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"
Tamsagbulag is one of the most important archaeological sites in Mongolia and is critical to understanding non-unilinear trajectories towards sedentism and domestication. Located in the far eastern steppes, the site represents the only known evidence of sedentary hunter-gatherer communities in Mongolia. Current evidence strongly suggests that sedentism was unrelated to plant domestication but rather based on intensive exploitation, perhaps management, of large game – a situation that is extremely rare at the global scale. Understanding this situation is critical because data from other world regions has heretofore suggested that sedentary communities must be supported by intensive exploitation of high density resources such as fish, nuts, or grains – none of which appear to have been important resources at Tamsagbulag. This unique evidence of intensive and ritual use of wild cattle occurred 2000 years before the introduction of domesticated cattle from Eurasia, suggesting a previously unknown episode of indigenous management or domestication. The opportunity to conduct new interdisciplinary excavation and analysis at Tamsagbulag is necessary for understanding variation in trajectories of sedentism and domestication both within East Asia and beyond.