Expanding frontier and building the sphere in the western deserts

Author(s): Lisa Janz

Year: 2017


During the early and middle Holocene the deserts of Mongolia and northern China were characterized by arid grasslands and numerous lakes and wetlands. Specialized wetland exploitation defined land-use during this period, but more detailed data on subsistence is not clear. The prevalent use of microlithic technology and the lack of architectural structures underscores the presumption that these groups were highly mobile hunter-gatherers, but increasing evidence reveals that pastoralism spread widely across the steppes of Northeast Asia during the third millennium BC. There has been no clear discussion of how desert groups were impacted by these changes. Here I examined the extent of climatic amelioration and present evidence to suggest that inhabitants of the western deserts were numerous and influential, and that they played a substantial role in the spread of pastoralist technologies – such as herding and bronze – into and across China.

Cite this Record

Expanding frontier and building the sphere in the western deserts. Lisa Janz. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431684)


Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15919