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Bridging the Boreal Forest

Siberian Archaeology and the Emergence of Pottery among Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of Northern Eurasia

Kevin Gibbs and Peter Jordan

Keywords: dispersals; Early Holocene; hunter-gatherers; Hyperborean stream; Late Pleistocene; pottery origins

This article examines Siberia's increasingly important role in the study of the emergence of pottery across northern Eurasia. The world's earliest pottery comes from Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer sites in East Asia. This material is typically seen as disconnected from later pottery traditions in Europe, which are generally associated with sedentary farmers. However, new evidence suggests that Asian and European pottery traditions may be linked to a Hyperborean stream of hunter-gatherer pottery dispersals that spanned eastern and western Asia, and introduced pottery into the prehistoric societies of northern Europe. As a potential bridge between the eastern and western early pottery traditions, Siberia's prehistory is therefore set to play an increasingly central role in one of world archaeology's most important debates.

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