Dikov Nikolay

Nikolay (Nikolai Nikolayevich) Dikov, a prominent Russian archaeologist of the 20th century, contributed substantially to the systematic study of Russian NorthEast prehistory.

Dikov graduated from Leningrad State University with a degree in history and archaeology. Within the next three years, under the supervision of Alexei P. Okladnikov, he was involved with excavating burial grounds in Zabaykalye (Transbaikal Area). In 1953, he successfully presented his candidate dissertation on the Bronze Age in Transbaikal. In this work, based on the results of excavations and various archives of the 1920s to the 1950s, Dikov depicted the burial materials, made conclusions on economic activities of the Transbaikal population, and specified the burial grounds periodization. In 1958, in Ulan-Ude, he published the dissertation as Bronze Age in Transbaikal Area.

In 1955, seeking an independent research topic, Dikov moved to the Far East, and then to Chukotka, where he worked as the director of the Anadyr Local Museum. In 1956-1959, he surveyed the continental and coastal areas of Chukotka, discovering hundreds of archaeological sites, including camps, settlements, burial grounds, sacrifice grounds, and other objects of ancient hunters for sea mammals and reindeer. He worked in the valley of Chukotka's greatest rivers, such as Anadyr, Amguema, Main, Vankarem, as well as at such lakes as Krasnoye and Chirovoye. The research of the Ust'-Belaya Cemetery and other sites on the Anadyr River allowed Dikov to obtain abundant lithic materials and pottery and thus to distinguish the Neolithic Ust'-Belaya Culture.

In 1956 and 1958, Dikov excavated the Uelen Cemetery, previously studied by Sergei I. Rudenko, Dorian A. Sergeyev, and Mikhail G. Levin. At the cemetery, found and researched Okvik, Old Bering Sea, and Birnirk burials.

From 1958 through 1973, Dikov served as the scientific editor of the Chukotka Local Museum Proceedings, six issues of papers on archaeology, history, and ethnography of Chukotka's peoples.

In 1960, in Magadan, he assumed the chair of the Laboratory of History, Archaeology, and Ethnography in the first interdisciplinary research institute in the Russian North-East. He headed the laboratory for 35 years, until 1995. In the meantime, the area of Dikov's work was greatly expanded. Besides Chukotka, he began studying ancient cultures of Kamchatka and Kolyma, as well as the problems of the origin of ancient cultures and ethnogenesis of Chukchi, Eskimos, Yukagirs, and Koryaks.

In 1961, the first expedition to Kamchatka was arranged. Its route traveled along the Kamchatka

River, where several Neolithic and Old Itel'men sites and settlements were found. Interested in the ancient coins found at Lake Ushki in the valley of the middle Kamchatka River, Dikov conducted excavations that resulted in the discovery of the Stone Age sites containing numerous cultural layers that represented various periods of Kamchatka and North-East prehistory. Cultural layers at the sites were buried under a number of tephra levels from numerous volcano eruptions in the River Kamchatka valley; they were separated from each other with sterile levels that allowed definition of their precise age and material complex composition from Paleolithic to historic Itel'men.

In 1964, after several excavation seasons at the site at the depth of a few meters, the materials of the lower cultural level were exposed, and consequently referred to as the Early Upper Paleolithic Ushki Culture (Dyuktai Tradition) of 13,000 BP that contained stemmed points, unknown in the Siberian Paleolithic. Considering the North American materials of the same age and similar outlook, Dikov assumed that either stemmed point cultures had spread from Asia to America and became the basis of Paleo-Indian cultures or North American cultures had reached Kamchatka in Beringian time. These materials still remain the oldest dated findings in northeast Asia and the North American North. Since the stemmed points found in America are considered younger than those at Ushki, Dikov's hypotheses were criticized by both American and Russian archaeologists, but no satisfactory alternative has yet been offered.

In 1963, the research in Chukotka was resumed. As a result, a number of Paleo-Eskimo camps were discovered and studied. In 1965, large-scale excavations were conducted at the Chini Cemetery belonging to the Old Bering Stage of the Paleo-Eskimo Culture (I—V century AD). Dikov summarized the materials obtained in The Chini Cemetery (1974).

The continued research in River Amguema area, on the Isle of Ayon, and at Lake Chirovoye (Ekiatap Burial Ground) allowed Dikov to distinguish the North Chukotka Neolithic Culture, which is older than the Ust'-Belaya Culture.

In 1964, Dikov was involved with the search for paleolithic sites on the largest of the Komandorsky (Commander) Islands, the Isle of Bering. Finding no sites there led him to conclude that the deep straits between the isles prevented the ground hunters from migrations, and America peoples could not have gone via the Commander and Aleutian islands. He continued the search for its route in the area of Beringia.

