Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationTrent U.
Grant numberGr. 9785
Approve DateApril 29, 2019
Project TitleJanz, Lisa (Trent U.) "Tamsagbulag: Frontiers in Sedentism and Domestication"
LISA JANZ, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, was awarded funding in April 2019 to aid research on (Trent U.) “Tamsagbulag: Frontiers in Sedentism and Domestication.” Tamsagbulag is located at 470 N in the vast steppes of far eastern Mongolia. The site is notable for its evidence of intensive and ritual use of wild cattle (aurochs), which precedes the introduction of domesticated cattle by over 2000 years. It is also one of very few sedentary sites in Mongolia pre-dating the Iron Age. This relationship between big-game hunting and sedentism is striking because data from other world regions shows sedentism to be supported by intensive exploitation of high-density and highly renewable resources such as fish, nuts, or grains. Our research used new excavations, geoarchaeology, genomics, isotope analysis, and archaeozoology to assess the degree of sedentism and untangle trends in human-animal relationships. Thus far, our excavations have supported the likelihood of year-round sedentism for at least 300-500 years, revealed some of the earliest evidence for advanced textile manufacturing in East Asia, shown possible evidence wild herd management, and uncovered ancestral connections with later domesticated cattle in China and Mongolia. These results highlight the non-unilinear development of human societies and show the importance of understanding northern communities within their own context, rather than interpreting the local record based on Western narratives developed for more southern and Mediterranean cultures.