Onsuwan, Chureekamol, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Metal Age Complexity in Thailand: Socio-Political Development and Landscape Use in the Upper Chaophraya Basin,' supervised by Dr. Joyce C. White
CHUREEKAMOL ONSUWAN, while a student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was awarded funding in December 2001 to aid research on Metal Age sociopolitical development and landscape use in the upper Chao Phraya basin, Thailand, under the supervision of Dr. Joyce C. White. Onsuwan's overall goal was to test a heterarchy framework, as opposed to a hierarchical model, to account for variability in complex societies in Thailand during its Metal Age (ca. 2000 B.C.E.-500 C.E.). An intensive survey was conducted of about fifty-five square kilometers on the eastern side of the upper Chao Phraya River, a region important for understanding the long-term habitation of central Thailand. The region extends from the river's alluvial plain across its middle terrace to its high terrace. Data were collected on the distribution of settlements, the attributes of each site, and environmental variation. Preliminary evaluation showed variation in site sizes across the three environmental zones during the Metal Age, with a large density of Bronze Age communities situated on the high terrace and smaller Iron Age communities in the lowlands. Ceramic analysis showed that the Metal Age communities shared some ceramic patterns along with using their own local designs. Additional analysis was planned in order to determine the relationship between environmental and ceramic variation.
Zhuang, Yijie, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Landscape Change and its Interaction with Prehistoric Human Activities- Geoarchaeological Investigation in North China,' supervised by Dr. Charles Andrew Ivey French
YIJIE ZHUANG, then a student at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2011, to aid research on 'Landscape Change and its Interaction with Prehistoric Human Activities: Geoarchaeological Investigation in North China,' supervised by Dr. Charles A.I. French. This study conducts geoarchaeological investigation on four early Neolithic sites in middle and lower Yellow River of North China. At the Cishan site -- a new dating project that pushes the earliest millet remains at the site back to 10,000 BP, or 2000 years earlier than previously thought -- has greatly stimulated archaeologists' enthusiasm in the search for the origin of agriculture in North China. The ongoing geoarchaeology at the site has contributed to the debate by providing geochronological evidence and detailed information concerning how these early farmers managed the landscape. The other three contemporary sites are dated to 8000-7000BP. Micromorphological examination and geo-physical analyses suggest a mixed pattern of land-use management at Guobei and Guantaoyuan in the middle Yellow River, which is also corroborated by a similar modern study in the same area using the same methods. Whereas at the lower Yellow River site (Yuezhuang) micromorphological and geo-physical analyses and settlement pattern study indicate that people were restricted to resource-rich environments, people were still frequently moving around in the landscapes and year-round occupation had not yet occurred. These conclusions chime with archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological studies that the establishment of agrarian landscapes in North China involves complicated processes.
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
April 18, 2011
Chauhan, Dr. Parth Randhir, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Manauali, India - To aid research on 'Early Pleistocene Environment and Archaeology in Central India'
Preliminary abstract: Our goal is to excavate the first unequivocal Early Pleistocene archaeological occurrence in the Indian Subcontinent (all other occurrences being controversial, problematic or imprecisely dated) in the Narmada Basin in central India. Broad methods include Paleolithic archaeology, Quaternary geology, paleoenvironmental reconstructions and geochronology. Preliminary paleomagnetic dating has confirmed a minimum age of ~780 Ka for the 15m Dhansi section, the longest Early Pleistocene stratigraphic sequence south of the Siwalik Hills (i.e. Himalayan region). A geological trench at the bottom of the section yielded a high density of fresh in situ lithic specimens (>45 within 4m2) and bifaces, biface-thinning flakes and prepared platforms are all currently absent, thus provisionally suggesting an Oldowan occurrence. Our specific aims include: 1) horizontal excavations to obtain a larger number of stone tools and fossils; 2) detailed geological and
sedimentological studies including higher-resolution paleomagnetic sampling in order to better constrain its age; 3) recover
associated pollen, microvertebrate and invertebrate fossils; and 4) carry out extensive stable isotope studies on calcium
carbonate samples. The integration of these tasks will reveal the nature of early hominin technology and occupation in
central India, allowing meaningful comparisons with other regions of the Old World. This project also aims to pinpoint a
gradual geographic adaptive shift by early Homo from savannah environments (East Africa and western Eurasia) to
forested environments (eastern and SE Asia) during pre-Acheulean eastward dispersals from Africa to SE Asia, thus
validating peninsular/central India as an important Early Pleistocene biogeographic corridor for the first time. This work will
foster interdisciplinary collaboration between Indian, American and Australian researchers and students.
