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Substantial intensity of millet agriculture during the Bronze and Iron Ages in Kazakhstan is revealed in δ13C and δ18O time series of incrementally sampled livestock teeth

Author(s): Taylor Hermes ; Michael Frachetti ; Paula Doumani ; Ekaterina Dubyagina ; Cheryl Makarewicz

Year: 2017

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Summary

This paper presents carbon and oxygen isotopic values incrementally sampled from mandibular molars of domesticated livestock from pastoralists sites in eastern, central, and northern Kazakhstan with Bronze and Iron Age occupations. The intra-tooth patterning of δ13C and δ18O values are used to characterize millet consumption from foddering and grazing on stubble in harvested fields. Results indicate that some animals were seasonally consuming large proportions of C4 plants as early as 2400 cal BC. Seasonal variation in diverting this resource to animals is observed across sites and into the Iron Age. This finding elucidates the scale of millet consumption by livestock and builds upon paleobotanical documentation of inhabitants of the sites using domesticated grains. Evidence for limited access to high-elevation pasturage and the seasonality of stress marked by tooth enamel hypoplasias that formed during the harsh winters indicate that pastoralists likely required or, at least, preferred subsistence strategies that depended on farmed grains. This finding suggests that Central Asian pastoralists had an intimate relationship with intensive agriculture and might have been relatively sedentary.


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Substantial intensity of millet agriculture during the Bronze and Iron Ages in Kazakhstan is revealed in δ13C and δ18O time series of incrementally sampled livestock teeth. Taylor Hermes, Michael Frachetti, Paula Doumani, Ekaterina Dubyagina, Cheryl Makarewicz. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430626)


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Abstract Id(s): 17438

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