In 2012, Polish archaeologist from Jagiellonian University, Łukasz Oleszczak, with the great help from professor Jan Chochorowski, initiated the cooperation between the Russian and Polish researchers within the framework of the joint field projects in Gorny Altai. Thanks to the invitation to the cooperation with Andriey P. Borodovskiy (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Science, Siberian Branch in Novosibirsk), in the 2012-2016 several expeditions to the Northern Altai were organized.
In the course of the joint Russian (headed by prof. Andriey P. Borodovskiy) and Polish (headed by Łukasz Oleszczak) archeological expeditions in Gorny Altai, over a dozen of the burial mounds of the Scythian Pazyryk and Kara-Koby cultures were explored (Chultukov Log-1 cemetery, dated to 6th-2nd century BC). The cemetery is comprised of 123 barrows and flat inhumations. It is considered to be one of the biggest nomadic burial grounds in the Upper Altai and Sayan Mountains found so far. Furthermore, the graveyard was not robbed, like many others in this region. The barrows were circular in shape and relatively flat (about 0.2-0.3 m high), the diameters range from 4 to 13 m. The main chamber was located in the middle of the large circle that was built of irregular boulders (the so-called crepidoma). Barrows are sited in binary pairs, in clusters or arranged in a straight N-S running lines. Collected material is considered to be representative for major nomadic cultural traditions of the Scythian period in the Manzherok region. The cemetery is associated with three archaeological cultures that inhabited the territory of Northern Altai in the Early Iron Age, but they seem to represent distinct ethnic groups: the Pazyryk culture, the Bystrianka culture, the Kara Koba cultural tradition.
In the course of the joint expeditions of the archaeologists form Novosibirsk and Cracow, the excavations on the settlement of Chultukov Log-9 of the Xiongnu-Xianbei-Rouran period (or Hunno-Sarmatian times) were also organized. This settlement is currently one of the better studied sites of the Maima culture, which makes it one of the most important sources for researching the Hunnic period settlement in the Upper Altai. In 2012-2016 an archaeological excavation was conducted on the site. 42 archaelogical features, included hearths, huts, pits and post-holes were discovered. Although only a relatively small part of the site has been explored (approx. 220 m2 out of about 5000 m2), this area alone yielded 2750 artefacts and 4790 animal bones. Of particular importance among the portable artefacts is undoubtedly the collection of bone objects retrieved from the settlement, surely ranking among the most important sources for studies on this branch of craftsmanship in Southern Siberia. The field research was supplemented with laboratory analyses (paleobotanical, radiocarbon dating, isotopic analyses).
This research was supported by a grant received from the Polish National Centre of Science, program PRELUDIUM Northern Altai in the Early Iron Age (grant number: UMO-2014/13/N/HS3/04630).