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Early pastoral economies and herding transitions in Eastern Eurasia

MPS-Authors
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Taylor,  William Timothy Treal
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons204298

Spengler,  Robert N.
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons222775

Shnaider,  Svetlana
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons222995

Wilkin,  Shevan
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons205854

Hendy,  Jessica
Kostbare Kulturen, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons244567

Thüring,  Ulrike
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons244569

Miller,  Bryan
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons220893

Ventresca Miller,  Alicia R.
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons209238

Picin,  Andrea
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons226432

Vanwezer,  Nils
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons227740

Irmer,  Franziska
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons221086

Brown,  Samantha
FINDER, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons211623

Douka,  Katerina
FINDER, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons188575

Boivin,  Nicole
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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shh2500.pdf
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shh2500corr.pdf
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Citation

Taylor, W. T. T., Clark, J., Bayarsaikhan, J., Tuvshinjargal, T., Jobe, J. T., Fitzhugh, W., et al. (2020). Early pastoral economies and herding transitions in Eastern Eurasia. Scientific Reports, 10: 1001. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-57735-y.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-8C95-5
Abstract
While classic models for the emergence of pastoral groups in Inner Asia describe mounted, horse-borne herders sweeping across the Eurasian Steppes during the Early or Middle Bronze Age (ca. 3000–1500 BCE), the actual economic basis of many early pastoral societies in the region is poorly characterized. In this paper, we use collagen mass fingerprinting and ancient DNA analysis of some of the first stratified and directly dated archaeofaunal assemblages from Mongolia’s early pastoral cultures to undertake species identifications of this rare and highly fragmented material. Our results provide evidence for livestock-based, herding subsistence in Mongolia during the late 3rd and early 2nd millennia BCE. We observe no evidence for dietary exploitation of horses prior to the late Bronze Age, ca. 1200 BCE – at which point horses come to dominate ritual assemblages, play a key role in pastoral diets, and greatly influence pastoral mobility. In combination with the broader archaeofaunal record of Inner Asia, our analysis supports models for widespread changes in herding ecology linked to the innovation of horseback riding in Central Asia in the final 2nd millennium BCE. Such a framework can explain key broad-scale patterns in the movement of people, ideas, and material culture in Eurasian prehistory.