Phytolith research in the South of Western Siberia

M. Yu. Solomonova, M. M. Silantyeva, N. Yu. Speranskaya


The research of modern and fossil soils was conducted at three archaeological sites: Nizhniy Kayancha, Novoilinka-3, and Tytkesken-2. Nizhniy Kayancha is a burial ground (dated 5th century BC) situated on the left bank of the Katun River (400-700 m above sea level). An archaeological site is a burial mound with seven mounds which can be visually separated within the site, and which are placed by small chains with 2–3 objects. The south mound of the first group was examined for a phytolith analysis. Еhe Novoilinka-3 settlement (dated 3rd millennium BC) is situated in the north of Kulunda, in the southern part of a hill formed by the false River Burla. The Tytkesken-2 settlement is situated on the verge of the stream Tytkesken, the left tributary of the Katun River, on its second terrace above the flood plain.

Geobotanical research was conducted in the territory of the archaeological sites under study. Grass phytoliths of modern flora were examined. Soil samples from different layers of the walls of excavation sites were collected. Phytolith extraction was based on the methods described by A.A. Golyeva. 20 g of soil, and 100 g of plant material of each species were processed during the initial period. The examination of the phytoliths of leaves, stalks and flower heads from the samples obtained from the plant material was carried out with the help of an optical microscope (Olympus BX-51). The phytoliths were counted to 250 (in ashed plants) and to 300 (in soils) particles.

More mesophytic plant communities of the ancient epochs have been reconstructed for all three examined archaeological sites. The territory of the Nizhniy Kayancha burial ground was covered by birch forest at the time prior to formation of the archaeological site. The territory of Novoilinka-3 settlement was covered by pine and birch steppificated forest in the Eneolithic period, but the territory was deforested as the settlement developed. Several stages of vegetation change have been reconstructed for the Tytkesken-2 archaeological site. This includes deforestation of pine forest and further steppe formation in the late Neolithic Age, prairiefication in the Eneolithic Age and new steppe formation in the Bronze Age up to the present time.


phytolith; grasses; Neolith; Eneolith; Scythian period

Full Text:



Ball, T.B., Gardner, J.S., Anderson, N. (1999). Identifying inflorescence phytoliths from selected species of wheat (Triticum monococcum, T. dicoccon, T. dicoccoides, and T. aestivum) and barley (Hordeum vulgare and H. spontaneum). American Journal of Botany, 86(11), 1615-1623.

Bremond, L., Alexandre, А., Peyron, O., Guiot, J. (2005). Grass water stress estimated from phytoliths in West Africa. Journal of Biogeography (J. Biogeogr.), 32, 311–327.

Bremond L., Alexandre, A., Wooller, M.J., Hély, Ch., Williamson, D., Schäfer, P.A., Majule, A., Guiot, J. (2008). Phytolith indices as proxies of grass subfamilies on East African tropical mountains. Global and Planetary Change, 61, 209–224.

Carnelli, A.L., Theurillat, J.-P., Madella, M. (2004). Phytolith types and type-frequencies in subalpine–alpine plant species of the European Alps. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 129, 39-65

Fernandez, H.M., Zucol, A.F., Osterrith, M.L. (2006). Phytolith Assemblages and Systematic Associations in Grassland Species of the South-Eastern Pampean Plains, Argentina. Annals of Botany, 98, 1155-1165.

Fredlund, G., Tieszen, L.T. (1994). Modern phytolith assemblages from the North American Great Plains. Journal of Biogeography, 21, 321–335

Golyeva, A.A. (2001). Fitolity i ikh informatsionnaya rol v izuchenii prirodnykh i arkheologicheskikh obyektov. Elista, Syktyvkar (in Russian).

Hodson, M.J., Williams, S.E. & Sangster, A.G. (1997). Silica deposition in needles gymnosperms. I. Chemical analysis and light microscopy. En Monografías del Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales, 4, CSIC, Madrid.

Kiryushin, K.Yu. (2004). Kulturno-khronologicheskiye kompleksy poseleniya Tytkesken-2, Novosibirsk (in Russian).

Kiryushin, Yu.F., Goleva, A.A., Semibratov, V.P., Kiryushin, K.Yu. (2012). The soil and the microbiomorfic recearches on the Tavdinsky Grotto in 2010. Vestnik altaiskoy nauki, 1, 123-127 (in Russian).

Kiryushin, Yu.F., Kiryushin, K.Yu., Goleva, A.A., Silantyeva, M.M., Semibratov, V.P. (2013). Arheobotanical and phytolith research in the settlement of Biryuzovaya Katun VII. Tomsk State University Journal of History, 4(24), 10-14 (in Russian).

