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Biological Diversity in Medieval Uzbekistan: Examining Community Expression under the Qarakhanid State

Author(s): Elissa Bullion

Year: 2017

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This paper examines the expression of community during the Qarakhanid period (9th- 12th century CE) through a study of patterns of phenotypic diversity at medieval sites across Uzbekistan. The Qarakhanid dynasty is argued to be an integral period in the shaping of population, linguistic, and religious frameworks that shaped the social and ethnic landscapes of Central Asia up through the modern day. Historical sources suggest that the Qarakhanid rise to power instigated an in-migration of Turkic populations, the spread of Islam across the region, and the cultivation of Turkic language and culture. Little archaeological work has been done, however, to investigate how community interaction and expression was affected by these activities. In this study, geometric morphometric analysis of cranial shape is used to understand levels of biological diversity and association between groups at a collection of sites that cover a range of environmental, geographic, and economic contexts. Results indicate that biological expressions of community are variable across the landscape and are likely dependent on complex social and environmental contexts. This suggests that despite Qarakhanid sponsored cultural and religious campaigns, community expression was still in part mitigated by a range of variables, spanning economic, ethnic, and other social spheres.

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Biological Diversity in Medieval Uzbekistan: Examining Community Expression under the Qarakhanid State. Elissa Bullion. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430457)


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15671

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