Sarah Pleuger

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Edinburgh, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10444

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Pleuger, Sarah (Edinburgh, U. of) "The Advent of Pastoralism and Early Multispecies Communities in Bronze Age Eastern Mongolia."

With the rise of mobile pastoralism during the Bronze Age (here c. 1600 BC) a novel source of animal-based subsistence and cultural idenfication entered the Gobi steppe desert of eastern Mongolia. Early herders in Central Asia complemented animal husbandry for meat and dairy production with garden horticulture and cereal cultivation. In the Gobi, however, herders solely relied their subsistence on livestock which lead to a close relationship deeply embedded into all aspects of social life – in rural Mongolia until today. Little is known about how and when exactly mobile pastoralism was introduced into eastern Mongolia, what subsistence strategies of the first Gobi herders looked like on a daily basis and how local practices provided the foundation for the development of vast networks of multispecies communities all across Inner Asia. This project seeks to complement data from excavated animal bones in mortuary contexts through the excavation of known contemporary habitation sites in the study area Delgerkhaan Uul combined with bioarchaeological analyses to address these issues. It will contribute to deciphering one of the most important cultural transformations in Inner Asian prehistory, acknowledging the role pastoralism is playing to this day for the cultural identity of people all around the globe.