French / Russian collaboration to unearth the unknown

At the end of October, a prefiguration of the exposition “The Third Man, Altai Prehistory” was held at Eysies de Tayac (Dordogne), at the National Prehistoric Museum. It represents an opportunity to highlight the strength of the partnership between the University of Bordeaux, the Novosibirsk State University and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

  • 30/11/2016

Fouille de la galerie et de la grotte de Denisova © Sergueï I. Zelenkiï - IAET SB RAS Fouille de la galerie et de la grotte de Denisova © Sergueï I. Zelenkiï - IAET SB RAS

ARTEMIR, at the heart of cooperation with Russia

The University of Bordeaux and Novosibirsk State University have collaborated within the domain of prehistoric archeology since 2010. This fruitful partnership led to the establishment of a memorandum between the two universities in January 2015. The same year, they created the International Associated Laboratory, ARTEMIR (Multidisciplinary Research on Rock Art in Eurasia), specialized in prehistoric art with new approaches. Thanks to this structure, archeologists from the PACEA laboratory at the University of Bordeaux, students and researchers are increasingly associated with the analyses of material collected by the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography from the paleolithic deposits of the Altai, including the Denisova cave. A PACEA PhD student’s co-tutored thesis, financed by the Bordeaux Initiative of Excellence, units the three establishments.

The discovery of the “Third Man”

In 2008, paleolithicians from the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of Novosibirsk first discovered a hand phalanx, then two molars with DNA exceptionally well preserved by the cold. It revealed a human lineage, different from ours and from the Neanderthals. It was a discovery that revolutionized our understanding of human development and its expansion outside of Africa. The elements found nearby (tools, ornaments) indicate that the Denisovians were as evolved as the Homo-Sapiens and the Neanderthals, with whom they shared the foothills of the Altai.


The LIA units the University of Bordeaux with the CNRS, the Université Savoie Mont-Blanc, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Novosibirsk State University, the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, the Institute of Automation and Electrometry, both a part of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as the Russian Foundation for fundamental research.   

Novosibirsk State University

The 3rd largest research and higher education pole in Russia, Novosibirsk State University was ranked leading Russian University in Research in 2014 by QS World University Rankings. It is part of the 21 Russian higher education institutions selected for the “5 top 100” implemented by the Russian Ministry of Higher Education and which aims to develop a group of excellent Russian universities on an international level. 

Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography

Founded in 2001 and part of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the institute is one of the largest centers of research in human sciences of the country. It is recognized in Russia and abroad for the high quality of its scientific work over the immense territory between the Caspian Sea to the Far East. It develops an approach that systematically integrates natural sciences with archeology.

Exposition “The Third Man, Altai Prehistory”

The inauguration of the exposition, to take place in June 2017, will unveil the incredible discoveries made in the Denisova cave (Russian Altai mountains). The exposition in June 2017 at the National Prehistoric Museum will compare the Denisova discoveries with more recent discoveries made in France, thus reflecting and enlightening the human dynamics of the fiftieth millennium.

50 years of French / Russian cooperation

This event in October was also the occasion to commemorate the 50th anniversary of scientific and technological cooperation between France and Russia.