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The Walking Dead: Osteological and isotopic indicators of mobility from Middle Bronze Age commingled human and faunal burials in Naxcivan, Azerbaijan

Author(s): Hannah Lau ; Selin Nugent

Year: 2015

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Summary

Tracing the mobility patterns of pastoralists and their herds is a critical part of illuminating the lifeways of people who inhabited the southern Caucasus in the past. During the 2014 season, the Naxcivan Archaeological Project excavated several Middle Bronze age kurgans overlooking the Şərur Plain. In these burials humans and animals were interred together, speaking to the significance of the animals in the lifeways of the people inhabiting the area during the Middle Bronze Age. We correlate data from bioarchaeological and zooarchaeological analysis with isotope analyses of δ18O.

We performed an analysis of δ18O ratios on both the human and animal remains from these burials, sampling human molars to determine movement over a lifetime and sequentially sampling across animal molars to determine seasonal grazing patterns. These results are compared to known environmental bioavailability ranges of δ18O in Naxçivan. This allows us to calculate both likely elevation and geographical locality during enamel deposition of each individual. Our research is part of a longterm study to understand patterns of movement of people and, by their agency, animals throughout the landscape.

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The Walking Dead: Osteological and isotopic indicators of mobility from Middle Bronze Age commingled human and faunal burials in Naxcivan, Azerbaijan. Selin Nugent, Hannah Lau. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397642)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

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