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Pastoral Communities Thrived in a Rocky Valley of the Tian-Shan Mountains--New Survey Results of the Dense Pastoralist Sites in the Mohuchahan Valley of Xinjiang, China

Author(s): Yu Qi Li

Year: 2015

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Summary

Newly identified pastoral sites in the Mohuchahan Valley have the potential of preserving 3000 years of pastoral settlement history in the middle section of the Tian-Shan Mountains. Located between a rich high-elevation meadow and a low-elevation oasis, this seemly barren valley might have served as an ideal residing place for numerous generations of local nomads. The scale and density of the burials and settlements they left suggest the communities once thrived here in ancient times probably were of much larger size than the current one. Considering that many of these sites are located in an apparently harsh environment, it becomes mysterious how these communities managed to survive and thrive here. Based on my ethnographic work and survey of some of sites, I suggest the success of ancient communities in the Mohuchahan Valley may partly be attributed to their connection with the meadow area and the oasis nearby. In other words, the harsh environment of the Mohuchahan Valley probably never supported local pastoral communities alone but always together with other eco zones such as the meadow and oases.

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Pastoral Communities Thrived in a Rocky Valley of the Tian-Shan Mountains--New Survey Results of the Dense Pastoralist Sites in the Mohuchahan Valley of Xinjiang, China. Yu Qi Li. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396208)


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Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America