Sergei Arutyunov (Sergei Aleksandrovich Arutiunov) is a contemporary distinguished Russian scholar in the field of Arctic archaeology and anthropology. His primary research focus has been Arctic studies, although he has also conducted research on Japanese culture and history and the anthropology of Asia.
Arutyunov, along with native anthropologist Dorian Sergeev, excavated several important archaeological sites on the Chukchi Peninsula, combining this research with studies of contemporary Siberian ethnography. The most prominent of the sites he and Sergeev excavated included Old Bering Sea Culture burial grounds Uelen and Ekven in East Asia. With his colleagues Igor Krupnik and Mikhail Chlenov, Arutyunov conducted research at Whale Bone Alley, an equally significant site on Yttygran Island, off the southeastern shore of the Chukchi Peninsula. These three sites yielded rich material of tremendous importance for the understanding of developmental trends of Neo-Eskimo culture, the social structure of the people who left them, and their artistic creativity.
The chief focus of Arutyunov's publications on Siberian archaeology, many of which he published
with Sergeev, was the evolution of sea-mammal harpoon hunting. Arutyunov argued that this technology derived from the earlier techniques of spear hunting for fish and for reindeer at river crossings, which often utilized microblades inserted into the spear points. He also proposed connections between early Eskimo traditions and those of the Ymyyakhtakh Culture circles, mainly in the North of Yakutia, particularly as represented by remains found at the Burulgino site near the Yana River mouth. Another of Arutyunov's essential contributions was his charting the development of harpoon-head construction by means of the cultural mutations caused by the search for increasingly productive modifications of harpoon heads and other related technology. In addition to extensive fieldwork in the Chukchi Peninsula, the Arctic and Subarctic areas, Arutyunov conducted ethnographic research in the lower basins of Pechora, Ob, and Yenisei rivers, and on the island of Hokkaido, the northernmost of the four islands of Japan.
In 1987, Arutyunov accompanied an archaeological team from the Museum of Oriental Arts in Moscow conducting fieldwork on the Chukchi Peninsula, principally at the ancient burial ground of Ekven. That summer, he formally handed over his leadership of archaeological studies on the Chukchi Peninsula to this team led by Kirill Dneprovsky and Mikhail Bronshtein. The collections from Arutyunov's excavations prior to 1987 were deposited at the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in St Petersburg; those from the 1987 and subsequent excavations are housed jointly in the Museum of Oriental Arts in Moscow and the Chukchi District Museum in Anadyr.
Ceremonial site of Arutyunov s excavations, Whale Bone Alley, Yttygran Island, Chutkotka, Siberia.
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