Chertovy Vorota Cave
Пещера Чертовы Ворота
|Alternative name||Devil’s Gate Cave|
|Location||Primorsky Krai, Russia|
|Altitude||660 m (2,165 ft)|
|Length||132 m (433 ft)|
|Width||10 m (33 ft)|
|Area||730 m2 (7,858 sq ft)|
|Volume||2,950 m3 (104,178 cu ft)|
|Height||16 m (52 ft)|
|Founded||ca. 9,400 BP|
|Abandoned||ca. 7,200 BP|
|Cultures||Rudninskaya (Rudnaya) culture|
|Archaeologists||Zhanna Vasilievna Andreeva|
Chertovy Vorota Cave is a Neolithic archaeological site located in the Sikhote-Alin mountains, about 12 km (7 mi) from the town of Dalnegorsk in Primorsky Krai, Russia. The karst cave is located on a limestone cliff and lies about 35 m (115 ft) above the Krivaya River, a tributary of the Rudnaya River, below. Chertovy Vorota provides secure evidence for some of the oldest surviving textiles found in the archaeological record.
The cave consists of a main chamber, measuring around 45 m (148 ft) in length, and several smaller galleries behind it. The site was looted several times before the first archaeological excavations were performed in 1973. Around 600 lithic, osteological and shell artefacts, 700 pottery fragments, and over 700 animal bones were recovered from the site. A .6 cm thick jade disk made from brownish-green jade and measuring 5.2 cm (2 in) in diameter was also recovered from Chertovy Vorota.
Isotopic analysis shows that the people of Chertovy Vorota likely derived their protein from a mix of terrestrial and maritime sources; around 25% of their dietary protein appears to have been derived from maritime resources, most likely from anadromous salmon. The people of Chertovy Vorota likely hunted terrestrial mammals, collected nuts and fished salmon to provide for their food needs.
The remains of carbonized textile fragments were found within the cave, under the remains of a wooden structure that had caught on fire and collapsed. The carbonized remains of rope, nets, and woven fabrics were recovered from the cave. The fibers likely came from Carex sordida, a sedge grass from the Cyperaceae family. The textile remains were directly dated to around 9400-8400 BP, the earliest evidence in the archaeological record for textile remains from East Asia. As spindle whorls were not found in the cave, and also rarely found in contemporary East Asian sites, archaeologists postulate that the people at Chertovy Vorota either produced their textiles by hand or through the use of warp-weighted looms.
The remains of 7 individuals were discovered within the cave. The skulls of two of the individuals, DevilsGate1 and DevilsGate2, were directly dated to around 5726-5622 BC.
The remains of 5 of the individuals were DNA tested. Originally thought to be male, DNA testing revealed that DevilsGate5 is actually female; DNA testing also confirmed that DevilsGate1 is female, as originally believed. DevilsGate1 belongs to mtDNA Haplogroup D4, while DevilsGate2 belongs to mtDNA Haplogroup M.
When compared against all populations on record, ancient or modern, the ancient Chertovy Vorota individuals were found to be genetically closest to contemporary speakers of Tungusic languages from the Amur Basin. The ancient Chertovy Vorota individuals are genetically closest to the Ulchi, followed by the Oroqen and Hezhen. The genetic distance from the ancient Chertovy Vorota individuals to Mal'ta boy is the same as that from modern East Asian populations to Mal'ta boy.
With the exception of DevilsGate1, most of the individuals tested did not yield enough DNA to allow for phenotypic testing of traits. DevilsGate1 did not carry the derived SLC45A2 or SLC24A5 alleles associated with lighter skin color, the derived HERC2 allele associated with blue eyes, the derived LT allele associated with lactase persistence, or the derived ALDH2 allele associated with the alcohol flush reaction. However, the individual likely did carry the derived EDAR allele commonly found in modern East Asian populations, the derived ABCC11 allele associated with dry earwax and reduced body odor commonly found in modern East Asian populations, and the derived ADD1 allele associated with increased risk for hypertension.
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