The site of Gagarino is located on a loess terrace on the north lip of a ravine on the right bank of the Don River, about 5 km upstream from its confluence with the Sosna. It is about 100 km north of the well known Kostienki sites. It was discovered by S.N. Zamiatnine in 1925 (having been exposed and partly destroyed by terracing operations) and excavated by him in 1926, 1927 and 1929 (Zamiatnine 1934). Later excavations were undertaken by Tarassov, Rogachev, Velichko and Grischenko in the years between 1955 and 1969. The most important of these were by Tarassov from 1961 to 1969. A perfectly reasonable date (for a site of the Kostienki/Avdeevo Culture) of 21,800 +- 300 (GIN 1.872) is accompanied by some less reasonable outlier dates, both younger and older.
Zamiatnine (1934) partially excavated a semi-subterranean dwelling structure measuring 5.5 x 4.5 meters containing several pit features. He described the dwelling as being constructed of mammoth bones and lined with limestone slabs. Some years later, Tarassov (1963, 1965, 1971, 1996) finished the excavation of the above dwelling (referred to by him as "la demeure") and uncovered two additional and somewhat different structures (referred to by him as "la construction d'ouest" and "la construction d'est") both lying immediately to the north of the "demeure."
As a result of this two-part excavation history there are two series of statuettes from Gagarino. From the Zamiatnine excavation there are eight statuettes and fragments (Gagarino 1927a to h) and from Tarassov's excavations there are six statuettes (Gagarino 1962, 1966, 1967, 1968a, 1968b, 1968c). I was able to examine microscopically the seven most complete of these fourteen specimens.