Kiryushin, K.Yu., Sitnikov, S.M., Semibratov, V.P., Gelmel, Yu.I. (2011). Poseleniye Novoilyinka-III - pamyatnik eneolita Kulundy. Trudy III (XIX) Vserossyskogo arkheolo-gicheskogo syezda, I, 226-227 (in Russian).

Kuminova, A.V., Vagina, T.V., Lapshina, Ye.I. (1963). Geobotanicheskoye rayonirovaniye yugo-vostoka Zapadno-Sibirskoy nizmennosti. Rastitelnost stepnoy i lesostepnoy zon Zapadnoy Sibiri. Proceedings Central Siberain Botanical Garden 6. SOAN SSSR, Novosibirsk, 35-61 (in Russian).

Lu H., Liu K-b. (2003). Phytoliths of common grasses in the coastal environments of southeastern USA. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 58, 587–600

Nenasheva, G., Silantjeva, M., Michailov, N. (2006). Palinologicalstudy of holocene deposits of rublevo lake (Mikhailovskii district, Altaiskii krai) and their botanical interpretation (pp. 164-168). In Problems of botany of South Siberia and Mongolia, International scientific-practical conference. Barnaul, Russia (in Russian).

Nikolayev, V.A. (1999). Landshafty aziatskikh stepey. Moscow: Moscow State University Press (in Russian).

Ogureyeva, G.N. (1980). Botanicheskaya geografiya Altaya. Moscow, Nauka (in Russian).

Rosen, A.M. (1992). Preliminary identification of silica skeletons from Near Eastern archaeological sites: an anatomical approach (pp. 120-148). In: Rapp, G., Mulholand, S.C. (Eds.), Phytolith Systematics. Plenum Press, New York.

Serebryakov, I.G. (1964). Zhiznennyie formyi vyisshih rasteniy i ih izuchenie. Polevaya geobotanika [V.], 3, 146-205 (in Russian).

Silantyeva, M.M., Yelesova N.V. (2014). Tipologicheskiye osobennosti flor. Barnaul. Altai State University Press (in Russian).

Silantyeva, M.M., Speranskaya N.Ju., Galtsova T.V. (2013). The variety of phytoliths of species of the genus Setaria in the south of Western Siberia. The news of Altai State University, 3-2(79), 99-102 (in Russian).

Speranskaja, N.Ju., Grebennikova, A.Ju. (2013). The phytoliths analysis of meadow steppes and alkali-saline plant communities of the reserve “Ozero Bolshoi Tassor”, Privolzhsky nauchny vestnik, 6(22), 17-22 (in Russian).

Speranskaja, N.Ju., Solomonova, M.Ju., Silantyeva, M.M. (2014). Diversity of the feather-grass (Stipa) phytoliths in the south of Western Siberia. The news of Altai State University, 3-1(83), 89-94 (in Russian).

Speranskaja, N.Ju., Solomonova, M.Ju., Silantyeva, M.M. (2013). Trichomes and vane phytoliths of plants as possible indicator mesophit communites in the reconstruction of vegetation. Privolzhsky nauchny vestnik, 11(27), 40-46 (in Russian).

Tishkin, A.A., Kiryushin, K.Yu., Semibratov, V.P. (2011). Predmetnyy kompleks iz pamyatnika skifo-sakskogo vremeni Nizhnyaya Kayancha na Altae. Problemy rkheologii, etnografii, antropologii sibiri i sopredelnykh territoriy, XVII, 243-247 (in Russian).

Torn, V.C. (2004). An annotated bibliography of phytolith analysis and atlas of selected New Zelend subsntarctic and subalpine phytoliths. Antarctic Data Series No 29, Wellington.

Twiss, P.C. (1992). Predicted world distribution of C3 and C4 grass phytoliths (pp. 113-128). In: Rapp, G.R., Mulholland, S.C. (Eds.), Phytoliths systematics: emerging issues. Advance Archaeological Museum Science, vol. 1. Plenum Press, New York.

Twiss, P.C., Suess, E., Smith, R.M. (1969). Morphological Classification of Grass Phytoliths. Reprinted from the Soil Science Society of America Proceedings, 33(1), 109-117

Volkova, V.S., Levina, T.P. (1985). Rastitelnost golotsena Zapadnoy Sibiri po palinologicheskim dannym (pp. 186-192). In Razvitiye prirody territorii SSSR v pozdnem pleystotsene i golotsene (in Russian).


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

© 2017 Ukrainian Journal of Ecology. ISSN 2520-2138