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Herding Strategies during the Xiongnu Period of Mongolia: A comparison in the diet of domestic fauna from the Egiin Gol Valley and Baga Gazaryn Chuluu

Author(s): Asa Cameron

Year: 2015

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Summary

During the Xiongnu Period (300 BC-AD 100), mobile agro-pastoralism constituted the primary form of subsistence. While this is supported by domesticated animal remains uncovered in mortuary and domestic contexts and historical and micro-botanical evidence for the use of agricultural products, a dearth of research exists concerning the variation of mobile agro-pastoralism among the Xiongnu. As such, this paper centers on regional differences in herding patterns and specifically does so through the use of δ13C/δ15N bulk sampling of mandibular and maxillary teeth of domestic herd animals. The samples tested in this study were recovered from mortuary sites in two distinct ecotones of Mongolia: the Egiin Gol Valley in the north (EG) and Baga Gazaryn Chuluu (BGC), an area located within the desert steppe of the north Gobi. By comparing the δ13C and δ15N values of samples from EG and BGC, this study reveals intra-species and inter-regional trends in C3/C4 plant and water consumption during the Xiongnu Period. In addition, the δ13C/δ15N data generated in this study is compared against existing δ13C/δ15N data from Bronze Age and Xiongnu Period human remains recovered from EG as well as modern δ13C/δ15N data generated from Ovis sp. and Capra sp. remains collected in BGC.

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Herding Strategies during the Xiongnu Period of Mongolia: A comparison in the diet of domestic fauna from the Egiin Gol Valley and Baga Gazaryn Chuluu. Asa Cameron. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397099)


Keywords


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