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Late Bronze Age women of the steppe frontier: a bioarchaeological analysis of multiple sites in northern China

Author(s): Jacqueline Eng ; Quan-chao Zhang ; Hong Zhu

Year: 2017

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The late Bronze Age in the Inner Asian steppe was a transitional period, with the adoption of mobile herding, as well as increasing sociopolitical interaction and complexity among groups in this region. Although archaeological studies have indicated that many steppe groups engaged in a variety of subsistence practices, pastoralism in general has been characterized as a rather uniform lifestyle; and nomadic pastoralism in particular has been associated more often with the role of males, i.e., as mounted warriors. The bioarchaeological study of ancient female "pastoralists" and their lived experiences, however, offer a broader perspective on life among these steppe communities, including potential variations in health, stress, and activity markers. This study focuses on the remains of adult females from four sites in northern China (from east to west): Jinggouzi (n=35, 1000-600 BC) in Inner Mongolia; Xiaohandi (n=33, 1500-1000 BC) in Qinghai; and Tianshan Beilu (n=33, 1800-1200 BC) and Yanghai (n=24, 1000-600 BC) in Xinjiang. The geographic diversity of these sites contributes to our understanding of how environmental variation, as well as temporal and culturally contingent factors may have led to differential frequencies of dental disease, stress in childhood and adulthood, and markers of activity among the women of these samples.

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Late Bronze Age women of the steppe frontier: a bioarchaeological analysis of multiple sites in northern China. Jacqueline Eng, Quan-chao Zhang, Hong Zhu. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 432014)


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): 16343

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