more stable, serious oscillation of temperature helps appearing cracks and doesn’t help normal firing. It looks like Neolithic people fired their pottery with the temperature of about 900 – 1000 Cº. Also a more dry and stable weather should be chosen for the process of firing.

Keywords: Pit-Comb Ware; experimental archaeology; Neolithic pottery technology


Images of androgynous beings of Jōmon epoch

Tresi Nonno

Jōmon dogū are anthropomorphic and zoomorphic clay figurines which are found in Japan in layers of Jōmon period (13000 – 300 BCE). Their meanings and functions are unknown; generally, they can’t be sources for learning something about Jōmon life. However, if, for instance, a dogū depicts wild boar it is logical to conclude that wild boars were important for Jōmon people. There are some anthropomorphic dogū which have breasts and a vertical line running upward from genital area to breast. This line looks like an erected penis. It is possible to state that dogū with breasts and penises are depictions of androgynous beings. It isn’t possible to say whether these figurines depict deities, but it seems that androgynous beings were an important part of Jōmon people worldview.

Keywords: Jōmon; dogū; Ainu; androgynous beings; people of converted gender; LGBT


African textiles seen by different eyes

Yuliya Vorotilova

When the Western world first saw African art in 1900-s it was viewed as strange and exotic. Items of African art, the booty of colonial wars, influenced Picasso, Matisse, and Modigliani and changed the course of 20th– century art. Textiles – whether hand-woven, factory – printed, resist-dyed, stamped or embroidered – are arguably the most obvious visible signifier of culture throughout the African continent, or for that matter wherever in the world people of African descent have settled. It is ultimately Africans as consumer – critics who will keep African arts at high aesthetic standards, even if the aesthetic ideology may be constantly evolving.

Keywords: African cloth; kente cloth; Art