Mizyn archeological site

Image - Mizyn: mammoth-bone dwelling (reconstruction). Image - Mizyn: mammoth-bone dwelling (reconstruction). Image - A mammoth-bone bracelet excavated at the Mizyn archeological site. Image - A Paleolithic bracelet excavated in Mizyn, Chernihiv oblast, ca 15,000 BC (incised mammoth bone).

Mizyn archeological site [Мізинська стоянка, Mizynska stoianka]. An Upper Paleolithic site located on the right bank of the Desna River near the village of Mizyn, Korop raion, Chernihiv oblast. Discovered in 1908, the site is one of the most important and better known examples of Magdalenian culture in Ukraine. It is estimated to be ca 18,000 years old. The site was excavated in 1908–16 by Fedir Vovk, Petro P. Yefymenko, and Levko Chykalenko, but any serious study of it was made impossible by the First World War and later the Ukrainian-Soviet War, 1917–21. Excavations of the site resumed in 1930 under the leadership of Mykhailo Rudynsky. After the Second World War the site was studied by such archeologists as Ivan Shovkoplias and Serhii Bibikov. Five circular dwellings were discovered at the site, the largest being 6 m in diameter. The dwellings were constructed by using wooden poles which were covered with animal skins and reinforced by mammoth bones or tusks. The inhabitants hunted mammoths, deer, and other animals. Approximately 113,000 pieces of flint were uncovered, of which 4,500 could be identified as tools; spear tips and needles were also found in considerable quantities. Many artefacts were excavated, including stylized sculptures of women and animals (particularly mammoths). Geometric decorative motifs were found on the female sculptures as well as on bone bracelets found at the site, including the earliest known depiction of a meandering ornament and of a swastika. Some examples of shell jewelry were also excavated. Some mammoth-bone artefacts were identified by archeologists (S. Bibikov) as some of the oldest known musical instruments. The collection is now housed in Kyiv at the Archeological Museum of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the National Museum of the History of Ukraine. Today the Mizyn archeological site constitutes part of the Mizyn National Nature Park established in 2006.

Shovkoplias, Ivan. Mezynskaia stoianka. K istorii Srednedneprovskogo basseina v pozdnepaeloticheskuiu epokhu (Kyiv 1965)
Frolov, B. K interpretatsii mezynskogo geometricheskogo ornamenta (Moscow 1975)
Bibikov, Serhii. Drevneishii muzykal'nyi kompleks iz kostei mamonta: Ocherk materiial'noi i dukhovnoi kul'tury paleoliticheskogo cheloveka (Kyiv 1981)
Sergin, V. Struktura Mezynskogo paleoliticheskogo poseleniia (Moscow 1987)

Marko Robert Stech

[This article was updated in 2020.]

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