Human Evolution

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 33–48 | Cite as

Human population differentiation in the peri-Baltic Mesolithic: the odontometrics of Oleneostrovskii mogilnik (Karelia)

  • K. Jacobs


Odontometric data are reported for Oleneostrovskii mogilnik, a Mesolithic cemetery in the Karelian USSR. Containing the skeletal remains of 148 individuals and dated to 7500b.p., it is the largest and oldest of the known peri-Baltic Mesolithic cemeteries. The dental data from this site are compared to those from Skateholm, where dental dimensions closely approximate the mean tooth sizes for all late Mesolithic European material. Olenii ostrov possesses a significantly smaller dentition, despite antedating the Skateholm sample by 1500 years. Geographic, archaeological, linguistic and ancillary dental data are discussed which argue strongly for the presence in Mesolithic northern Europe of at least two quasi-isolated human mating networks. One of these, documented by Olenii ostrov, may also represent the earliest evidence for the establishment in the taiga zone of populations whose descendants are the modern Saami (=”Lapps”).

Key words

Mesolithic odontometrics Olenii ostrov Skatenolm genetic divergence “Lapp” origins 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Jacobs
    • 1
  1. 1.Départment d'anthropologieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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