In 1967, Dikov started the research of the Pegtymel' petroglyphs on the Pegtymel' River, near the northern coast of Chukotka. They had been found by geologist Nikolai M. Samorukov two years earlier as the first and so far the only rock pictures known in northeast Asia, east of the Lena River valley. They pet-roglyphs expressively presented the life of the ancient people of Chukotka, both sea mammal and reindeer hunters. Hunting scenes, images of animals, and rituals reflect the mode of life of the Chukotka people. Dikov published the results of this investigation in 1971 in the monograph Mysteries in the Rock of Ancient Chukotka: Petroglyphs of Pegtymel.

In 1972, Dikov successfully presented his doctoral dissertation on the ancient cultures of Kamchatka and Chukotka, earning his second advanced degree. The dissertation was published in the two-volume monograph Ancient Cultures of Northeast Asia (1977, 1979).

In 1972—1975, he conducted excavations of the Siberdik and Kongo sites in Kolyma, discovering a large number of pebble tools. On the basis of Charles Borden's findings of reportedly 12,000-year-old pebble tools on the Fraser River and Alexei P. Okladnikov's data on even older pebble tool findings in Amur, Dikov hypothesized that the Kolyma pebble cultures represented the later relic of the intermediate stage that had existed there in the past. Today, the age of the Fraser pebble tools is not considered as old as originally assumed, and the specificity of the Amur and Kolyma pebble tools has been doubted as well.

Dikov correlated some materials from Kymynanonvyvaam, Chukotka, with the findings from the Diring Yuryakh Site on Lena and the Calico Site in America, of hypothetically greater antiquity. But the inexpressiveness of the supposedly ancient artifacts collected from the surface at the basic flint sources makes this assumption unlikely.

In 1975, Dikov conducted research on Wrangel Island. At the southeastern coast of the island, in Krasin Bay, next to the old walrus rookery, he excavated the Paleo-Eskimo Chyortov Ovrag (Devil's Log) Site dated by the end of the second millennium BC. Among stone points, knives, scrapers, and other tools found there, Dikov specifically marked the toggling ivory harpoon, the oldest of those found in the Arctic.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Dikov continued to excavate the Ushki sites, discovering, among other things, a large settlement consisting of at least 40 dwellings that had functioned in various periods. Thirteen of these dwellings were semi-subterranean, with ring-shaped hearths and corridors. Some dwellings with hearths had been superimposed, with excavations revealing layers of dwellings from different cultural time periods for several generations. Inside and outside the dwellings, a few human burial grounds and one dog burial ground were found. The tools of this culture, which consist of wedge-shaped cores, microb-lades, and thin leaf-shaped points, allow archaeologists to assume that its people had bows and arrows.

In almost all Dikov's expeditions to Chukotka, Kamchatka, and Kolyma undertaken between 1962 and 1980, his wife Tamara M. Dikova (1933-1981) took part and conducted her own archaeological research.

In 1979-1986, Dikov studied the Chukchi Peninsula at the very end of the Asian Continent, resulting in the investigation of numerous Neolithic and historic sites as well as more than ten sites referred to Paleolithic and Early Holocene. The best known of these is the Early Holocene Puturak Site, with its developed microblade industry and no bifaces (tools retouched on both surfaces). Dikov traced the parallels of this site with the Galligher Flint Station and Anangula sites in Alaska. The research results of the 1980s were presented in Asia at the Joint with America: Stone Age on the Chukchi Peninsula (1993).

These works dramatically changed some of Dikov's views of Russian North-East and North America prehistory. Before 1993, he had referred the lower level, Level VII, of the Ushki sites with the Upper Paleolithic Ushki Culture to that of the Paleo-Indian peoples and correlated the stemmed points with similar ones at the Marms Rockshelter sites. He had referred Level VI (Late Upper Paleolithic Ushki Culture) to Protoeskimo-Aleuts. After the discovery of Puturak, Dikov revised his concept and from then on referred the materials of the Late Upper Paleolithic Ushki Culture to the second wave of migration from Asia to America and associated with the tradition of Athapaska's ancestors, the Na Dene Indians. He referred Puturak to the migrations of the ancestors of Aleuts and Eskimos to Beringia.

In general, Dikov's field research, theories, and hypotheses, as well as his chronological and peri-odizational schemes and structures, represented a major contribution to the studies of ancient cultures of northeast Asia. They have been widely used by archaeologists all over the world, and have been used as the basis for further research of the ancient past of northeast Asia and America.

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