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  When did the chicken cross the road: archaeological and molecular evidence for ancient chickens in Central Asia

Spengler III, R. N., Peters, C., Richter, K. K., Mir Makhamad, B., Stark, S., Fernandes, R., et al. (2022). When did the chicken cross the road: archaeological and molecular evidence for ancient chickens in Central Asia. Research Square, 1340382/v1. doi:10.21203/rs.3.rs-1340382/v1.

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 Creators:
Spengler III, Robert N.1, Author              
Peters, Carli1, Author              
Richter, Kristine Korzow1, Author              
Mir Makhamad, Basira1, Author              
Stark, Sören, Author
Fernandes, Ricardo1, Author              
Maksudov, Farhad, Author
Sirojidin, Mirzaakhmedov, Author
Husniddin, Rahmonov, Author
Wilkin, Shevan, Author
Schirmer, Stefanie1, Author              
Ashastina, Kseniia1, Author              
Begmatov, Alisher, Author
Frachetti, Michael, Author
Hermes, Taylor, Author
Kidd, Fiona, Author
Omelchenko, Andrey, Author
Huber, Barbara1, Author              
Boivin, Nicole L.1, Author              
Wang, Shujing, Author
Lurje, Pavel, Authorvon Baeyer, Madelynn1, Author              Dal Martello, Rita1, Author               more..
Affiliations:
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              

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Free keywords: Chicken, Poultry, Eggs, Eggshell, Zooarchaeology, Peptide mass fingerprinting, Zoroastrian, Hellenistic
 Abstract: The origins and dispersal of the chicken across the ancient world remains one of the most enigmatic questions regarding Eurasian domesticated animals1,2. The lack of agreement regarding the timing and center of origin is due, in large part, to issues with morphological identifications, a lack of direct dating, and poor preservation of thin bird bones. Historical sources attest to the prominence of chickens in southern Europe and southwest Asia by the last centuries BC3. Likewise, art historical depictions of chickens and anthropomorphic rooster-human chimeras are reoccurring motifs in Central Asian prehistoric and historic traditions4-6. However, when this ritually and economically significant bird spread along the trans-Eurasian exchange routes has remained a mystery. Here we show that chickens were widely raised by people at villages across southern Central Asia from the third century BC through medieval periods for their eggs and likely also meat. In this study, we present archaeological and molecular evidence for the cultivation of chickens for egg production from 12 different Central Asian archaeological sites spanning a millennium and a half. These eggshells were recovered in high abundance at all of these sites, suggesting that chickens were widely raised by people at villages across southern Central Asia from the third century BC through medieval periods and that they were an important part of the overall diet. Contrary to views that ancient peoples of Central Asia were primarily herding sheep, goat, and cattle, these data show that chicken was also important in the subsistence economy and that it was widely spread along the ancient Silk Road.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2022-02-14
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 23
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: Introduction
- Rapid Dissemination across the Ancient World
Results
- Archaeological Eggshells
- Peptide Mass Fingerprinting
Discussion
- Evidence for Non-Seasonal Egg Laying
- The Rise in Symbolic and Economic Prominence of the Chicken in Central Asia
Conclusions
 Rev. Type: No review
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-1340382/v1
Other: shh3150
 Degree: -

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Title: Research Square
Source Genre: Web Page
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: 1340382/v1 Start / End Page: - Identifier: URN: https://www.researchsquare.com/