13:13 GMT27 January 2021
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    In the study, the archaeologists used the systematic spade sounding method, where the region is divided into a grid, and at each grid point a probe is dug. If any of the probes contains cultural material, an additional series of probes is dug around it.

    Archaeologists at Tyumen State University (UTMN) used an effective new method to recreate the pattern of settlement in the South Ural steppes during the Bronze Age. The study results were published in Archaeological Research in Asia magazine.

    The UTMN archaeologists have restored the paleo-demographic picture in the Bronze Age South Ural steppes (3500-800 BC), recreating the spatial and quantitative structure of the human communities that lived in that area. According to the scientists, the data obtained will help answer questions about the long-term trajectories of socio-political development, both in the study region and in the world.

    "We are comparing the new method with what was previously used: aerial photography, the collection of artefact remains, laying pits with an area of 1x1 m or more. This method turned out to be more effective in terms of paleo-demographic reconstructions than those used by our predecessors. In particular, we’ve discovered three new settlements in the territory, which had been examined many times before", Denis Sharapov, a research fellow at the Institute of Ecological and Agricultural Biology (X-BIO) of Tyumen State University, said.

    Spade sounding doesn’t require any expensive special equipment. According to Sharapov, Russian archaeologists can take advantage of the new technique and improve the quality of scientific research.

    The next stage will be the popularisation of systematic spade sounding in northern Eurasia, with the help of international publications and conferences.

    Eurasia, archeology, Russia
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