Aspen Greaves

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pittsburgh, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10684

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Greaves, Aspen (Pittsburgh, U. of) "A Multi-method Approach to Mongol-Era Agropastoralist Subsistence"

Although understanding household level agropastoralist subsistence within the Mongol Period is crucial to debates about the formation and function of the Empire, this remains an almost entirely overlooked theme. My research combines macrobotanical, phytolith, faunal, and geophysical methods to survey and excavate previously identified Mongol Period dwelling features (TVP-180) and a contemporaneous seasonal winter campsite (TVP-120). Preliminary excavations at TVP-180 produced remains of domesticated cereals and wild and domesticated animal species. The project’s research questions focus specifically on collecting evidence to index seasonality mobility, multi-site use, production of domestic cereals, and localized changes to pastoralist lifeways due to broader socio-economic changes in the Mongol Empire. Field research will examine small-scale households in the Tarvagatai River valley, Mongolia. Both of the TVP-180 and TVP-120 habitation sites have been radiocarbon dated to the Mongol Period and provide a unique opportunity to examine the project’s research questions. This research will contribute importantly to anthropological studies on socio-economic hierarchy within large scale empires, nuanced aspects of agropastoralist subsistence practices, and seasonal patterns of household mobility. The project also will contribute importantly to the excavation and interpretation of archaeological sites that are currently “at risk” due to climate change and increased erosional processes.