Saiga antelope hunting in Crimea at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition: The site of Buran-Kaya III Layer 4

François B. Lanoë, Stéphane Péan, Aleksandr Yanevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The Swiderian tradition of the Tanged Point Complex (Late Upper Palaeolithic) is attested in Crimea through a few ill-known sites dated to the Younger Dryas and early Preboreal. Little information on subsistence is available on this period yet; with this article, we present the results of zooarchaeological analyses conducted on the site of Buran-Kaya III Layer 4, in central Crimea. Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica) is the dominant species of the assemblage, followed by red fox (Vulpes vulpes), horse (Equus ferus), and hare (Lepus europaeus). Despise the important presence of canid remains, taphonomic observations as well as archaeological context suggest that human is the main accumulator of saiga antelope remains. Hunter-gatherers likely brought the antelope carcasses whole to the site and performed skinning activity, as well as consumption of meat and bone marrow. Seasonality data from juvenile antelope suggest that the animals were acquired in the late summer or Fall. Based on the ethology of modern populations of saiga antelope, we infer that hunter-gatherers took advantage of the particular geographic setting of the Crimean mountains to efficiently exploit this resource. By drawing comparisons with other known sites of this period, we call attention for future research in exploring the seasonality of subsistence in the Crimea at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-278
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Crimea
  • Preboreal
  • Saiga antelope
  • Swiderian
  • Younger Dryas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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