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YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, October 4 (Itar-Tass) - Sakhalin State University and Texas A&M University have signed an agreement on academic exchange, the head of Sakhalin State University’s Laboratory of Archeology and Ethnographic Research and the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor Alexander Vasilevsky, told Itar-Tass on Friday.
Russian and U.S. students will take part in a joint project to study Paleolithic sites on Russia’s far eastern Sakhalin Island. The project was initiated by Kelly Graf, Research Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Research Associate with Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University.
Texas A&M enrollment stands at a record 58,809, which ranks it first in Texas and among the largest universities in the U.S.
“I was invited by the Department of Anthropology for reading lectures,” Vasilevsky said. “It turned out that a few people know about Sakhalin and about our islands. However, many American students and post-graduates were eager to explore Sakhalin after my lectures on archeology and palaeogeography.”
Vasilevsky says U.S. researchers’ interest in this project is not a coincidence. “The thing is that there are no initial human dispersals later than 15,000 years ago on the American continent, while the Paleolithic period is widely represented on Sakhalin,” the professor said. “For instance, this is Ogonki-8 site of the Upper Paleolithic period near the same name village on the Lyutoga River. The site in the Aniva district in southern Sakhalin dates back to 20,000 years ago. The American continent was populated by impulse migrations of ancient people, who moved from Northeast Asia, therefore archeological surveys on Sakhalin Island may shed light on America’s first population. We have never had joint Paleolithic research projects with American colleagues before.”
The first joint excavations will begin already in 2014. Then Sakhalin’s post-graduate students will go researching to Alaska. In December Kelly Graf will visit Sakhalin to discuss a plan for future actions.
Sakhalin State University’s press service said researchers will publish articles and reports in Russia and the United States’ leading journals after excavations are completed.