Hartley, Charles Wilbur, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Crafting the State: Community, Pottery, and Political Culture in the Luoyang Basin, North China, 3000-1500 BCE,' supervised by Dr. Adam T. Smith
CHARLES W. HARTLEY, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received an award in October 2008 to aid research on 'Crafting the State: Community, Pottery, and Political Culture in the Luoyang Basin, North China, 3000-1500 BCE,' supervised by Dr. Adam T. Smith. This project focused on a larger sample from the Huizui site rather than splitting effort among five sites as originally planned, which created a statistically richer sample. The core of the project and the research questions remain targeted toward: 1) improving our understanding of potting techniques and pottery technology in the Chinese neolithic and early bronze periods; and 2) improving our understanding of the role that seemingly mundane objects like pots play in the social and political development of human society. The change in focus opened up new possibilities for the project. Most importantly, the level of descriptive detail accomplished in terms of technical and stylistic analysis holds promise for a much deeper understanding of, one the one hand, the technological capabilities of this society, and on the other hand, the social and political currents during the periods covered in the study. Each of these possibilities make a significant contribution to the field of Chinese archaeology in particular by improving our understanding of ceramic technology and technical pathways, but also contribute to the field of archaeology in general by improving our understanding of subjective materiality and the interplay between object-constituted society and human-constituted materiality.
Cleghorn, Naomi E., State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid a 'Zooarchaeological Analysis of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of Mezmaiskaya Cave, Northwestern Caucasus, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Curtis Marean
NAOMI E. CLEGHORN, while a student at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, New York, received funding in April 2001 to aid an analysis of faunal material from the Middle and Upper Paleolithic strata of Mezmaiskaya Cave in Russia's northwestern Caucasus Mountains, under the supervision of Dr. Curtis Marean. The stratigraphy of Mezmaiskaya Cave preserves a record of frequent hominid occupation over a relatively long span of the Paleolithic-from more than 45,000 years ago to 28,000 years ago-covering the transition from a Neanderthal-dominated to a Homo sapiens-dominated landscape. Faunal skeletal remains are abundant and well preserved throughout the site. Cleghorn collected a broad range of data from specimens from the Middle Paleolithic levels of the site, especially from the 1995 and 1997 assemblages, which came from contexts of relatively fine stratification. She also collected data for the entire sample of Upper Paleolithic faunal material available at the time. Altogether, data from nearly seventeen thousand bone fragments and teeth enabled her to analyze pre- and post-depositional processes of destruction as well as evidence of hominid prey choice, transport, and butchery decisions. Cleghorn's goal was to use a taphonomic approach to test the idea that Middle and Upper Paleolithic hominids responded in significantly different ways to subsistence challenges. Preliminary analysis showed some evidence of change in faunal accumulation between the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. Interestingly, the more dramatic shifts may have occurred within the late Middle Paleolithic. Ultimately, Cleghorn planned to test current models of the subsistence behavior of Middle and Upper Paleolithic hominids.
Honeychurch, Dr. William, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; and Amartuvshin, Chunag, Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - To aid collaborative research on early Iron age political transition, Middle Gobi, Mongolia, 2004
DR. WILLIAM HONEYCHURCH, of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and DR. CHUNAG AMARTUVSHIN, of the Institute of Archaeology, Academy of Sciences, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, were awarded an International Collaborative Research Grant in May 2004 to aid collaborative research on the early Iron Age political transition in the middle Gobi Desert of Mongolia. The emergence on the Inner Asian steppe of regional confederacies of pastoral nomads figured prominently in the early historical records of China and other Old World states. Current hypotheses differ about whether such polities arose as the result of indigenous political processes or from the influence of sedentary neighbors. Models illustrating these hypotheses are often based on historical sources and are rarely designed for testing against archaeological evidence. The Baga Gazaryn Chuluu survey was designed to test ideas for early political development on the steppe using regional survey data and excavation. The project was set in a marginal frontier area with characteristics suitable for the study of both internal and external economic and political processes. The second season of research, July through August 2004, resulted in the survey of approximately 103 square kilometers. More than 500 archaeological sites were discovered, ranging from the Paleolithic to the early twentieth century and including settlements, tombs, and petroglyphs. Sites dating to the early first millennium b.c.e. and to the period of the emerging Xiongnu steppe polity (ca. 200 b.c.e.) provided evidence that competition between Early Iron Age centers, networks of exchange extending as far as Inner Mongolia, and patterns of differential political sustainability were important in the rise of the first regionally organized, complex polity on the northeastern Asian steppe.
Honeychurch, Dr. Williams, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC - To aid research and writing on 'Not of Place but of Path: Inner Asia and the Spatial Politics of Empire' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. WILLIAM HONEYCHURCH, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in May 2005 to aid research and writing on 'Not of Place but of Path: Inner Asia and the Spatial Politics of Empire.' The Eurasian steppe is often described as a territory of pathways, movement, interaction, and exchange. How these factors underwrote the long-term development of political traditions, techniques, and social relations that eventually produced some of the largest and most dynamic imperial states ever known, is a central question explored in this monograph project. Using archaeological data from the Egiin Gol valley in north central Mongolia, long-term trends in local landscape organization are examined in order to understand the changing sources of political finance and control on the steppe. The great size of steppe polities and their emphasis on horse based transport created political system reliant on vast spatial relationships. This 'spatial reach' was matched by internal methods of centralized integration. As polity size and spatial reach expanded over time and across different polities, increasing emphasis was placed upon the manipulation of mobility, its networks, and infrastructure for political ends. This monograph develops and examines the idea of a distinctive kind of 'politics for a mobile set1ing' and uses the concept to compare examples of large-scale imperial polities across different cultural and chronological settings.