Home-making in the Khorezm Oasis (Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan)

Author(s): Elizabeth Brite

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Empirical Approaches to Mobile Pastoralist Households" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

A key feature of mobile pastoralism is the circulation of kin groups within a landscape, where movement is structured at least in part by the repeated return to places of social and ritual significance. Cultural anthropologists describe these as practices of "belonging made by moving," where notions of lineal descent, home, and homeland are spatially and temporally inscribed on a landscape through the act of returning to dwell in places of ancestral significance. In this paper, I explore how the semi-settled, agropastoral populations of Central Asia’s Khorezm oasis may have practiced similar forms of home-making since the 1st millennium B.C. In Khorezm, mobility is enacted over the longue durée, with evidence of return documented in the recurrent re-inhabitation of settlement sites by both the living and the dead. I argue that these acts of return are more than pragmatic uses of landscape features for quotidian ends, and I highlight various sources of evidence that indicate such spaces are marked repeatedly in ways that make claims to kin, clan, and the household. Evidence of home-making through re-inhabitation practices in Khorezm serves as yet one more example of the ways this oasis may be viewed as part of the steppe world.

Cite this Record

Home-making in the Khorezm Oasis (Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan). Elizabeth Brite. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451978)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 46.143; min lat: 28.768 ; max long: 87.627; max lat: 54.877 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24323