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SUBSISTENCE ECONOMICS AMONG BRONZE AGE STEPPE COMMUNITIES: AN ARCHAEOBOTANICAL APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF MULTI-RESOURCE PASTORALISM IN THE SOUTHEASTERN URAL MOUNTAINS REGION, RUSSIA

ng, chuenyan (2019) SUBSISTENCE ECONOMICS AMONG BRONZE AGE STEPPE COMMUNITIES: AN ARCHAEOBOTANICAL APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF MULTI-RESOURCE PASTORALISM IN THE SOUTHEASTERN URAL MOUNTAINS REGION, RUSSIA. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The long-standing subsistence model for the Bronze Age communities in the Southeastern Urals region is that of a sedentary agro-pastoral strategy with the dominant use of cattle, horse and sheep/goats. In this dissertation, I describe new evidence suggesting a multi-resource pastoralism without agriculture practice as the dominant subsistence economy among Bronze Age communities in that region. Archaeological evidence in the Southeastern Urals exhibits a long-standing hunting gathering-fishing tradition before the emergence of Bronze Age settlements. In a manner, multi-resource pastoralism continues this tradition by combining different complementary systems of subsistence.

Dissertation data was collected from archaeobotanical samples, local catchment zone analysis, ethnographic studies and archaeological experiments to investigate wild resource exploitation in the Bronze Age. Results showed that wild plant species are related to specific vegetation units in each communities’ catchment zones. These communities employed a local-based subsistence economy that intensively exploited specific wild plant resources from their immediate catchment – the meadow zone, in particular. For livestock, grazing was the predominant method for nutrient intake in spring, summer, and autumn; storage fodder was the primary food in winter. The macro-botanical remains found within the enclosed areas exhibited plant resources used for both human diets and fodder collected for livestock. The ashy layer investigated in the non-enclosed areas suggests an outdoor corral; seed assemblages from this area are indicative of fodder storage, indoor corral trash and human living trash, all of which consisted of local wild plant species.

Overall, the continued practice of multi-resource pastoralism was a response to the environmental factors as well as the dynamic human-ecological relationships exhibited in the Bronze Age Southeastern Urals region. Contrary to long-standing beliefs and the tradition of equating social complexity with sedentism and agriculture, these relatively sedentary pastoralist societies show no evidence of agriculture as a mode of subsistence. The multi-resource pastoralism strategy maximized the exploitation of seasonal resources; the intensive use of specific plant resources in the local catchment zone was essential for the development of early pastoralist societies in the Southeastern Urals region.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ng, chuenyanncyncyncy@gmail.comCHN27
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHANKS, BRYAN
Committee MemberBERMANN, MARC
Committee MemberBARTON, LOUKAS
Committee MemberULLAH, ISAAC
Date: 27 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 May 2019
Approval Date: 27 September 2019
Submission Date: 5 August 2019
Access Restriction: 3 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 3 years.
Number of Pages: 268
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: MULTI-RESOURCE PASTORALISM, SOUTHEASTERN URALS, ARCHAEOBOTANY
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 16:33
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 16:33
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/37286

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