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(Re)Articulating Ancient Lives: Diet and Movement in Late Bronze Age Societies in the South Caucasus

Author(s): Maureen Marshall

Year: 2015

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The sudden appearance of hilltop citadels and vast cemeteries on the Late Bronze Age landscape of the South Caucasus suggests that it was a period of dynamic socio-political transformation as society shifted from highly mobile agropastoralism to a more settled lifestyle revolving around fortresses. Yet, within the Tsaghkahovit Plain, Armenia, there is little archaeological evidence of domestic architecture and activities, throwing into question people’s residential and subsistence practices. This presentation discusses the results of biogeochemical analysis of human remains from Late Bronze Age and Iron I Period tombs excavated from the Tsaghkahovit Plain and comparative regions in Armenia. The results of carbon and oxygen (δ13C and δ18O), carbon and nitrogen (δ13C and δ15N), and radiogenic strontium (87Sr/86Sr) analyses are used to reconstruct diet and assess movement. I suggest that generally Late Bronze Age peoples shared a common diet and ‘lived’ locally, possibly drawing on resources from multiple areas of the Tsaghkahovit Plain. Yet, at the individual level, the results indicate differences in dietary choices and practices of movement. The biogeochemical analysis thus holds significance for understanding the socio-economic connections within the plain and adds to a richer understanding of how people were living and moving within an early complex polity.

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(Re)Articulating Ancient Lives: Diet and Movement in Late Bronze Age Societies in the South Caucasus. Maureen Marshall. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397102)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

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