Ust-Polui Culture

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ust’-Polui Culture


an archaeological culture that was widespread in the second half of the first millennium B.C. along the lower Ob’ River, north of the mouth of the Irtysh River. It is named after the site of a fortified town on the Polui River near the Polui’s confluence with the Ob’.

The bearers of the Ust’-Polui culture led a settled way of life, living in large families in semisubterranean dwellings, which measured up to 100 sq m in area. They engaged in hunting and fishing; those living along Ob’ Bay also hunted sea mammals. Most tools and weapons were made of bone and antler; some were made of bronze, as were the ornaments. The only objects made of iron were knives. Certain elements of the material culture, such as clay pedestaled vessels, bronze arrowheads, and certain works of art, exhibit the influence of the tribes of southern Siberia and Kazakhstan and attest to the participation of the population of the Irtysh Region in the formation of the Ust’-Polui culture. At the same time, elements of the ancient culture of the tribes of the arctic coastal regions are also strong; evidences that the population raised sled dogs were found, as well as snow shovels and bone cleats used for traveling on ice. Certain features of the Ust’-Polui culture have been preserved in the culture of the modern northern Khanty and the Yamal Nentsi.


Chernetsov, V. N., V. I. Moshinskaia, and I. A. Talitskaia. Drevniaia istoriia Nizhnego Priob’ia. Moscow, 1953.
Moshinskaia, V. I. Arkheologicheskie pamiatniki severa Zapadnoi Sibiri. Moscow, 1965. (Svod arkheologicheskikh istochnikov, fascs. D3–8).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.