Scaling Down: Kalmyk Steppe Pastoralist Strategies and Small-Scale Migration

Author(s): Nicole Rose

Year: 2016


A key theme in both archaeological and historical research of the Eurasian steppe has been the practice of pastoral nomadism. Researchers have particularly focused on issues of mobility within this economic strategy. Perhaps due to academic preoccupation with origins and the attractiveness of both grand-narratives and historical analogy, large scale migration has received a lot of academic and popular attention. However, pastoral nomadism as an economic strategy often only employs small-scale migration and/or seasonal migration due to resource pressures. This paper explores some of the archaeological and physical anthropological research conducted by the Steppe Expedition of the State Historical Museum of Moscow, narrowing the focus to a single region for more intensive analysis. Such research highlights these smaller-scale nomadic strategies employed by the pastoralist groups of the Kalmyk steppe in Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Russia. This research builds on the study of the stratigraphy and planigraphy of the kurgan cemeteries that make up most of the archaeological record of the region of Kalmykia, as well as the burial package, pollen, and isotopic data which emerges from individual burials. The possible contribution of non-morphological ceramic data to further explore these nomadic economic strategies will also be considered.

Cite this Record

Scaling Down: Kalmyk Steppe Pastoralist Strategies and Small-Scale Migration. Nicole Rose. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405169)

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Spatial Coverage

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